Despite the good news of a vaccine slowly making its way through the community, the winter feels heavy. The valley collects clouds, holds onto them, even when the tops of the hills surrounding it touch the clear blue sky.
Sometimes the clouds are a comforting blanket, warming the sleeping earth. Other times, their dark weight oppresses, putting our Pine Street friends into equally dark moods.
Across the country news reflects the darkness. People look for sparks of light, try to focus on their own small spaces of safety and comfort.
David calls for a video chat for the crew that’s been delivering food since late fall. Rosa joins them; she wants them to know what it’s like inside the hospital. And, when she finally regains her strength, she promises, she’ll find a way to participate in the food distributions.
“People need more than food, though,” Leo says. “I mean, I see so many pairs of terrified eyes above the masks.”
Kassandra agrees. “I see it too. When we were still doing drive-through, it seemed like people wanted a reason to be cheerful as much as they wanted their coffee.”
“We know all about that,” Rosa says, still struggling, a bit, to draw a full breath. “Nurses, I mean. We figure about twenty percent of our work is technically medical. Eighty percent is helping people cope with the medical stuff.”
David nods. “So what do we do?” The crew debates this for a while, nothing really hitting the spot. “Hey, I’ll be right back,” David says, turning off his camera and mic.
He’s heard a soft moaning from the bedroom where Sasha lives these days, on bedrest for the duration of her pregnancy. She’s just a few weeks now from her due date. They are living on pins and needles, in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of social and political unrest. David’s on the verge of exhaustion, though he works hard not to show it.
“Hey, hon,” he calls softly. “You okay?”
He tiptoes into the bedroom, gently touches Sasha’s shoulder. “Sasha?”
The only response is another moan, much less soft.