Turning up Twenty-Third Avenue to run the steep incline of the Park Hill Golf Course, Jacob remembered the day he met the ‘infamous Jill.’
The doctor told his mother she wouldn’t see Easter. In response, his sister refused to return from UCLA for her “fucked up family.” Of course, his parents’ divorce was final, so Dad was marrying his sec-witch-ary.
And Jacob tore his ACL playing weekend warrior Ultimate Frisbee. Surgery and rehab kept him off the track field that spring. Angry and bored, Jacob filled dumpster after dumpster with Castle junk. Pulling up moldy carpet, Jacob realized the carpet continued into an almost hidden room. Jacob yanked, pulled, and pushed his way into a gorgeous, birch-paneled office space.
Climbing roses and Virginia creeper, covered the leaded windows, giving the room a green cave-like feel. Bright birch peaked through decades of dust on the floor and the bookshelves lining the walls. After a week of cleaning and filling the shelves with cut flowers, he and Delphie moved his frail mother’s hospital bed into the gorgeous room. To celebrate, they all walked to Pete’s Kitchen.
Now Jacob racked his brain. He didn’t remember the walk to Pete’s, the wait for a table, or even what he ate. He only remembered Jill. Jill was so excited to see his mother and Delphie that she never looked at him. Her hair was short, her hips were round, and …
Was it love? That’s what he called it now.
His mother never left the house again. After her death, he couldn’t handle her favorite restaurant, Pete’s Kitchen. He graduated from high school and left Denver forever. Or so he thought.
He picked the farthest college away from Denver, Bowdoin College in Maine. As he had during high school, he played sports during the school year and worked as a carpenter in the summers.
But he remembered the girl. That amazing girl.
He spent time with a lot of girls, but no woman held his attention for long. His last girlfriend told him he was haunted and should “get help.” It wasn’t until he moved back into the Castle and started playing midnight hockey that he saw Jill again. She was pregnant, exhausted, and more beautiful than he remembered.
And today he was going to spend the day with Jill and Katy.
Just spend the day. That’s all.
Zoo and lunch. Easy.
Jill liked to get up early. When Trevor lived here, he grumbled through the morning, and a pot of coffee, before leaving for school or work or studying or, as she knew now, the rich girl. The cool quiet morning was a gift of Trevor’s betrayal. Even though she slept only a few hours, she woke early to steal an hour for herself.
Jill loved Sundays.
Megan and Tim kept Katy while Jill worked at Pete’s. Sundays were a ritual of breakfast with Meg, church, then free time with Katy. Sometimes they just ran errands. Other times they spent the day at the park. Katy talked non-stop about every little thing happening around her. Yes, Sunday was absolutely Jill’s favorite day of the week.
So why did she say she would go to the zoo with that guy?
Her mind went blank. It just happened.
He was cute. Turning on the shower, Jill grinned. He was very cute.
But, the Megan in her mind reminded her, so were a lot of men. Stepping under the blast of water, Jill tried to imagine another man in her life. Nope. No men. She pressed her hand against her heart.
Still, she felt good when she was with Jacob. Safe. Warm. He’d held her hand when he walked her to the apartment last night. She was prepared for him to want a kiss or to come in.
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1 continues tomorrow…
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