On a delightfully warm spring afternoon, one surprisingly not interrupted by bursts of cold wind, Kassandra arrives at the farm with her usual haul of treats and coffee, and is greeted by a surprise.
River’s mom walks out to greet her. With her health status, she’s been mostly housebound for a year. But today, she strides out to the driveway, holding River’s hand, gravel crunching beneath her sneakers, a wide grin on her face.
I’m seeing her grin? Kassandra notices, and hangs back, touching her own mask to make sure it is there.
“I’m vaccinated!” the mom calls out. “Don’t worry, I’ll still stay six feet away. I’m still super careful. But, oh, Kassandra, I can come outside, I can talk to people again! I had to come out and say hello. And thank you.”
“Wow.” Kassandra cannot find eloquence. “Wow, that’s, that’s so great!”
“Isn’t it? I haven’t been this excited, this energized, for so long. But that’s not really why I wanted to catch you, before you and River start working again. I have to thank you, so much, well, we do, don’t we?” She turns to River, who nods.
Kassandra assumes the mom is talking about the treats. “Oh, it’s no big deal. The coffee shop is going to toss those anyway, and your kids eating them saves me from dealing with the extra calories myself.”
“Oh, no, I mean, yes, thanks for those. The kids love them – so does Joe, let’s be honest. And he’s not worried about the calories.” That big grin again, more than six feet away, mirroring the glorious spring sunshine. “But I meant for letting River help. You can’t imagine how much better remote school has been since the two of you started working on the death spiral.”
Kassandra flinches. “It’s not really – “
“I know, that’s just what River calls it, sorry. It’s become shorthand in our house. River talked with the teacher, and they are going to give credit for the work on the art project.” A shadow of worry crosses her face. “I mean, if it’s okay with you, to let River help?”
Is it? Kassandra asks her inner artist voice for guidance. The answer is immediate. She now knows the spiral belongs to both of them.
“Of course.” She wonders if the grin behind her mask is as big as the mom’s.