[OPEN] Breathe This Air

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[OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:47 pm

Just a few hours into his first day at Tachibana Academy, Jimmy Cohen found himself drenched in sweat, about to take a shower in his dorm room. He'd found the gym facilities, and while he wasn't too sure whether he should have been using them or not, he did it anyway. Everything was clean and fresh, in much better condition than the gym back in Atlanta. Everything was spotless and practically untouched. It seemed as though hardly anybody else was around the Academy yet. He hadn't seen any staff, teaching or otherwise, nor another student yet. From how desolate the place seemed, Jimmy figured he could probably just walk around the site completely naked if he so desired. He didn't have any desire to do so, but he felt the fact that it was an option provided some sort of strange comfort. He'd stepped of the plane in Toronto Airport very early in the morning, feeling fortunate that it was summer. Canada wasn't exactly well known for its warmth, and for a half-Mexican, half-Australian boy raised equally in Melbourne and Atlanta (or so he'd been told), warmth had been a pretty crucial prerequisite to any place he'd inhabited. He stepped into the shower and cranked the heat pretty high. He liked his showers just a little short of scaldingly hot. He looked at himself in the mirror as he was about close the curtains. He was a stranger even to himself. Practically every person in Jimmy's life could testify that he was completely different before his aneurysm. He was a little quieter, a little more subdued now. He couldn't help but question himself, he'd lost his own sense of identity. What did he like? What sort of people did he like? Was he a nice person? All of these were questions he had no answers to, and he had plenty more where they had come from. He washed himself thoroughly and meticulously, he hated feeling dirty for very long, and would often shower twice a day to make sure he felt clean. As the water cascaded down his back, Jimmy closed his eyes for a moment. He felt regret for the way things had turned out between him and the people he once knew. Jenni, his first girlfriend, someone he was supposed to have been wildly in love with, he was now completely apathetic to. Perhaps not completely, but he wasn't far off. One thing was for certain, he didn't feel the same way towards her as she did towards him. His old friends now meant almost nothing to him. He couldn't relate to them, and couldn't see how he ever had. They seemed shallow to him now, and it had brought him to wonder if he had been equally shallow before. The image of himself that he had pieced together from what he knew certainly made it seem that way. And then there was the case of his mother and step-father. Supposedly, he and Rick had been close to breaking that wall that kept them just shy of a relationship that was as close as any father and son bond. But the worst moment had to be when his mother took him through a photo album, and he couldn't remember a single moment from it. Ana had spent hours crying that day. He felt terrible about that too, but he didn't know what he was supposed to do. He'd tried pretending to remember, and she'd seen right through it. He was doing all the brain training exercises the doctors had recommended him, and it hadn't changed anything. The only tie he had left in Atlanta was his step-sister, Akira. She had been patient and understanding enough to allow him a second chance, and now he and his sister were all the other had. He wanted more, but he was happy to have anything at all. As he exited the shower and dried himself off, he figured it was about time to try and find someone, make some friends if possible. He threw the first t-shirt he saw on, put on a pair of jeans and headed out immediately. The dorms were eerily quiet, and he wanted to get outside and meet someone. Granted, he wouldn't recognise them by their face if he was to see them again, but he had to take it one step at a time.

Jimmy roamed around the grounds of the Academy before settling on walking around the gardens. His body ached all over from the intense workout he'd just had, but the subtle burning in his muscles felt rewarding. Jimmy took a deep breath, inhaling the fresh air laced with the subtly sweet scent of the flowers when he saw someone else stood by a flowerbed just a bit further down from where he was.
"Hi there." He called out loudly. He wasn't sure if that was a good idea, given that there was a fair chance of deaf students being around this school too, who may not have heard him at all, but he did it nonetheless.

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:17 pm

Hawke had already been at the academy for a few days, seemingly alone. He'd seen a couple of people, mostly maintenance staff, but nobody his age. He'd taken to walking around the campus and exploring, getting to know the place. The pool hadn't been filled yet, but Hawke had made a mental note to visit it as soon as it was. Walking was getting boring, and he figured that a better daily workout for his leg would be swimming: it was closer to the dorms and the coolness of the water would help to soothe the pain if it got too much for him.

Today, though, Hawke had decided to take a walk around the large grounds that the school offered. He never was one for nature, having grown up around London mostly, but he'd learnt to appreciate it in the past few days. He liked the gardens the most, and found himself staring at the plants from time to time, reflecting on whatever rattled around his head.

His silent musings were interrupted by a greeting from a guy with an odd accent. Struggling to place it immediately, Hawke turned and smiled at the stranger. "Hey." He replied, his strong English middle-class accent shining through.
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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:46 pm

"It's pretty quiet around here, I was starting to wonder if anyone else was here. I was beginning to think I had the grounds all to myself. Nice to see another person. I'm Jimmy." He said with a friendly grin.

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Sat Aug 15, 2015 1:17 am

"Most students haven't arrived yet." Hawke replied with a smile, extending his hand out to shake Jimmy's hand, "Tiberius Hawke Jr." He said, used to giving his full name. "It's a nice school, huh? I'm shocked at the amount of funding they seem to have."
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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:02 am

"Yeah, I thought as much, I suppose we got in earlier than most." Jimmy shakes Tiberius' hand and grins.
"I guess they thought they'd get a lot of interest. Someone definitely took a risk in sinking this much money into this place, but I think it'll pay off. We've got a nice setting here, seems pretty idyllic. I'll have to see how I adapt to the weather here though, I'm kinda used to warmer climates. Good thing I arrived here during the summer, huh?"

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:56 pm

"Warmer climates, eh?" Hawke said, intrigued. Judging by Jimmy's skin tone, Hawke had assumed somewhere more exotic than Canada. South America, maybe, or maybe he was a Kiwi. "I'm a Brit. I'm used to a raincoat and thermal underwear in the middle of Summer."

Surreptitiously looking the guy up and down, Hawke mused more on his background. He could definitely hear an Australian twang in his dialect, but it was mixed in with a few other elements. Definitely not an accent that Hawke was familiar with, in any case.

"I hope it lives up to the goals." Hawke piped up, after being silent for a few moments. "The school, I mean." He added, just in case Jimmy didn't quite follow him.
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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Sat Aug 15, 2015 10:15 pm

"Yeah. I'm half-Australian, half-Mexican, which I think should explain my accent a little. Picked up a bit of the Georgian accent too, 'cause I lived in Atlanta until recently. Never seen a day of snow in my life. I'm almost looking forward to winter..."

Jimmy laughs at Hawke's comment on Britain's climate.
"I knew it was bloody miserable there, but I didn't think it was that bad!"

Jimmy nods. "As long as I'm really getting a fresh start here, this place should provide everything I need. And then some, by the look of it. Something about this place just feels... right, y'know?"

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Sun Aug 16, 2015 12:37 am

Hawke nodded, piecing together the accent once Jimmy pointed out where it all came from. It made sense, and Hawke was certainly interested to hear more of Jimmy's life so far. Moving around that much must have been interesting for the kid. Hawke had stayed in England near enough his entire life, except the yearly trips to his grandparent's estate in France, and the odd family holiday to somewhere more exotic.

"Snow's overrated." Hawke said, with an amused look on his face. "It's great, for about an hour. Then it gets inside your gloves and melts all over, and you think you've peed yourself." Hawke shook his head, once more flashed a grin, "I'm sure the snowball fights here will be legendary, though. In England all we'd get is maybe a few inches once in a blue moon, but a few months of constant snow covering..."

Hawke sighed, making a mental note to buy a few spare coats, just in case the winter was colder than he expected. "A fresh start sounds good." He said, putting his hands into his pocket. "I'm sure the staff will look after us, and I'm guessing all the other students are going to be extra-nice, given their... y'know... troubles." Hawke stumbled awkwardly over his words at the end, realising halfway through the sentence that he might be coming across as an ass. He wasn't sure of the protocol: were people going to be open about their disabilities? He wasn't sure.

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:31 am

"Ah, that's disappointing. The reality is hardly ever better than the fantasy, though..." Jimmy said, almost mournfully. Then, Jimmy's eyes quickly lit up. "Snowball fights?! I hadn't even considered that... Now, those will be fun." He said with a laugh.

"Yeah, can't go wrong with a new beginning. I'm sure the staff'll be nice, and most of the students, but... I dunno, man, some of the students here will have had pretty troubling pasts. That might be projected outwardly..." Jimmy said, furrowing his brow as he considered this.

"Oh yeah, speaking of which, I'm afraid I probably won't recognise you very easily if I meet you again. I'm basically facially blind because my visual memory's completely shot. I can't visualize something if it isn't right in my line of sight. So, if you try to greet me some other time and I seem confused or just completely ignore it, please don't take it personally, I only have context and some small cues I might be able to single out to recognise someone."

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Sun Aug 16, 2015 1:50 pm

"That's true, I didn't consider that... I assumed all the negativeness would spur them to be, y'know... kinder." Hawke said, frowning slightly. While he'd had a relatively cushy childhood, the weeks and months following the assault had made him appreciate life more, if anything.

"Your visual memory?" Hawke said, eyebrows raising in surprise. "That must... suck." He said bluntly, with a nervous chuckle. "If you're not gonna remember my face, we're gonna need some sort of verbal cue." He suggested, a mischievous grin spreading across his face. "How's about we come up with a nickname for you? Instead of me shouting 'Hey, Jimmy!', like everyone else, I'll call you something else that's unique to me."
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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Sun Aug 16, 2015 3:34 pm

"Well, I'm sure the majority of students will be kinder and more accepting than most, but even in a place like this, some people will react to the harder times they've lived through in a negative way. My aneurysm was a chance for me to build myself and my life back up from square one. I don't regret that. It gave me a second chance at becoming the person I wanted to be, not many people get that chance, so I'm grateful in a way. But on the other hand, as you said, losing my visual memory kinda sucks. I can't play my guitar anymore, I can't recognize my mother's face, people think I'm being rude when I can't figure out who it is that I'm talking to... I can see how some people might really struggle with their own... uh, issues... plenty of which are probably far more severe than mine. I mean, it hasn't exactly been easy for me, but I feel like this is nothing
compared to what some of the others here will have gone through."

Jimmy grins at Hawke's suggestion.
"Sounds like a good idea to me. I never really thought of that as a way around this. Heh, you're pretty sharp, man. What do you wanna go with?"

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Sun Aug 16, 2015 4:18 pm

Hawke let out a small chuckle. Listening to someone nonchalantly talk about their disability was odd, especially as it was so much more severe than his. While his leg did severely affect his life, sports were definitely out of the question and getting anywhere took an agonisingly long time, Hawke could barely imagine losing the ability to remember faces. Just the mere thought of it was baffling.

"You used to play guitar, then?" Hawke asks, his interest piqued. "That's a damn shame. We could have played together..." Hawke thought for a couple of seconds, and said, "Snowball." before letting out a grin.
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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Sun Aug 16, 2015 6:27 pm

"Yeah. I think I can re-learn to play once I find a non-visual way of memorizing the notes, but I can't read sheet music anymore. As soon as I flip the page, boom, all gone. We might be able to jam once I've figured that out." Jimmy says with a smile.

He laughs as Hawke suggests a nickname.
"Whatever you want I guess, man, but that kinda makes me sound like a Disney princess or some shit, doesn't it?"

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:15 pm

Hawke was taken aback.

Sheet music?

He wasn't sure if it was the norm, but Hawke had always simply learned a song by heart. Muscle memory, mostly. He certainly didn't need to think of the chords, they just tended to come naturally. Did that count as visual memory? He didn't think so, but it was a possibility. In any case, he'd make sure to try and teach Jimmy how to play without sheet music.

"Nothin' wrong with Disney princesses." Hawke said with a wry grin, "but maybe not. I'll keep thinking, maybe something will come up."
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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:29 pm

Jimmy laughs again.
"Absolutely nothing wrong with Disney princesses, I just don't think I'd make a particularly good one. Do you think I'd look good wearing a tiara and a dress? I'm inclined to say 'no' personally."

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Tue Aug 18, 2015 8:47 pm

"You don't know until you try!" Hawke said with a chuckle, then took a deep breath in.

Catiously, he asked, "So, you say you're from Atlanta? No family around, then?"
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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:24 pm

"Yeah, Atlanta's where they're all at. When I say I had a fresh start, they were kind of included in that. I'm afraid facial blindness doesn't make exceptions for family." He said.

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:06 am

"Damn, dude..." Hawke said, genuinely feeling sorry for Jimmy. "I'm afraid my American geography isn't the best, is Atlanta far?"

Luckily Hawke's parents had moved with him to Toronto. He'd lived apart from them before, when he'd gone to private school, but never as far as he thought Atlanta was.
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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:22 am

"Yeah, man..." Jimmy said with a sigh. "No use mourning what you can't change, though, I suppose. Besides, this place seems like a pretty perfect setting to make that fresh start."

"Atlanta's in Georgia. Not sure if you're familiar with it, but Georgia's right down South, just North of Florida, right on the East Coast. Atlanta itself is a lot more mainland though, up in the North-West corner of the state. Essentially, I'm about as far from my family as I could possibly be right now, short of being in Alaska. I dunno though, I kinda like the freedom. I feel independent."

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Fri Aug 21, 2015 1:21 am

"Independence is always good." Hawke said with a grin, he for one was revelling in tending to himself. His cooking attempts had been... poor. But he got by.

"Actually, I was just on my way to the city to grab some necessities." Hawke neglected to mention the fact that his parents were picking him up, in case he seemed to be rubbing it in Jimmy's face, "I travel at a snail's pace at the moment on this leg, so I kinda need to get going." Hawke took a step forward with his bad leg, and he noticeably winced when putting weight on it. "I'll catch you around, we should make sure we jam sometime."
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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:24 am

"Oh, uh... ok, man. I'll see you around. You sure you're gonna be alright on that thing? You look like you're having some trouble..." Jimmy asks hesitantly, noting Hawke's wincing.

"Not to pry or anything, but if you ever feel like you need someone to run into town and get you a few things at any point, just say the word." Jimmy offers uncertainly. He doesn't want to force his help on his new acquaintance, but his concern prevents him from walking away without making at least some sort of offer to aid Hawke.

"We should definitely jam. I know using sheet music isn't the most usual form of learning guitar, but I started with classical guitar lessons, so it's more of a force of habit. I'm sure I'll catch you around here somewhere, we've got a music room facility, right?"

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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Grimm on Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:39 am

Hawke paused for a few seconds to reply to Jimmy, "I'll be fine. I need to exercise it anyway, or it will only get worse. Thanks for the offer, though."

Hawke was genuinely grateful, as long as Jimmy wasn't full of shit Hawke was more than likely to take him up on his offer. There were some days where his leg was simply too painful to use. Sure, he had crutches but they were ungainly and carrying shopping with them was an unrealistic goal. Unless he grew an extra arm. Which was unlikely.

"Try and work on simply learning the shape your hands make when you make a chord." Hawke suggested to Jimmy. "Muscle memory isn't visual, right? Learn the shape and the sound, and more often than not you'll be able to simply copy a song rather than looking up the chords. It's a useful skill to develop. I'll show you sometime."

Hawke resumed his laboured walking, easing into it slowly as the initial pain subsided. As he walked away, he realised he may have come across as bragging, and felt a little guilty. It wasn't usually in his nature, but music was as natural to him as walking. Well... maybe walking isn't the best example.


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Re: [OPEN] Breathe This Air

Post by Jimmy Cohen on Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:27 am

"Ok man, as long as you're sure. If you want to take me up on my offer or jam or just come and hang out, I'm at dorm room 218."

Jimmy smiled at Hawke's advice.
"Loud and clear, thanks. Yeah, shouldn't be visual, so I'll give it a shot. Shouldn't be too tough, I'm going off muscle memory for the songs I properly memorized. I was always more of a visual learner, which is kind of defunct now. Anyways, I'll be seeing you." Jimmy said with a wave.

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