CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and EIGHTY
Monday afternoon — 4:25 p.m.
Jacob woke up with a start. Unsure of where he was, he sat up. He recognized the bedroom of his cabin. He saw Sarah lying on the bed next to him. He reached over to stroke her yellow fur. She opened her eyes and then closed them again.
Smiling at her, he got up from the bed and went to check the refrigerator.
To his surprise, the refrigerator was stocked with food. There was firewood in the fire pit and stacked next to the fireplace.
There was nothing that he had to do.
Nothing he had to do.
The nothingness was like a chasm opening up in front of him. He’d been running so long, pressing so hard for such a long time that the nothingness felt bleak.
“What the hell am I going to do with myself?” Jacob asked.
He stood in kitchen area staring at the fireplace for a long moment before noticing that there was a gift bag on the kitchen counter. He took out a card with his name in Jill’s tight handwriting.
“My darling Jacob,
I thought this was a crazy idea when Valerie suggested it. It was only when Blane talked to me about how you seemed to be drifting.
I guess I thought that after so many years of being so directed that you deserved some time drifting. I told him that I wasn’t concerned.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve noticed how you were very slowly, but surely becoming depressed. It wasn’t until Katy said something about you’re being irritable and down that I agreed with Blane and Valerie.
I am sure you hate being there are this moment.
I’m sure you feel betrayed by all of us. Or at least, I would.
Please know that we will miss you, desperately. The kids are going to hate having you gone.
I have to love you enough to let you go to find yourself again. If you decided to come home right now, I would understand.
It just seems like you’ve spent so much time filling everyone’s needs that you’ve lost track of what you need and want.
That’s just not okay with me.
Promise me that you’ll give this break a try. Give yourself some days to sleep, wander the mountains, go fishing, breathe the mountain air — then see what comes up.
The kids and I will be here when you’re ready to talk about it. We’ll be here when you’re ready to come home.
He sighed and read the letter again.
Maybe he needed to give this idea that he was depressed some consideration. He looked into the bag and saw one of the big journals he preferred. There was even the pen he loved. Jill had included drawings from the twins and a short story Katy had written for him. She’s stuck a small tin of what was left of Sandy’s mouthwatering butter cookies.
Taking a cookie out of the tin, he decided to leave Katy’s story for later.
He took out the journal and set it on the counter.
“In Deckers,” he wrote. “Forced time off and the date.”
He took a breath and started to write. His hand flew over the page. He wrote and wrote and wrote until his hand cramped. He shook out his hand and kept writing. He lost track of what he was writing. He just wrote.
Sarah shook her head in such a way that her ear flopping made a loud noise and the tags on her collar jingled. He looked up.
Day had turned to night. Sarah needed dinner and a walk. He set the journal on the counter. He would go through what he wrote tonight to see if there was something he needed to focus on. For now, it was time to get out of the cabin.
He grabbed Sarah’s leash, and headed out into dim light of dusk in the mountains.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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