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[Fiction] Samhra - Expression


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The nova woman drew eyes from across the restaurant. Silver utensils, imported porcelain, polished oak, hand-blown glasses, and the string quartet sending notes throughout the room might have set the ambiance, but it was the winged woman dressed in spaghetti-strap black dress that eyes kept drifting to. Cut specifically to allow her wings freedom, she had it made exactly to her measurements while still retaining a high sense of class.

Why she had ordered the dress was still a mystery, even to her. She had thought that perhaps she'd need it, that perhaps Franklin and her would enjoy the night in some exotic city and the occasion would be formal. She hadn't needed the dress just yet, but when her companion suggested this location, it seemed appropriate to wear it.

The black haired woman across the table was dressed in black as well, as she always was. Fine silk sleeves, widening and drooping near the cuffs with elegant lace bands framed the simple, buttoned blouse with final button at the collar clasped tightly. The winged woman's aura cast her companion into the light, so to speak, and her pale complexion seemed even more pale as a result.

"Language," the winged woman begins, "is a conundrum. A puzzle. We adopt it in our youth, and it becomes the architecture for our conscious thought. It gives names and representation to that which, in our mind, previously had none. It gives us a method to relay these thoughts to others. It provides us our common frames of reference."

Their waiter approaches, smiling as he asks, "¿Puedo conseguirle algo beber?"

The black haired woman nods to him. "Agua con el limón, gracias."

The winged woman follows with, "Tendré igual, gracias."

He nods and walks off, smiling still.

"Did you know that it is estimated that one-hundred eighty-five languages are spoken in Brazil," the winged woman continues. "Think on that for a moment, it's actually kind of boggling when you try to grasp the scope of it. In New Guinea, eight-hundred forty-seven languages are spoken. Nearly one-thousand different ways of communicating."

"I didn't know that," her companion admits with a small breath of awe.

"Take the word love, for example. In Spanish, it would be amor. In French, it is amour. In German, it is liebe. In Japanese, it is, among many words that mean it, ai. Can you imagine eight-hundred and forty-two other ways to say it?"

The black-haired woman shakes her head. "No, not at all. I can't even guess another way."

Samhra nods. "The puzzle comes when you accept that the English word love is only related to the Japanese word ai, and they in turn just related to amor, and liebe, and amore. It is a label for an idea, an intangible. They each carry with them different meanings. Different assumptions, different sympathies and expectations. They're connected by their common idea, but they represent only one representation of that idea. Not the idea itself."

Fracture smiles. "I've heard this before..."

Samhra nods again. "I expect you have. And thus begins our many heated and circular arguments on the English words god, deity, divinity, magic, soul, spirit, nova, human, and humanity. If we add the six-thousand, seven-hundred and so other ways of relating these same concepts into the mixing bowl we get a huge mess. You've probably heard that more times than you can count."

The black haired woman shakes her head. "Oh no, I can count further than most computers actually."

The winged woman pauses. "That was supposed to be a joke."

The black-haired woman also pauses. "So was mine..."

They chuckle together. The waiter has not yet returned.

Samhra resumes, "I was surprised that you'd contact me. I figured I might have burned my bridges quite efficiently."

The black-haired woman becomes somber, shrugs, and responds with, "The bridge you speak of is probably beyond repair. You can't speak the words 'May the earth rise against me, the sea move to swallow me, the fire to consume me and the wind to forsake me if I reveal what I hear today, to the best of my conscious ability,' and then expect easy forgiveness when you admit to shattering the trust they purchased."

She pauses a moment before adding, "Regardless of the language they were said in, or whatever ideas they actually represent. As I understand, they were said telepathically, which is supposed to transcend the common mask of spoken word, so the breach in question is considered, well, considered a betrayal of the highest kind. I'm not familiar with bonds and oaths, but I'm told that words have power because we impart power to them. Yours sounds kind of like a spell. Repercussions are expected for something like that, right?"

Samhra lets this soak in. "Did you contact me to tell me that?"

Fracture shakes her head. "No. I told you that because you brought it up. I'm here for myself. I'm not at someone's beck and call, you know. I do have my own life."

The winged woman grimaces. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that."

"I know you didn't," the black-haired woman replies quickly. "Just wanted to establish that upfront. I'm here on my own initiative."

Samhra nods slowly. "Understood."

"Word gets around," Fracture continues, "and I hear things on occasion. Word is that you're looking for a teacher. You might have found one already for all I know. But as I'm no longer a student, I've suddenly found myself with a lot of free time."

The English word for the idea conveyed by Samhra's expression is likely confusion. The likely English word for the expression that follows it is epiphany, followed in turn by understanding, and finally by intrigue.

"Really?" The winged woman questions aloud. "Congratulations."

"Thank you," is the answer given.

"Do you honestly think we'd make a good fit?" the winged woman questions again.

"Well, I've thought about it," comes the seemingly honest response. Honesty is quality that language cannot convey. It, like ideas, is ephemeral.

Fracture gestures to the musicians. "Music is a language of emotion. Tones that manipulate the spirit. Make us happy, sad, excited, and so on. It's universal that way. You don't have to read music to understand it. You don't have to be able to play it to know what it's saying. It appeals to us on our most basic levels, reaching into the ideas that words represent without requiring labels for comprehension."

Samhra nods, making a motion for her companion to continue.

The black-haired woman smiles. "But all music, you know, is mathematics. A particular sequence, in a particular rhythm, with specific tones. Mathematics describes the universe, it defines without requiring meaning or association."

The German word for Samhra's expression is unterhaltung.

"Without resorting to music," the winged woman chuckles, "how do you say love in the language of mathematics."

Her companion thinks on this a moment.

The waiter has finally brought their drinks to them.

The French word for Fracture's expression is éclaircissement.

She looks up to the waiter and asks, "¿Puedo pedir prestada su pluma, por favor?"

The young man smiles, taking the pen from his pocket and handing it to the young woman. She scribbles something on her napkin. She hands the pen back to the waiter and slides the napkin across the table.

Samhra looks at what's written there, and says nothing. Her expression might be called sorpresa in Italian. While the answer is similar to what she was thinking, it is different enough to give her pause.

½ + ½ = 1

"I'll think about it." The winged-woman finally replies. She folds the napkin four neat times and picks up her menu. "Let's talk about something else for a while."

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