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‘So, that was pickleball,’ Bette said as she and Tina waved Peggy and Helena off, away up Third Avenue, in their town car.
Tina laughed. ‘Not a fan?’
‘Of getting yelled at by a septuagenarian billionaire while her daughter pats my wife on the behind every time she wins a point?’ Bette’s eyes were huge. ‘Uh, no – not a fan of that!’
‘Oh, c’mon . . . You’re just sore ’cuz you lost.’
‘She was patting your ass to rattle me.’
‘Yes, and you let it!’
Bette looked at Tina with a little sly twinkle. She was just playing, really.
‘We’ll play them again once my back’s better,’ she said.
‘Well, I told you not to do it.’
‘Lying down is bad for sciatica and the doctor said to move it.’
‘Yeah, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean lunging about a pickleball court.’
Bette pulled a face that Tina knew meant she was done debating, so they just walked on for a bit. It was a Friday rush hour in New York and the traffic was solid as they reached the junction with East 14th.. Two more blocks and then they were almost home.
‘I have to say,’ Tina remarked, ‘I didn’t know Peggy was so limber.’
‘Ageing’s different when you’ve got her kind of money.’
‘Yeah, but . . . How old is she? I mean, exactly?’
Bette chuckled. ‘Nobody knows, “exactly”.’
‘Oh, absolutely.’ Bette glanced at Tina. ‘You didn’t know that?’
‘Didn’t know what?’
‘That Peggy keeps her age a secret.’
Tina looked intrigued. ‘How do you do that, in this day and age?’
‘Money, I guess. But it’s true. You can look everywhere and you won’t find her date of birth. You can ballpark it using the years she went to college, but nothing definitive.’
‘She’s so old-school.’
‘The oldest . . .’
They walked on. Bette’s gait was slowing down and getting a bit stiff. The pond had been more or less dug by Sunday night but they’d still had to gather all the displaced earth into a corner while they built raised beds for growing herbs and vegetables. Shane helped when her work at the salon allowed, but Sonny was still in Detroit.
But this was nice. Bette and Tina loved walking in the city, holding hands and letting a conversation wander. They talked about the Peabodys, yes, and Thanksgiving, and a new deli they passed, and the kids, and Bette’s (lack of) progress with the book she was writing, and what was for dinner . . . The plans and projects and people who made up their world. And then presently they came to East 12th Street, turned right and headed along towards their brownstone.