CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and FIFTY-NINE
Friday night — 10:05 p.m.
“There you are!” Heather said as she jogged down the stairs to their main kitchen. “What are you doing? How come you didn’t come over?”
Tanesha turned to look at Heather. Her eyes were moist as if she’d been crying. She shook her head at Heather and went back to staring straight ahead from where she was sitting at their kitchen table.
“Did something happen?” Heather asked.
Tanesha looked at her best friend.
“You should go back to the party and have fun,” Tanesha said.
Heather snapped her fingers and a bottle of her grandfather’s expensive wine was sitting in her hands. She opened the wine and poured two glasses.
“Come on,” Heather said.
“I just. . .” Tanesha said.
“I know,” Heather said.
Tanesha got up from her seat and followed Heather to the soft couch that face the wall of windows to their sunken backyard. Heather gave Tanesha a glass of wine. For a few long minutes, they sat out on the couch staring at the yard.
“I was thinking. . .” Heather started at the same time Tanesha said, “I just can’t. . .”
“Tell me,” Heather said.
“It’s so hard,” Tanesha said. “Today, we had this kid — four years old.”
“Jabari’s age,” Heather said.
“He had to be hooked to a ventilator,” Tanesha said. “He’s got the stupid virus. His parents are in the middle of a divorce. They swear that they have no idea why he picked up the virus, but the dad was in India last week and. . .”
“These variants are going to kill everyone and we’re going to be right back in the mess of it or worse,” Tanesha said. “I don’t know if I can handle all of the death.”
“What did your resident say?” Heather asked.
“I didn’t tell her,” Tanesha said. “She’s not like me. She just shrugs and says ‘Oh well, next patient.’ I. . . It’s so hard.”
“It is,” Heather said.
Tanesha put her hand over her eyes and cried. Heather rubbed her shoulder.
“What am I going to do?” Tanesha asked. “I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was a little kid. Now, here I am and. . .”
Heather waited a moment to see if Tanesha has anything else to say. Tanesha just shrugged.
“You’re still a medical student,” Heather said. “You have two years before you graduate and then residency and. . .”
“I’m thinking about quitting,” Tanesha said. “I can’t handle it. Truly. They’re saying that there will be a huge winter surge and. . .”
“I don’t remember you ever saying that you wanted to be an ER doctor,” Heather said.
Tanesha turned in her place and stared at Heather. Tanesha’s mouth opened and closed. Heather shrugged.
“But. . .” Tanesha said. “I’m really good at this.”
“You’re really good at a lot of things,” Heather said. “It doesn’t mean that you need to spend your life doing it.”
Tanesha looked down and then out at the garden.
“When did that happen?” Tanesha asked, gesturing to the garden.
She got up and slid open the sliding door to the back patio. She crossed the white rocks to the large cement patio with the table on it. She walked to the grassy area along the retaining wall and knelt down at the koi pond Jacob and Blane had dug. Heather followed after her.
“They are so beautiful,” Tanesha said gesturing to the water lilies. “Pink and white and. . . Oh look! The fish!”
“Would you like to feed them?” Heather asked.
Heather held out the fish food. Tanesha took the food and put a tiny bit on the top of the water.
“Do you think that they’ll get big?” Tanesha asked.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow....
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