CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and EIGHTEEN
Wednesday mid-day — 12:05 p.m.
“Julie!” Jill said into her cellphone.
She was bent over pulling toddler clothing out of the small dryer in the loft. While there were large washers in the basement, Jill found that her boys were whirlwinds of filth. She and Jacob needed to do smaller, more frequent loads of laundry. Paddie’s mother had called her nearly every day since they were sent home for “Safe at Home.”
“What’s up?” Jill asked.
She heard coughing.
“Julie?” Jill asked.
“Jill,” Julie croaked. “Listen, I’ll be fast, if that’s okay.”
“Sure,” Jill responded.
Jill set the dry clothing down on top of the washer so that she could to focus her attention on her friend.
“I have it,” Julie said, speaking fast. “Covid, I mean. I took the boys up skiing for Presidents’ day because Colin was deployed. He’s been gone a long time this time, so we were all mopey. My sister called and said that she and her kids were there. We joined them in one of those ski condos on the ski runs. We had a great time, but I think wel got it either from the resort or from my sister or I don’t know. They are saying that the virus was all over those resorts by then. But I don’t know. I didn’t know that when we went up there.”
“Oh Julie,” Jill said.
“My sister and her husband are both in the hospital,” Julie said. “We’ve all tested positive for this evil plague. Paddie says that he has to come here for ‘cuddles.’ That’s what he says, ‘cuddles.’ He’s very angry that he and Katy can’t be together. I think it’s just a ploy but he’s very insistent. If you can imagine a really sick little boy who is furious at me for not doing what he says.”
“Sounds familiar,” Jill said.
“I know that things are kind of different in your house,” Julie said. “I… I … really need help. I really do. I don’t know where to turn. The entire team is gone. Samantha took her daughter and went to her parents’ cabin. Erin and her daughters are somewhere else. Wyoming, I think. I’m not sure. Somewhere Matthew’s family has historic land there or someone does. I can’t remember anything anymore. The Irish next door won’t open the door because everyone’s over 70. Wyatt and Max are working. Wyatt’s at the hospital and Max is taking care of the kids. I don’t…”
Jill listened as Julie coughed and cried.
“Come here,” Jill said. “We have space for you to quarantine. I can give Paddie some cuddles and take care of Connor.”
“I’m so glad you said that,” Julie said. “Paddie’s been screaming at me. I drove here just to see if I could shut him up and I…”
“You should know that Jacob’s father, Sam, has it,” Jill said. ”We’re all on quarantine too.”
“Misery loves company?” Julie asked, hacking.
“Have you seen a doctor?” Jill asked.
“I caught John last night,” Julie said. “He told me that the hospitals are booked up. I would just be sent home again. He said if I can’t smell or catch my breath then to come in. He told me to take some aspirin to think my blood and get some rest. But I have two little boys and no help and…”
“I’m going to open the gate,” Jill said. “Drive in all the way to the back near the garage. I’ll meet you out there. I’ll take you to one of the free apartments where you’ll be away from everyone to quarantine but still can get help.”
Jill jogged down the stairs to the loft to the closet where the security equipment was located.
“Oh, Jill, that’s just what I need,” Julie said, sobbing.
“Just get inside,” Jill said. “I’ll get my brother to help.”
Jill pointed to Mike, who was sitting in the kitchen. He pointed to himself, and Jill nodded.
“I’ll get him sick,” Julie said.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.