HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 126

Frederica tried to picture herself in that position, standing at the altar, pledging her life to another person. But she couldn’t imagine loving someone as much as Angela and Genesis loved each other. As much as she cared for Griffith, it just wasn’t the same.

“Uh oh,” someone said. “This looks serious.”

Frederica looked up. A middle-aged woman with short blond hair floated overhead, carrying a huge burlap sack across her shoulders. Frederica met the woman’s eyes and immediately felt lighter, stronger. A flood of memories rushed into her mind, going back decades, and Frederica realized the woman was far older than she looked. At least eighty.

Frederica shook her head, breaking the connection.

“Uh, what?” she muttered.

The woman smiled and nodded at Frederica.

“That look you had on your face a minute ago,” she said. “I know an existential crisis when I see it.”

Frederica hesitated, but there was something about this woman that made her feel at ease.

“Oh, no, it’s nothing like that,” Frederica said. “Just… boy troubles.”

“Ah,” the woman said. “Well, at your age those can sometimes feel like they’re the same thing. Like it’s a matter of life and death.”

Frederica chuckled.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” she said. “I’ve just been dating this guy for a few months and I’m only now taking a step back and wondering if it’s really what I want.”

“Are you in love with him?” the woman asked.

The bluntness of the question took Frederica by surprise. She answered without even thinking.

“No,” she said, then she caught herself. “I mean, not yet anyway. I like him a lot and we have fun together, I’m just not thinking that far ahead.”

“And does he feel the same way?” the woman asked.

“I… don’t really know,” Frederica replied. “We haven’t talked about it.”