Dana, age 13 and holding steady, and Donna, age 16 and regressing,
continued their conversation in the den with Kati, now 29 and Nikki, now
31. The teens were enjoying the conversation with their aunts, because they
were close enough in age that they could all talk like "real people" with
each other, although that was soon to change.
Upstairs, middle-aged Jamie, now 49, was in Donna's former bedroom wearing one of her old nightgowns, preparing herself for bed. She sat in bed with a book and started to read, until she realized she was having a hard time seeing. Her eyesight was finally beginning to weaken, but she didn't have glasses. Frustrated, she turned out the light and rolled over, hoping to sleep. A few minutes later, she immediately jumped up and fiddled with the thermostat. Jamie, 17 that morning, was now in the beginning stages of menopause -- a process that would mercifully, or perhaps unmercifully, run its course overnight.
Downstairs, the conversation continued. Over the next 45 minutes or so, if any of the other three had been paying close attention to Donna, they would have visibly noticed changes happening to her. As the four of them talked, First Donna's hips thinned out and her legs became skinnier, causing her shorts to loosen. Muscle tone throughout her body receded, making her gangly. A mixture of pimples and freckles began to cover her face. At first she got only slightly shorter, inching closer to Dana's height.
At about the 25-minute mark, her breasts, which had been riding higher and higher on her as she shrunk, stopped being asymmetrically round and became more and more conical, while the nipples became puffier. As she talked, her voice raised an octave or so.
At nearly the 40-minute mark, Donna hit the point of her growth spurt in reverse, losing nearly half a foot in a matter of minutes. For the briefest of moments, she and Dana considered themselves twins, but that passed.
Kati had aged a year and was now 30, feeling strangely maternal toward Donna, but for the life of her unable to figure out why. Nikki had aged 3 years in that span, making her 34, far from the 4-year-old on the carousel that morning. Upstairs, Jamie and hit 51, totally immersed in middle age and menopause. And Donna was now 12, a child once more and a full year younger than Dana, still unaffected by the changes.
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