|Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Emptiness|
Hudson never really feels a connection to the Fourth of July. American-born though she is, she always looks at the holiday as an outsider, an amusing cacophony of sound and smells and music but nothing that really means much of anything to her. It's a deadline date, knowing how many reports and proposals she needs to put forward for the upcoming semester of travels, to submit expense reports for her last tour of Asia, to carve out time to meet with colleagues about the plan for the impending recruitment year. She plans on returning to Vietnam and Laos and of course there is always her annual working vacation to India for nearly a month.
No-one at BU really blames her for spending so much time in the country of her heritage, a place she once called 'home'. She certainly makes no apologies for using her position to do so. She's always felt she was the best of both cultures, a representative of the ideal of freedom to overcome, to do what one pleases, to make goals not always approved of by a conservative society where girls are still expected to live at home until they're married but to observe the parts of her culture she loves so dearly, the colors, the sounds, the dress. That at the "advanced" age of 32 that she has no plans to join herself to anyone and enjoys her freedom is scandalous to her parents' respective families, even with their belief that all children, boys and girls, deserve the right for education and professions--as long as it falls in the proper categories, ready to be abandoned for procreation and continuing the familial line.
She loves the bright heat of the day especially after a spring that had been noting but grey and wet. She strolls along Newbury Street with a broad brimmed sunhat and her new flowered sundress kicking up in the back from the breeze created by happy tourists traversing the street with her. She defiantly quacks at the duck boats and smiles when several children and their parent quack back, the smile on the driver's face wide. Such a silly 'rule', that it was an undignified noise to be making on Newbury Street. Please. As if the monied Boston Brahmin could handle the clamor of a New Delhi or Mumbai. Even Paris was wonderfully chaotic compared to a busy day in Boston.
A few stops at her favorite boutiques to see if any new clothes of jewelry catches her eye. Popping into Starbucks for a woefully mediocre chai (She always bit her tongue when she read the menus for 'chai tea lattes', wanting to pull her hair at the repetition) but it refreshes all the same in the July mini-heatwave. Picking up cold Thai noodles from her favorite restaurant to eat on her balcony that overlooks the summer hustle of the city while she waits for her father to call from India, ever loving to hear his voice and for him to go on and on about the newest projects he and his team were working on to push the Indian space program forward. ('Economically viable space travel! Take that NASA') 'Rest, Baba, you're not in college anymore,' she usually chides him as they end varied conversations, telling him when she'll be coming to the subcontinent and how they'll go to his home village in the north, receiving a hero's welcome for 'making it' in the distant fairytale land that was America. She laughs at his romanticization of her aunt's goat biryani and teases her about her 'feeble' palette and how she can't take the heat of the 'mild' peppers in varied curries.
The conversations with her mother are never as delightful and airy as those with her father and she dreads them when they happen; the fact that from the time she was eight that only parent she really had physical contact with on a full-time basis was her mother makes it even more ironic that they are so stilted and cold towards each other. They should have much more in common: both American born, raised in a place that didn't appreciate their heritage, fighting against the societal constructs that wanted to shunt them into places they did not want to be in and yet...
She looks over the skyline, her view perfect for the upcoming fireworks display on the Esplanade. She'd been handed a few invites to come down to the meandering line of green along the Charles, but after weeks on the road spending a night on the streets of Boston didn't strike her fancy. No, better to open that bottle of rosé that has been teasing her since it was gifted to her before her trip and watch the explosions in the sky from the comfort of air conditioning, without the push and pull of the crowd. The phone rings and she picks it up, trying to ignore the sense of incompleteness that has been following her for the better part of she doesn't remember when anymore. That part of her is missing or undiscovered, yet she has no idea how to find it or even where it was lost. "Baba, don't tell me you're really up so early watching fireworks on TV...."
The pain is piercing and sudden. Hudson gasps as her hand flies to her temple. She begs off the call with her father, chalking it up to dehydration not helped by drinking wine instead of water. Except when she does drink water and lays down, the pain only increases. There are strange flashes of a life she does not want to accept could be true and closes her eyes to try and soothe the pain.
Well this is unexpected
Jaina rises to her feet, a little surprised because one of her last memories was being thrown in the Blackgate...no Jaina's memory was being frantic, trying to find her pale doppelganger and contemplating how to break her out of Blackgate. She valued her dual existence, the ability to be in two places at once. She was never really alone with this other person sharing her mind. She quickly moved around the unfamiliar space she found herself in, tearing into every closet or perceived hiding place, looking for the gloves. The dull throbbing at her temples didn't help; there were times she had to sit down or run to the bathroom to vomit. But after about half an hour, it was clear that the needed items were not in this place and so her other half was firmly left in her head.
At least where we ended up isn't terrible to look at.
Jaina had to agree. It appears whoever owns this apartment had tastes much like her own, heavy with art and knick-knacks from the subcontinent. It didn't help the headache but it made having it tolerable.
Oh LOOK! How precious, she has our name.
Jaina goes from trying to find the gloves to trying find out where she is. Boston, by the looks of the skyline out of the window and all the mail on a nearby table. "Hudson Jain. Well, that's a funny coincidence." Not that either of them believed it, especially after taking a good look in the mirror. Not quite the same features but similar enough to recognize that this wasn't exactly some accident.
We should find Bane.
Jaina wonders if Batman and his allies--and hers--are all in the same predicament. It would be an excuse to get out of this apartment and see what trouble she could find. Once she fought this headache into submission, that was. She didn't want to show this new face to the world with a frown.