There was a sadness to Wings’ sigh, almost a resignation. Jane knew her friend had liked Brad, thought he was good for her. But Jane sensed that Wings was not going to change her mind about not accepting his proposal.
“How’s work?” Jane was glad to hear her friend change the subject. “You going to do that promotion?”
“it’s not a promotion.” Jane raised the bottle to her lips again, before remembering that she had just emptied it. “It would be a job change, from CAD to engineer.” She ran her hand back over her scalp, her thin hair parting from her face. “There’s these classes Gary keeps wanting me to take, on drainage. Always told him that my days of sitting in a classroom were done, listening to some professor who doesn’t know anything about how the world really works try to tell me how to do my job.” She put the bottle down on a plastic table. “But now that I can do my course work online — I don’t know, been thinking about it more.”
“See?” Wings had turned to her, a smile on her face as broad and bright as a crescent moon on a cloudless night. “This world we got, with our computers and the Internet and everything, it’s not so bad after all, is it?”
Jane rose from her chair. “Never said this was a bad world, just different.” She swept her right arm across the balcony, her reach extending out past the alleway onto the bright lights of the Chicago skyline. “The world I remember, it wasn’t a bad world neither. You could get around easier than we do here. Didn’t have to spend all this money on cars — gas, the maintenance, all that. Streets were cleaner, so was the air.” She turned back to Wings, pulled her smart phone out of her pocket. “But no, we didn’t have these things. And they are pretty cool. Anything you want to know — like how to sign up for that class Gary wants me take — using this, I can find that out in a couple minutes.” She put her phone back into her pocket. “But what I don’t understand is, why can’t there be both? If we can be all space-age with telecom, why can’t we get all sci-fi with our transportation too? And in the world I remember — guess I should say used to remember, or think I remembered — just because we had stuff like Unirail, that shouldn’t mean we had to be stuck with rotary phones. I mean we didn’t think about stuff like that, but now that I’m here — I just don’t see why it has to be one or the other.”