“So how many years is it now?” Karen asked.

“Five hundred sixty-eight,” I replied. “As of yesterday.” I continued my rapid walking pace down the stone trail. Still plenty to do here.

“Aw, I missed our anniversary?” Karen said. “And wow… doesn’t that make over half our lives, now?”

“Just about,” I answered. I knelt down and scraped some dirt from the finding rune. Not in bad shape, but might need repaired in a few years. “I turn one-thousand one-hundred forty next month.”

“Oh, right,” Karen said. “I always forget you’re older than me. How do you keep track anyway?” She was looking over the nearby cairn. Well-attended, it seemed. Somebody local was a sage. Or maybe really just liked rocks.

“What do you mean? They’re just years. You count them.”

“Well, yeah, duh. I mean through all the rifts and dimension-shifts. It’s not like we’ve spent all that time on this world, or even in this timeline.”

“I just get a reference every time we get back,” I said. I stood up and made quick time to the next stop. Light was fading.

“Wait, so you mean those numbers are just local time? They don’t count time out of the common loop?”

“Oh, I thought that’s what you meant,” I replied. “It gets more complicated if you count all that. It’s not like you age off-world, anyway.”

“I know. It’s just the principle of it,” Karen said.