Wings’ short, curly hair was protruding wildly from the sides of her head, reminding Jane of the reason for her young friend’s nickname. Each of her slender hands held a brown paper sack, both rectangular in their fullness. Jane walked to her kitchen table, retrieved a wallet from her purse. “Mu shoo still costs fifteen bucks in this world?”The younger sister of Jane’s college friend, part-time dancer at the Chicago Theater, and occasional office temporary worker, nodded as she walked over to the coffee table located in the living room of the older woman’s apartment. “You really think you gonna get back to that world you say you’re from? How you fixing on that?”
Jane threw her hands up in the air. “Well, seeing as how I don’t know how I got here in the first place, I don’t have any friggin’ idea how I’m getting back.” Jane threw her hands down, slapping them against her thighs as she walked over to and opened her refrigerator, the sound of Wings’ sigh calling her back.
“I just don’t like it when you keep talking about this world and your world. Just wish you could think of our world. I mean, is life really so much worse than what you remember?”
A can of soda now in each hand, Jane pushed the refrigerator door closed with her right forearm. “Some things are better, some worse. It’s just, I dunno — different.” She had now reached the living room, sat quickly down on her sofa as she laid the soda cans on top of the coffee table. She looked up at Wings, standing wide-eyed on the other side of the rectangular table. “Seems like I’ve got just as many problems as before, but they’re different problems.”
“And that’s bad?”
Jane shrugged. “Guess I prefer familiar problems.”
Wings walked around the coffee table, sat next to Jane on the couch, laying her arm across the older woman’s shoulder. “Back in that — world you remember, did you help me out as much as I remember you helping me?” She pointed down with her left index finger. “I mean here, that is.”
Jane laughed, threw her head back. It was one of the few genuine laughs she could remember since that confusing morning when Mozart began playing from her kitchen table. “See? You’re doing it too.”
“And do you remember — ” the smile left Jane’s face upon hearing the lowered tone of Wings’ voice — “what happened to my brother?”
Jane swallowed. “Jalen?” Wings nodded. “Yeah. I’m — sorry, Wings.”
“Around the same time as your dad, right?”
Jane put her arms around Wings, drew her close. “My world, this world — our world.”
Their carry-out had cooled by the time they began eating.