A Familiar List – TLWM 3B

Wings walked back into the living area of Jane’s apartment, her slender body sliding down into a cushioned chair across where Jane sat on the couch. It was the only area not currently covered by an open book. She looked at Jane with an expression mixed with genuine curiosity and bemused annoyance. “So explain to me why knowing who was in the White House before Clinton helps.”Jane stood up suddenly, her face reddening with frustration. “I just need to know what changed, and when. I remember who was president all the way back to World War II — ”

Jane stopped, stared down at Wings. “There was a second world war, right?”

Wings shrugged, glancing briefly at the floor before looking back at Jane. “Think so. At least two.” Her face suddenly brightened. “Hey, why don’t you just look up who was president?”

Jane looked down at her, genuinely confused. “Look up? I don’t have an encyclopedia. You mean I should go to the library?”

Wings blinked, groaned like a diner battling indigestion. “Girl, use that damn computer — ” She looked back up at Jane, apologetically. “Oh yeah, right. You said you’ve forgotten how to use it.”

Jane slammed her fists into her hips. “I didn’t forget — I’ve never used one!” She threw her hands into the air. “Ever!”

Wings nodded, lowering her eyes aware from Jane’s withering glare. “Sorry.” Her voice did not sound apologetic. “Come over here, I’ll show you.” Wings leaned forward in her chair, moved one of the open books on the coffee table to the side.

Jane pointed to the small device that was uncovered. “You’ve got one, too.”

Wings nodded, sighed as she picked up the device. “Look, I know you say this is all new to you, but believe me, everyone’s got a smart phone these days.”

Jane walked around the coffee table, stopped next to Wing’s chair, looked over the slender woman’s shoulder as her fingers touched the surface of this device she called a smart phone. The image on the surface changed, displayed a series of small pictures arranged in uniform columns and rows in a field of bright colors. Wings turned her head, looked up at Jane. “You want to see a list of presidents?”

Jane nodded, pointed at the device. “Your smart phone, it knows that?”

Still looking up at Jane, Wings frowned. “Girl, this thing don’t know nothing, but you can use to look up just about anything you want.” She turned her attention to the smart phone, the images on its surface changed rapidly as Wings pressed her thumbs deftly across its surface. Jane continued looking over her shoulder, mesmerized by the dance between Wings’ fingers and the smart phone’s surface.

“Jesus.” There was genuine awe in Jane’s voice.

A moment later, Wings turned back to Jane, held up the smart phone to her, its surface (now white, with dozens of words in small black font) facing Jane. Wings smiled. “There you go, girlfriend. That’s all the Presidents of the United States, from Obama all the way to George Washington.”

Jane took the phone from Wings, and after the younger woman explained how to scroll down in the screen, Jane brought the smart phone up to her face, reading slowly. “Obama. Bush. Clinton. The other Bush. Reagan.” She began nodding as she read the rest of the names, the list she had memorized in fifth grade coming back to her — “Carter. Jesus Christ, Ford. Nixon. Johnson. Kennedy. Eisenhower! Truman!” She looked up at Wings, her eyes wide. “Roosevelt! It’s all the same!”


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