CHAPTER TWO HUNDRED and ONE
Monday early morning — 2:15 a.m.
Tanesha looked down Colfax before opening the door to Pete’s Kitchen.
“Sit anywhere you want,” the woman behind the cash register said.
Tanesha glanced at her and went to her usual booth in the back. She slipped in.
“What can I get you, hon?” the waitress asked.
“Coffee, water,” Tanesha said.
“You got it,” the waitress said.
In a few minutes, the waitress returned with a cup of coffee and a glass of water. Tanesha gave her a quick smile then turned her attention to the dark liquid in front of her. She never drank coffee. She didn’t like it. But this morning, it just seemed to fit her mood.
“Oh good, you ordered coffee,” Heather grabbed the cup as she scooted into the booth. “Caffeinated.”
“How?” Tanesha asked.
“You can’t have caffeinated coffee,” Jill pushed the cup back to Tanesha. Her belly was so big that they had to shift the table to help her get in. “Why did you order coffee?”
“Seemed like the right thing to do,” Tanesha said.
“For a med student,” Sandy stood at the end of the table. “Scoot over.”
Tanesha scooted over and Sandy sat down. For a moment, the women didn’t say anything.
“How did you know I’d be here?” Tanesha asked.
“Jill told us,” Heather said.
“You used to come in at this time when I worked nights,” Jill said.
“The year I worked four jobs,” Tanesha said.
“I get the coffee!” Sandy grabbed the cup from Tanesha and began fixing it with cream and sugar. The waitress came up to chat with Jill. While the other women waited, Jill and the waitress chatted back and forth until Jill placed their order.
“Why are we here in the wee hours of the morning?” Heather asked.
“I just…” Tanesha looked at Jill and Jill smiled.
The waitress came back with decaffeinated coffee for Jill and Heather, an iced tea for Tanesha, and cinnamon rolls for them to share. The women fell silent while they doctored their drinks and took bites of the giant cinnamon rolls.
“Do you ever wish things hadn’t changed?” Tanesha asked. “I mean it sounds stupid, but…”
“I do,” Sandy said.
“I sometimes wish the awful past was the horrible present,” Jill said. “You know how much I love my life, Jacob, Katy, the Castle, everything, but sometimes…”
“I miss the old days,” Tanesha said. “Everything was terrible. I was exhausted and unhappy. But…”
“I always knew who I was,” Sandy gave a sad smile.
“I always knew who I was,” Tanesha repeated.
“Who the hell is this girl who’s going to med school in a few hours?” Heather asked.
“Who’s the girl who works at Simply Moore, world famous makeup studio?” Tanesha asked Heather.
“Is the well loved, well taken care of college student about to have twins?” Sandy asked.
“Who is the mother of five children?” Jill asked Sandy.
“No really, who has five children?” Tanesha asked.
The women laughed and ate their cinnamon rolls.
“It’s not like I want to go back there or that I’m ungrateful,” Tanesha said. “I’m so grateful for everything I have now.”
“I don’t want to go back there,” Heather said.
“Uh huh,” Jill shook her head.
“Who in her right mind has five children?” Sandy asked and they laughed. They fell silent for a moment when the waitress came to refill their cups.
“It’s a lot of change, great change, but still change,” Jill said. “I feel like I don’t know who I am or what to do or… At least when Trevor was beating on me, I knew who I was and now, I have to make it up as I go along. I spend most of my days faking like I know what I’m doing.”
“One thing I know for sure,” Heather said. “I love you guys more now then before. I’m excited to be here with you. No matter what change comes our way. We handle it all together.”
“The one thing that hasn’t changed is us,” Sandy said. “Thank God.”
Tanesha reached out to grab Sandy and Heather’s hand. Sandy took Jill’s hand and Jill held Heather’s hand. Their eyes looked back and forth between each other.
“Thank God,” Heather said finally.
“In a few hours, we’ll be going to medical school on Tanesha’s shoulders,” Jill said.
“I can’t wait,” Heather said.
Tanesha glanced from face to smiling face and nodded.
“I can’t wait either,” Tanesha said.
Denver Cereal continues on Monday…