CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FORTY-EIGHT
“Come on,” Sandy said.
“I just. . .” Jill started.
“I know,” Sandy said. “It’s really hard. There are so many transitions right now. We start by getting the kids back to school.”
“But. . .” Jill said.
Sandy cut her off by shaking her head.
“They are safe,” Sandy said. “They wear their masks and are really good about it. They want to be in school.”
“I know,” Jill said with a sigh.
“School starts at 10?” Sandy asked.
“Come on,” Sandy said. “Why don’t we head to the salon? Trim that pandemic hair. Give you a shine boost.”
“I. . .” Jill said.
“You have time,” Sandy said. “Jake is taking the kids to school. You’ve had breakfast.”
“I have time,” Jill said as if to convince herself.
“You have time,” Sandy said.
Jill gave Sandy a long look before nodding. Grinning at Jill, Sandy grabbed her purse and jacket from where she’d left them. They drove to Sandy’s studio.
Sandy was cutting Jill’s hair when Jill remembered that she loved school.
Her kids loved school too.
She’d been so caught up in getting everything done and making sure no one got sick, that she had forgotten how much she loved her life.
“Do you ever think that maybe we have a, like, happiness limit?” Jill asked.
“What do you mean?” Sandy asked.
“I just realized that I’d fallen back into feel horrible,” Jill said. “You know, like I did forever when I was married to Trevor and everything. It wasn’t even hard and I didn’t even notice.”
Sandy squeezed Jill’s shoulder and went to get the highlight color.
“I think the stress of everything has frayed everyone,” Sandy said. “It’s a lot. It’s been a lot and now, instead of a vacation, we have to navigate getting the kids back in school, going back to school for you, and getting my small business up and running again. It’s. . .”
“A lot,” Jill said.
“So go easy on yourself,” Sandy said. “It’s okay to feel miserable when things are miserable. It’s not okay to get stuck there.”
Jill nodded. Sandy finished Jill’s highlights and disappeared. She returned with mugs of hot chocolate. Sandy sat in a chair near Jill while they drank their cocoa. By the time her mug was near empty, Jill was feeling a lot better.
“How are you able to handle all of this?” Jill asked.
“Well,” Sandy said with a shrug. “I nearly died a few months ago. I’ve had all these surgeries and been in and out of the hospital.”
“Awful,” Jill said.
“It’s changed my perspective,” Sandy said with a nod. “At least for now.”
Sandy got up to check Jill’s highlights.
“For now, I feel like this is life,” Sandy said. “Messy, ugly, full of drama and joy. I had so much pain. I had so much help and love and support. More than anything, I’m glad to be here in the mess of everything.”
“I’m glad you’re here, too,” Jill said, sniffing at her tears.
“We do not have time for that,” Sandy said with a smile. “Let’s get you washed up and out of here.”
Denver Cereal continues on Monday...
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