September 7th, 20XX, NYC
The week hadn't been kind to Ripley Hayes. Of course there was nothing new in that. Most weeks weren't, but usually Ripley's weeks didn't involve being hospitalized due to an unexpected terrorist gas attack, losing contact with one of the two people who gave a shit about how she was, and coming to realise that this said gas attack had changed her. Changed how? The girl didn't know if she was being honest. She just... knew. Felt it in her bones or something. Something was different, and Ripley wasn't sure she liked it.
"Happy birthday, Rip," she murmured to herself, staying curled in her unmade bed for a few extra seconds before getting up to face the day. 19, what an odd number. Both literally and figuratively. Ripley didn't feel older, that was for sure. She wasn't sure if she was meant to even feel like that -- if anyone did, or if it was just something people expected of you. Age was an arbitrary number, after all.
Ripley's morning went much like any other of her mornings. She got dressed and ate breakfast in her cramped dorm room, listening music as she did so. Aside from a 'happy birthday' text from her grandmother, Ripley hadn't recieved any new messages. Her mom was probably still sleeping, being in California and all. Her father, though... Ripley wasn't sure what the sudden silent treatment was about, but it stressed her out. Sure, she hadn't called her parents to let either of them know she was in the hospital after the attack, but she hadn't wanted to worry them. The last message between Ripley and her dad was her mentioning she'd been released from the hospital and her father getting kind of angry for not being told sooner.
"Whatever," Ripley huffed with determination as she buttoned her plaid shirt and braided her teal hair like usual. "If he thinks he can act like a child, I'm not going to be the adult either."
The rest of the day was kind of a blur. Ripley spent most of her free day studying, emerging from her room only to go grab something else than cold leftover pizza for dinner. She got a lovely call from her mother wishing her happy birthday. She told Ripley it was a lovely weather out in California, and the girl smiled ruefully at that.
"That sounds awesome! If only it wasn't so gray here," Ripley replied as she glanced out the window of her dorm. Ripley's mother must've heard the tone in her voice, since she became solemn over the line.
"Is everything okay with you there? You're not having second thoughts about the program?"
"What- no! New York's the best, I love it here. Seriously, don't even worry," Ripley protested quickly with a laugh, "Me and dad are going on a birthday dinner tonight, actually. It's going to be amazing," Ripley continued, smiling cheerily even though her mother couldn't see it.
"Oh, that's nice. I'll let you get to it then. Love you, Little Fishie~"
"Love you too, mum." Ripley let her smile fall as she heard the noise of her mother ending the call. The teal haired girl sat up straighter, the silence ringing in her ears annoyingly. With a sigh Ripley turned to her tamagotchi, which was hanging out next to her on her bed and all the text books.
"What?" Ripley asked as if it was looking at her pointedly. "I might not be eating out with dad, but mum doesn't have to know that. I've got you, Kip," she declared, putting a piece of paper between her book to mark the page she'd been on. Ripley put down the book from her hands and grabbed her tamagotchi - Kip, she called the current one - and stuffed in in her pocket.
"Time to go on an adventure! We're going to feast tonight, you and me."
Day of the Memorial Service - September 9th, 20XX, NYC
Interaction: Lindy @AmpharosBoy
"I'm telling you, it's not the same! I hate those places, all slippery tiles and boring scenery. If my only option is to swim indoors I might as well not swim at all," Ripley argued as she walked down the street. She was talking to Kip -- well -- really she was talking to herself, but it felt nice to feel like she was having a conversation. Had it not been New York where people largely minded their own business, Ripley might've earned a few strange looks. Of course she had her headphones in so people might assume she was just having a phone conversation. Not that anyone did care. It was New York, after all. Places to go, places to be.
The real source of the argument was Ripley's desire to go swimming again, maybe even diving. But with the weather being what it was and indoor swimming pools not being an option, Ripley's options were very limited. There was always that part of her that wanted to be near water, but oftentimes it got outweighed by the other side of her that set her standards.
Ripley walked down the street, nearing the place she knew the memorial service would be held. No one close to her had passed away in the gas attack, but Ripley did know some students from her year that had died. It felt almost surreal, to think that some of the people she was in the same space with daily were no longer there. Just... gone. No longer breathing, or waking up to see a new day. The thought made Ripley uncomfortable, for more reasons than one. The girl had an unique relationship with death and how she viewed it, but it wasn't without fear. Fear of the finality of it, or the unknown that would follow if such existence after death was possible.
However, there was also a part of Ripley that felt guilty. She didn't like to examine it too closely. She knew the attack hadn't been her fault in any shape, or form. Yet she felt guilty for being one of the lucky ones that got to survive. That gas had killed most of the people exposed to it, but not her. There was this small portion of people who had survived, seemingly random. So why them?
The mystery of it was maddening to Ripley. She loved a good mystery, but now with the very real guilt of surviving when some of those in her year hadn't... it got to the girl more than she liked to admit.
So, she was on her way to the memorial service. Not because she'd known the victims, but out of respect.
"You know what... I'm sorry about this, but today I have no room for wandering thoughts. Thanks for listening, but now..." Ripley pressed two buttons on Kip simultaneously, setting him on pause so she wouldn't have to worry about feeding him. What a crappy pet owner she must've been, really. Fortunately virtual pets didn't depend on you like real ones did. Ripley pocketed Kip and looked up as she neared the crowd of people gathering around the memorial service location.
Most people seemed to be there with their friends and families or loved ones, at least that's how it seemed to Ripley. Her gaze followed a few hollow looking individuals here and there. They'd clearly lost someone in the attack.
Ripley bit her lip and looked around for a place to stand around in. A part of her wanted to go over to those people and apologise for... for what, exactly? For overcoming the symptoms? Or for not being able to save anyone unlike some quick-thinking heroes? Rationally thinking Ripley knew there was nothing to apologise for, but she just felt for these people. It must've been quite hard.
Ripley took a hasty step backwards to steady herself as a man tried to squeeze himself through between Ripley and the other person standing in front of her. People had been gathering and they were everywhere, so it was impossible to avoid bumping into anyone. That was the case for Ripley too, as her back hit someone's side in the chain reaction. Spinning around with her hands ready to steady the person out of reflex, Ripley stared at the girl behind her, eyes wide.
"Oh god, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to bump into you like that--" the taller girl blurted automatically, eyes locking with the read haired, blue eyed stranger.
What Ripley had failed to notice was that in her sudden movement Kip had managed to fall out of her pocket: now it was on the ground, where it was immediately walked on by other people shuffling in the gathering crowd.