CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FORTY-NINE
“I don’t want to give up everything I’ve worked for,” Valerie said. “I’m just not sure what’s next.”
“Sounds like we don’t have to decide right away,” Mike said.
“One thing,” Valerie said. “If we’re going to stay, we should talk to Jake about getting a bigger place. This apartment was perfect for you alone. It was great for you and me. But now? We have three kids! We need more space.”
“I’m sure he has a plan,” Mike said.
“Probably,” Valerie nodded.
Neither one of them said anything for a long moment. Valerie sighed.
“Would you mind if we just stayed here until. . .”Valerie’s voice died out because she wasn’t sure how long they’d be there.
“Until a vaccine or the pandemic ends or the economy picks up or. . .?” Mike asked. “Absolutely. Let’s just hang out. If we get sick of it, we can do something else.”
Valerie gave him one of her beautiful movie star smiled.
“Sounds perfect,” Valerie said.
“It does,” Mike said. “To me too.”
“Do you think. . .?” Valerie started and then shook her head. “My mother used to say, ‘It’s no good giving voice to fears.’ I’m so afraid that everything’s going to come apart completely. I want someone to tell me that it won’t. Even if they lie!”
“I think we all feel that way,” Mike said. “Or everyone I talk to, even the kids. We want to know that things will continue on, that we’ll be okay, but. . .”
“There’s no way to know,” Valerie said.
“Our longing for certainty makes us vulnerable to the people who will lie to us, tell us anything for their own gain,” Mike said. “My mom is beside herself. She says this happened in Russia. People are desperate so they believe anything.”
“We have to hold onto hope,” Mike said. “We need to be hopeful.”
“Even if we fake it,” Valerie nodded. “That should be our new thing.”
“What?” Mike asked.
“Strengthening our hope,” Valerie said. “Building hope in everyone we know.”
“Speaking of that,” Valerie said, with a sigh. “We need to either share Grace with the men outside or take the money from the tabloids.”
“For charity?” Mike asked.
“For the food shelters,” Valerie said. “To bring awareness that people are going without right now. I wonder if. . .”
Valerie tapped her finger to her lip.
“What?” Mike asked.
“Oh nothing,” Valerie smiled. “I like it. Hope is our new mission.”
Mike gave her a quizzical look but eventually nodded.
“You’re not. . .” Mike started. “I mean, you remember that we can’t get people together or. . .”
“You’re not going to tell me?” Mike asked.
“I’ll tell you,” Valerie said. “I just have to think it through more.”
“Let’s just leave this stuff and nap for a while,” Mike said.
“Grace will be awake soon,” Valerie said.
Mike stood and held out his hand. They walked to the bed where they both fell into a dreamless sleep.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow...
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