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As she tried to keep pace, Diana grew tenser. It seemed nothing flustered her aunt Ginny. Diana needed to run off her stress, Ginny liked to exercise. It drove Diana crazy.
“Aren’t you ever in a bad mood” Diana asked Ginny, as they rounded a bend in the trail and headed back.
They’d already pounded out three miles, and Diana’s legs were loath to do the three miles back; her nearly seventy-year old aunt seemed as consistent and positive as always.
“What? Of course I have bad moods.” Ginny smiled serenely.
Damn, Diana thought, she’s so perky!
Ginny glanced at her niece, sweaty and looking flustered.
“What’s bothering you? Would it help you to know that I have bad moods, Dee?”
Ouch. Diana ran a little harder, but Ginny kept pace. She doesn’t sweat as much either.
“Nothing in particular’s bothering me. It just seems like you don’t really get what it’s like to be my age and have so many things to figure out.” She wiped her forehead with her arm. “I think it’s just easier to let things go… at your age.” Diana kept her eyes focused on the trail.
“Sure, what would I know about being young? After all, it happened so long ago!” Ginny teased.
“Don’t take it personally, I just meant–”
“I know what you meant Dee. No need to clarify.” She bit her lip as they went up the backside of hill that had been much kinder, when they were running down it. “I’m well aware of age! Trust me; I notice it every day. You think I take things in stride, and perhaps I think you take things for granted. You think it’s easier for me, and some days I wish I had the ease and options you have.”
Diana stopped. “Ease?” She adjusted her sweatband and pushed some loose hairs off her face. “See! That’s just what I mean; it all looks easy to you.”
Ginny started running again, a little slower, allowing her niece to catch up. “Yes love, ease. You just don’t appreciate the ease you have now. It’s a burden to think about which man you want to spend time with, which one might be your partner one day.” She watched Dee’s face; glancing sidelong. “I have your uncle Ben. He’s the love of my life, and for that I am grateful. But sometimes after we’ve made love,” she noted with humor that Diana winced, “I long for that wildness we once had. We’re so familiar with one another that everything’s safe, even when we’re trying something new–”
“Seriously! TMI!” Diana snorted.
“Grow the hell up Dee!” Ginny turned and looked sternly at her niece. “You’re twenty-seven years old; I hope I’m not just your running partner. We’re both women, despite age. Get over it.” She waited a moment gauging the impact.
Diana pulled it back together and held her pace.
“I have sex with your uncle, and we like it. I hope you can say the same some day. I don’t wax my netherlands, and we don’t try the things I’ve read are standard these days, but we do have a good sex life.”
Diana smiled, a peace flag.
“But, we know each other so well; it’s so safe. Maybe I’d like the option to try to some of those things I’ve read about.”
Diana laughed out loud, as Ginny nudged her gently; then continued.
“You have the ease of options… the option with lovers; options in career choices; you’re not tied down yet– the options of youth. My options have become much more limited, in virtually every aspect of my life.”
She slowed her pace, her knee suddenly aching more than usual.
“I can’t go out there and try too many new things, sweetie; time is limited. When I was your age…” she paused as her young children’s faces flashed through her mind. “It’s just that age is a strange thing: when you’re young enough to have options, you just don’t see them. You push the clock forward, dying to see where you’ll end up…”
The parking lot came into view, and Ginny felt relieved, suddenly tired. She stopped and looked at her niece. Diana looked confused by the change in their routine.
“Look Dee; back to your question: it’s not that I don’t ever have bad moods; I just don’t want to waste that much time on them. In a way, age is meaningless. None of us get it whatever age we are; we’re looking ahead or looking back. When you’re my age you know the clock is ticking; things matter a little more because of it. I’d rather not waste too much of that time on bad moods. Tick-tock.”
Maybe age is meaningless, Diana thought. It’s all about attitude?
As they approached the parking lot, she grabbed her aunt’s arm and they sprinted to the finish, together.