“I don’t know why they renamed this part of the lake Clear. ‘Bout as black as the other part as far as my eye can tell.” Eighty knew Forty couldn’t see with the other one so no need to correct the singular. Another victim of the war, let’s say.
“Meddling, pure meddling,” she replied. “Boredom maybe. The more things change the more they stay the same.”
“Amen to that.”
They kept staring at the still pretty murky water, despite the acquired name. Eighty spotted the octopus again, reminding her she had to meet her counterpart Eight at the town ratskeller. She excused herself from this wonderful but ultimately fruitless conversation. Her last uttered sentence here says it all. Black split up with a dam to make Black and Clear but it doesn’t matter. Everyone can *see* what’s happening, even half-sighted Forty here, Eighty’s wannabe boyfriend but only part of the way there so far. And, spoiler alert, it doesn’t get better for him moving forward. Because she’s got an extra 8 on top of the one she already has. Sometimes they forget which is which.
“I forgot you were coming,” Eight admits. “Sometimes I…”
“… forget which is which yeah yeah yeah.”
“Me too,” Eighty reciprocates. She has to ask why to a lot of things to help remember the y, the letter that makes all the difference. Why split Black Lake with a dam that was formerly just a footpath bridge to create Black and Clear? Stuff like that. She stays outside most of the time because of it. Eight: usually here… in the relative dark. Sometimes sitting with Rag Doll instead of “sister” Eighty. Which is how turning Alessandra remembers the scene, finished studying the newest work of boy-like genius Barry De Boy. Men, she thinks. So full of themselves. She’ll stick with bathing suit clad Shelley, however imaginary she is… no one else can see; black instead of clear.
“Welcome back Miss Aless,” Edvin the matre d spoke up to her, like a page to a queen. Table for one as usual?”
She wanted to say, “make it two tonight,” but knew she couldn’t. Busboy Peterson had starting clearing her regular spot as soon as she showed up on the stairs, studying that painting from the future. Almost done.
(to be continued)