CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and EIGHTY-FOUR
Tuesday morning — 1:05 p.m. MT
“Who do you think it was?” Jill asked.
Sandy was drinking a chocolate shake from a straw so she couldn’t answer. Delphie came into the room carrying a tray with Sandy’s actual lunch of soup, soft bread, some chicken, and strawberries. Feeling like they were caught, Jill and Sandy turned to look at Delphie. Sandy kept drinking in case Delphie took the chocolate shake away from her.
“Don’t worry about me,” Delphie said. “If you don’t want this stuff, Jill and I will eat it.”
Laughing, Sandy coughed and stopped drinking.
“Whoa,” Jill said.
Jill took the shake from Sandy’s hand and set it on the table. She held out some water for Sandy but Sandy shook her head. After a moment, she accepted the water.
“Swallowed wrong,” Sandy said.
Jill took back the water.
“Don’t take my milkshake,” Sandy croaked.
Jill and Delphie laughed.
“I heard that you saw something,” Delphie said.
“How …?” Sandy looked at Jill and she shook her head.
“Maresol. She came in to check on you and … well.” Delphie nodded. “Why don’t you tell me what happened?”
Sandy nodded to Jill.
“She’s been upset but she doesn’t like to be upset around other people,” Jill said.
“Too hard,” Sandy’s voice came as a slur of words.
“Oh, it’s going to be okay. Don’t be upset,” Delphie said with a nod. “You mean like that?”
“Sure,” Jill said. “But for Sandy, so many people are invested in her being ‘strong,’ you know? She has to hide being sad.”
“Nash,” Sandy slurred through her wired jaw. “Teddy.”
“She doesn’t want the boys to feel worse than they already do,” Jill said.
“She convinced Aden to leave so that she had some time to herself when things were quiet,” Jill said. “Then she let her feelings out.”
“I’ve done the very same thing,” Delphie said.
Sandy’s eyes flicked to Delphie. The Oracle gave Sandy a confirming nod.
“Well, then you know how it is,” Jill said.
“I do,” Delphie said. “So you were upset and …”
“Crying,” Sandy’s voice slurred. Her hands touched her face. “Upset. All came forward. From … before.”
“When we were kids,” Jill said. “Before she was adopted by Mitch.”
“Mixed together,” Sandy said.
Her eyes flicked to Jill, and Jill nodded.
“You know how it is,” Jill said, “you start to feel something and then all of the sudden you’re feeling everything. You’re not an adult any more but a child and …”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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