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Wednesday, Feb. 02, 2005 - 8:50 p.m.

He is seated in the optician's high back chair as she peers over the interchangeable lens apparatus in front of his face. By turning a knob, she can increase or decrease the clarity of his vision. Like magic. The apparatus covers his face almost completely, and he feels that his entirety has been reduced to a pair of blazing eyes in a darkened room. The optician is pretty; no ring on her finger either. "Which is clearer," she asks,"one - or two?" She turns another knob. Two, says the boy, two is always better. One - or two?

He thinks about the strict duality of his options; one answer leads to blurrer vision while the other answer brings him to progressively greater clarity. But the latter will also end their meeting more quickly. She bends over the lens apparatus to make adjustments. Their faces are so close, but separated by his mask of metal and glass. As he looks through the lenses at her, it is not hard for him to imagine that it is a prelude to a kiss. One - or two? But no answer that he gives, can delay the inevitability of their parting.


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