Looking for Freedom

Who: Esme and open
When: Morning
Where: The park

Esme was overjoyed to be out of her "home" and back into the semi-real world. She'd found the elevator early, and had wasted no time in getting upstairs- finding herself back in the house she'd been placed in when they brought her here. In a world that had been so inconsistent of late, she was happy to see that some things were remaining consistent. Even if they were completely insane. She'd taken a nice warm bath to wake herself up, impressing herself with how well she'd managed getting in and out of the tub, then made breakfast.

But the past couple of days had made her a little stir crazy, so she hopped in her chair, not knowing how walkable the roads would be for her, and headed out. She remembered that someone had mentioned the park, so she headed that way. Part of her hoped the promised tai chi lessons were back on, but there was another part of her that wasn't entirely sure that she wanted to be around people right now.

Eventually, she found the park, after taking a couple of wrong turns. One of them had taken her back to Maple Street and the home she had briefly shared with Dale and Jason and Emma. She missed them a lot, and really hoped they were doing okay, wherever they'd been taken, especially Emma, in her current condition. She'd been worried about having to go off-road into the park, but there was a small path she was able to maneuver her chair down to the swing set. She parked her chair and sat herself down in a swing set, closing her eyes as she pumped back and forth, trying to, for a few minutes at least, forget.

 - .

Addison had been walking, too. That apartment complex thing under her house disturbed her on a fundamental level. In the back of her mind, where the shadows grow into full blown monsters. That it was there, that they had replicated the apartment so perfectly. It was like they'd picked the entire thing up and transplanted it, but of course they couldn't have because in the middle of an apartment complex, for God's sake.

Thinking about it, Addison decided, was just a plain bad idea.

So she'd taken herself to the park after dressing in her coat and mitts and hat, with her sketchbooks under her arm of course, and for absolutely no reason she felt a lot of glee in stomping through patches of snow where no one had walked and messing up some perfectly ordered flat bits for no reason other than feeling like it. She figured she'd go grocery 'shopping' (and/or 'liberating') a bit later. But right now, she just wanted to walk where she felt like it because she didn't have to go in a circle in the apartment that was under her house over and over again to the computers.

She did, however, hesitate when she saw someone on the swings. But she was swinging in a part in the middle of winter with no one else around, with a wheelchair nearby that was either obviously hers or obviously abandoned, and Addi thought the scene was rather... picturesque, for lack of a better term. Inspired, maybe. And she thought she might draw it, later on. Slowly, she held up her hand in a little half-wave.

 - ..

Swinging had always been a source of true joy for Esme. Even when life took a big crap on her, she could always count on the freedom of swinging to relax her, the feeling of almost-flight and weightlessness a big release. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the young woman looking at her and waving. She let her feet drag the ground to slow herself to a stop, then got up and slowly wobbled her way over to the girl. "Hi theyah," she said with a smile. She didn't remember seeing this girl before.

 - .

Addison was already digging out a pad of paper and a pen. It was a bit of a chore that required her removing one mitten, trying to find said pen in one of her many pockets, and writing before the cold nipped her fingers too much. May I draw you on the swing, please? She scribbled it down quickly. If you prefer me not too, I won't.

 - ..

Esme was a little surprised that the girl wrote rather than talking, and part of her wondered if maybe she was deaf, too. "Yeah, it'sh fine, shuah," she said with a smile, attempting to get her hands to cooperate as she signed as well. "Aw you Deaf?" she said and signed, also motioning to her own hearing aid.

 - .

Addi got a small smile on her face and shook her head. Thankee, sai. That part was written without thinking, and Addison didn't realize how weird that might be to someone. No, but I can't speak out loud. I just lost my voice at some point. Well, Addi knew when. Down to the minute a scream bubbled up in the back of her throat, caught, and never got loose, basically. But that wasn't exactly a story for a stranger in the middle of a snow-bound park either. I'm Addison.

 - ..

Esme didn't quite understand the first part. Well, she figured out the important part, saying "thanks", but beyond that? No clue. But Addison was smiling at least, so she hadn't offended. A little relieved that she didn't have to attempt to sign, she smiled back at the girl. "I'm Eshme," she said, once again annoyed by her own voice. "Yeah, ish fine if you wanna draw me shwingin." She looked back at the swing set. "Sho, do you jusht wan me to poshe oh shomefin? Oh shusht do what I wash doin befoah?" At least she didn't have to look at the girl to understand her, although she hoped the girl understood her. In some ways, carrying on a conversation via text was a lot easier.

 - .

It took Addison a moment to translate it, but she was pretty sure that she understood. There was one benefit (and as far as she could tell, only one) and that meant Addison spent a lot of time listening. You don't have to swing any more if you don't want too. I can remember. She offered a little crooked smile and opened up her book, going past sketches of Kales, two people Addison didn't know the names of, a building that looked particularly nice with some clouds behind it, one of Batman that she'd drawn, Janie, and a plant, to a nice blank page. On it, she labeled the bottom with the day's assumed date and then realized she was unsure of how to spell the woman's name. How do you spell your name?

 - ..

"It'sh shpedd E... eSh... M... E," she said, peeking at the drawings as Addison flipped past them. "It'sh shoat foah Eshmeweda, whish ish a pwetty ffucked up name to give a gul who hash twouba wif about haf da owphabet." Esme laughed a little. "Did you do aw doshe dwawingsh? Dey'ah weayee good!"

 - .

Addi nodded, with a little smile, and started drawing the skeleton of the picture. Yeah, most of her stuff looked like it would be best off in a highly detailed comic book, but that was fine because that's how she meant to draw. The rough sketch was first, of course, and then she started adding detail, like Esme's face. This actually didn't take up a lot of time, since the focus of the drawing wasn't on Esme's face, just the act of swinging in the middle of a snow-bound park.

 - ..

Esme plopped herself down next to Addison and watched her draw. She'd always been envious of people who could do things like that- the best she'd ever managed was crooked stick figures. She didn't want to bother her or mess her up, so she kept quiet as she watched, occasionally humming to herself. She smiled as she saw the drawing of herself. Even though her face wasn't the focus of the picture, the likeness was still very good. "Aw you a pwofeshionaw? Oh shusht fo fun?"

 - .

Addison stopped drawing - she had all the time in the world, after all, to finish it - and got her notepad out again. I guess I do it for fun; I wanted to be a comic book illustrator. For DC or Marvel or Dark Horse - like Batman, X-Men, or Tank Girl. She gave the notepad to Esme so she could read it, and Addi eyed her picture critically. Maybe she'd make the the swing and Esme the primary focus, and have everything else trail into blankness, or basic sketches. Like everything unraveling. That might be interesting, and it would definitely show the work that went into it. Nodding to herself, Addison wrote the title "Unraveled" under Esme's name, and very lightly wrote notes to herself in the corner so that she could go over them again later.