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Chapter Eight: A Story About Nature and Man's Struggle Against It. Or Something.

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Her name was Silence, Silence Waters.  She was not old, but again neither was she particularly young.  She was one of those people whose age cannot be accurately guessed at, not from their appearance and not from their bearing, not from their demeanour and not from their speech.  A person might even call her ageless, but that would suggest that she was some kind of peculiar mutant who neither aged nor grew old and died, and who probably didn't eat or drink either, and may even have been able to read minds and possibly even to control the weather, but such a suggestion would be both absurd and erroneous.  Silence Waters was merely a normal female human like you or me (unless you happen to be male, or an alien, or an abnormal human, in which case I do apologise for making such a rude and unfounded assumption as to your nature - I didn't mean to be a bigot or anything, and really I am very sorry - please forgive me), and she ate food just like you or me (unless of course you happen to be some kind of a freak like, ahem ahem, cough cough, in which case I repeat the apologetic message given in the preceding set of rounded brackets - parentheses, I mean - that's what they're called - parentheses) and got older just like you and I (unless you don't age, which although peculiar is a state of being to which I am entirely open and have even a good amount of respect for, and in which case that same apologetic thingy of two sets of parentheses or brackets or whatever earlier is repeated for your benefit), and, eventually, she would die.  But to look upon her one would have some good deal of difficulty in attempting to pin down exactly how old she actually was to within a few decades.  She had grey-brown hair - mousy brown, some call it, because apparently that is the color of the fur of some particular variety of mouse, though which variety it is escapes me.  Her hair had a rather obnoxious tendency to frizz out easily, and so for this reason she most often wore it in a tight bun at the back of her head in the manner that the scary nanny from the original version of The Omen wore her hair, or the German lady Frau Blucher from Mel Brooks' film Young Frankenstein, or pretty much any stereotypical spinster, schoolteacher, nanny, seamstress, upright German lady, or turn of the century ma'am tends to wear her hair in a Hollywood production.  This look, however, fit Silence quite well.  She always got more heads turning in her direction when she wore her hair in a bun as opposed to when she wore it down, or in a ponytail, or in a braid, or in pigtails, or loose and flowing with a headband to keep it out of her eyes.  Also it kept her hair from frizzing, which she didn't like her hair to do, so naturally she preferred it.

            Silence Waters worked at the high school downtown, filing away books and old paperwork and checking children in to the school nurse's office and even occasionally playing at being a substitute teacher when all of the regular substitute teachers seemed to have made a pact amongst themselves to make themselves as scarce and unreachable as possible just when flu season had struck and all of the normal teachers were being struck down ill on the left and on the right and so the school needed to find substitute teachers more than ever to fill up the many myriads of flu-induced teacher voids.  She had a car, but it was old and loud and the muffler was breaking and the brakes squeaked something awful, and they only squeaked worse when the weather was wet and it rained.  Her car was blue, but a person could hardly tell to look at it, what with all of the rusty spots and corroded spots and the bleached out spots from when some random graffiti artist had decided that her beat-up old car would be the perfect surface on which to spray his tag in neon orange paint - his tag being the word "fuck" in huge avant-garde block letters - and then she'd had to wash it off, but her car's paint had come off with the letters, so she'd had to take off a bunch of the car's paint, too, in order to make sure that the ugly white patches the cleaning solution left behind in its wake were simply amorphous blobs and didn't still spell out the word "fuck" in huge block letters or cursive or any other kind of letters at all.  It had worked - the white spots didn't spell out the word "fuck" any longer - but she had been obligated to remove about half of the paint from her car in order to make certain of this.  Silence Waters thus developed a sort of vendetta against graffiti artists after that, but as this peculiar interest or hobby or whatever of hers has actually no bearing on the plot of this anecdote (and there is one, rest assured - a plot, I mean - it simply hasn't had an opportunity to evidence itself as of the moment) I do not intend that we should go into any further detail about it.  Slip it from your mind; it means naught, naught at all.

            Silence Waters had taken tap dance as a child for exactly one year, ballet for exactly one year, gymnastics for exactly one year, ice skating for one year and swim lessons for one year, and piano lessons for one year (these were all different years, too, mind you - she was never taking two extracurricular classes at one time).  She had then discovered the guitar, which she found she had been given an extreme passion for, and after taking guitar lessons for exactly one year, she continued to take guitar lessons until she felt that she had sufficiently mastered the use of the instrument to entertain herself, and others on occasion, with it.  Her guitar was acoustic, painted black, and was bought in a junk shop for ten dollars when she was eleven years old by her parents, Jim and Molly Waters.  Her mother's maiden name was Doran.  Her social security number was lost before she knew it by heart and so was never memorised.  Her debit card's pin number was 2242.  She did not like the taste of avocados and avoided them as if they were carriers of the bubonic plague.  Her eyes were blue.

            Marian Wesley was Silence's boyfriend, or significant other, if you will.  Marian was in his middle twenties - twenty-six, to be exact - and had floppy blonde hair with natural highlights which he detested because he thought they made him look too much like a gay rocker and a member of a teenage boy band like the Backstreet Boys or N*Sync, both of whom he had always hated and despised with as much fervor as that with which his girlfriend, Silence Waters, avoided avocados.  He said that he had green eyes, but really they were kind of muddy yellow-brown - Mexican water, his friend Felipe called it with a hearty laugh.  Felipe was from Ireland.  Marian rode his bike to work, but he had it tuned up once every two months and so made certain that his breaks were always properly adjusted, not worn down, and in otherwise altogether good shape, thus hoping to avoid, except if he happened to be hit by the least probable fluke accident, which he didn't happen to be, a situation in which he found himself, like the unfortunate biker of our earlier runaway metaphor, racing down a wet winding hill in the dark before the dawn without any breaks or batteries in his bike light, whose batteries he made certain to always keep well-charged.  His bike was a Cannondale, and it was blue.

            Marian met Silence at a poetry reading in a small cafe on the south side of downtown.  The poem that was being read was of particularily bad quality, and in the act of rolling their eyes Silence's and Marian's eyes met and locked into each other and the next thing you know they were both going to poetry readings and art shows and live music performances together with a startling amount of frequency, and they were also almost constantly holding hands, as well as kissing in public places and nuzzling each other's necks and doind all kinds of other stupid things like that, which are called Needless Public Displays of Emotion, or "get a room"s, in public places.  Obviously the two were quite violently in love.

            Marian didn't own a car.  Silence didn't own a bike.

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