Just one degree of separation

“What are you doing?”

The older girl gasped, looking over at her. Her gloves were covered in mud and the bed in front of her had been prepared in some sort of order that the younger girl assumed was good. “Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you there!”

“That’s okay.” She walked over, squatting down next to the other. “I didn’t know you gardened.”

The older girl laughed quietly. “I didn’t. I mean, it’s recent. Just something to distract myself.”

The younger of the two nodded. “I know what you mean. That’s why I started going to the gym. Something to distract myself.”

“Have you been having fun with it?”

“Uh huh.” She watched the older girl press her hands against the side of the flower bed. Learning what to do, she still looked to be a master to the gaze of someone who didn’t know anything. “Want some help?”

“Oh! I didn’t know you were interested!”

“Well, I don’t know anything, so I’ll be relying on your guidance!”

The gardener’s face lit up. Together the two of them distracted themselves from the dark parts of reality.

If he’d just responded in the first place

Dae-jung stared ahead toward the finish line. It wasn’t that far. This wasn’t a matter of endurance.

“Hey, good luck.”

This was. It would take more energy than he was willing to expend not to roll his eyes at Gener’s words, so he rolled his eyes.

Gener stretched beside him, unaffected by Dae-jung’s attitude. “If I keep a close enough eye on your back, I think I’ll do good.”

Why did this man never take this seriously? Dae-jung deigned not to answer, focusing. If he ignored him, maybe Gener would shut up.

Gener did not shut up. “Can you see Girlie at all? She came to watch me, you think?”

Dae-jung shut his eyes. “I’m trying to focus, Gener.”

“Me too. She told me she’d come to watch.”

Dae-jung spent too much time groaning and missed the starting cue.