Posts tagged “argument

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 48

Posted on 03/06/2015

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They hadn’t held hands in ages. At thirty-years old, it didn’t seem all that necessary as it was when she was ten years old. But when Gabriel grabbed hold of her hand and led her down the winding path, Samina felt a peace she hadn’t felt in years. In introspective silence, they listened to the crickets providing an evening melody, the croaking bullfrogs complementing the tone. Gabriel whistled a tune.

 “Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine.”

Her nose wrinkled before he whistled the next stanza. “Dad, that’s a terrible song …” She raised a brow at him. “It’s about a man losing his daughter to drowning.”

Gabriel choked a laugh. “Oh wow.”

She shrugged, leaning into him as they walked the woven path. “I looked up the lyrics when I was fifteen. It changed my life forever.”

He nudged her shoulder. “Drama queen.”

Samina sighed and propped her head against his shoulder. “You heard everything?”

“Not if you didn’t want me to.”

She twisted her mouth. “Do you… think she’s right?”

Gabriel didn’t answer at first, mulling over his daughter’s words. The silence stretched for a few moments before he released a sigh. “I always used to think you were like your mother; headstrong and frustratingly independent.” He chuckled lowly. “In a way, you are… but I see a lot of myself in you too.”

Samina managed a smile. For so long, she always felt closer to him because they were so much alike. “I’m your mini-me.”

He peered down at her. “You’re my mirror.” He squeezed her hand. “Even when you were just a baby, your eyes always watched me, doing as you saw me do. Funny thing was you took your cues from me.”

She remained quiet, knowing he was right. A memory of a trip to the beach, walking in her father’s large footsteps, came to mind.

“I’m grateful that you are our firstborn, Samina,” he continued. “You set the temperature for the house based on how your mother and I were feeling. Your uncanny ability to moderate and set the mood of the family, it amazes me.”

Samina bit her bottom lip as he stopped walking. He turned to face her, his face shrouded and unreadable under the half-cast moonlight.

“But I’m seeing now, that you took on more than a child should have to. Because I got too comfortable with you and your mom being assertive and strong women, you took on a role you shouldn’t have.”

She blinked, wary of his grave tone. “Dad…”

“It is not your job to be your mother’s husband or your siblings’ father. That’s my job. You’re not supposed to be my mirror, or the family’s thermostat.” His thumbs brushed the back of her hands. “You don’t have to be strong or invincible. Even I can’t. Only God can.”

Tears welled up in her eyes. “Dad…”

“Embrace your weaknesses as well as your strengths, Samina. They are what make you special, what make you beautiful.” He lifted a hand and cupped her cheek. “It’s okay to say that you don’t have all the answers, or that you’re confused with your life’s journey, or that you’re not perfect. No one is perfect.”

Samina drew in her bottom lip, gnawing at it.

“You’re not me, your mom, Karen or Obadiah. God made you special, unique, beautiful in your own way. There’s no need for you to be someone He hasn’t created you to be.”

She nodded, looking down. “I know that…”

“If you know that, why are you confused?”

Samina looked up, her brow furrowed. “I’m not… confused.

“Ok… what is it then?”

She stiffened. He wouldn’t understand; no one ever did. Her eyes tingled. Don’t you dare cry again.

Gabriel’s hands let go of hers and moved to cup her shoulders. “Samina… Everything you’ll ever need in life, God has provided it for you.”

She refrained from rolling her eyes. “Dad…”

“Delay isn’t denial, you know that, don’t you?”

Samina held her tongue. It sure felt like everything in her life was a loud and firm denial, but arguing with him and God didn’t seem appropriate.

He squeezed her shoulders. “In due time, everything you need, will be met. Stop stressing about what will happen and live for today.”

She smiled wryly. “You sound like a fortune cookie, Dad.”

Gabriel chuckled softly. “Don’t think for a moment that I don’t know about you collecting notes from fortune cookies…”

Her cheeks warmed, recalling the box of rolled-up fortune cookies slips under her childhood bed, representing dashed hopes and dreams. ‘Your future is looking bright’; ‘Love is waiting at the next corner’; ‘Keep on believing.’ She’d been a fool to believe in it all.

He sighed, draping an arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer. “My mini-me…”

Samina leaned into him, warmed by the endearment. “Yes, Daddy?”

“Enjoy your life. Don’t dwell on the past, on things you can’t change. Live for today because you can.”

There was a soft wistful lilt to his tone that had Samina peeking up at his shadowed face.

He sighed. “For more than thirty-something years, I lived with regret and wished I could turn back time. I wished I could’ve told Odetta that I feared failing her, or not being the man she thought I was. That’s why I worked hard, knowing that if I didn’t, I might lose her to Jeremiah.”

She frowned. “Uncle?”

Gabriel grunted. “I knew he loved her too, maybe even more than I ever could… and it ate at me every time she talked about what a great and smart guy he was. In a way, I’d made him my yard stick on how to be a man. And even long after Odetta, I still found myself doing that. Seeing how he treated Sheena like she was his precious gift and finding myself wanting.”

Samina bit the inside of her cheek.

“And because I had my eyes on what he was doing, I hurt your mother with neglect.”

Samina had a sneaky suspicion that this was beyond fatherly advice and more so overdue contemplation over his past failings. She slipped an arm around his waist. “Daddy…?”

“Hmm?”

She hesitated. “You… love Mom, don’t you?”

“Of course I do.” His voice shook a little. “It’s a matured love that endures in spite of frustrations and insecurities because she’s my precious gift. No matter what, we’ll face every circumstance and struggle together.”

Samina swallowed hard.

“I wish I could say it was love at first sight or that I was head over heels in love with your mother… But I wasn’t. I was still hurt from Odetta’s betrayal and didn’t trust women. But your mother was enduring, patient and stubborn.” He chuckled dryly. “It’s funny; the very thing that attracts you to someone is often the very thing that drives you nuts.”

Samina paused, wondering what about Ezekiel attracted her and drove her nuts at the same time. Gabriel’s hand on her cheek caught her at mid-frown.

“Your sister is right, Samina.” Gabriel brushed her cheek with his thumb. “I rather you wait until you’re sure before you jump into anything in life. Career and in love. Even if you have to wait a while, wait and decide what you really want. When times get tough, and you’ve taken that much-needed time, you won’t regret waiting.”

The peace that had settled in her at the beginning of their walk was long gone, an unsettling feeling resting on her as they made their quiet walk back to the camp. She watched as Gabriel crossed the camp fire to where Deidre sat with Sheena and Jeremiah. With a wistful smile, she watched Gabriel reach for Deidre’s hand and tug her to her feet.

Deidre cocked her head curiously as Gabriel took the seat and patted his lap. Jeremiah and Sheena chuckled, Deidre smacking Gabriel’s shoulder before perching on his lap.

Tamping down a sigh, Samina turned away once the elder couples continued their murmuring and turned to where Karen and Ezekiel’s girls sat together, Beulah leaning into Karen as she re-braided her plaits while Adelaide nibbled on a graham cracker.

Samina snuck away to the tent she shared with Karen, intent on sleeping the cramps and fatigue away. A twig snapped to her left and she hurried into the tent, snapping the flap close. It could be Ezekiel, seeking her response. Or Topher…

She couldn’t face either one right now; not when her thoughts were a discombobulated mess.

Wiggling into the sleeping bag, Samina turned her back and squeezed her eyes tight. The last thought on her mind before drifting off to sleep was what Odetta must’ve felt making her decision.

Topher stood at the bank of the river, his brow furrowed slightly as he took in the orange and pink hues in the sky. The night passed too slowly and with Samina on his brain, he couldn’t sleep. It didn’t help that Obadiah’s guttural snoring was way worse than Nadine’s wheezing. By three in the morning, he’d given up trying and took a long jog around the river, trying to organize his thoughts and his feelings.

He wished to forget what he’d seen earlier that evening; the picture of Ezekiel kneeling before Samina.

“I thought I was the only one who couldn’t sleep past five.”

Topher’s jaw hardened. Though he didn’t know the man long enough, he found himself recognizing the voice of Samina’s boyfriend Ezekiel.

The man stifled a yawn as he came to stand at Topher’s side.

In the wake of their silence, bullfrogs hiding in the reeds along the bank croaked out their melodious beat.

“There’s nothing quite like the great outdoors,” Ezekiel continued, his voice light and cheery.

Topher grunted. It was too early in the morning for merriment.

After a brief pause, Ezekiel spoke again. “I heard about your parents. I’m sorry for your loss.”

He kicked a shoulder, not wanting this man’s sympathy.

“The older I get,” Ezekiel mused aloud. “The more I realize what a small world we live in. It seems everyone is connected somehow.”

He rolled his eyes. What did Samina see in this talkative, annoying fellow?

“That we’re all related in some way, it’s bizarre.” Ezekiel chuckled. “To think that Samina’s friendship with you allowed you to meet our fathers who were your parents’ friends… It’s definitely God.”

Topher bristled inwardly, wishing the man to leave.

Ezekiel then turned to face him. “I’d like us to be friends.”

Topher arched a brow. Did this guy think they were in kindergarten?

“I can see Samina cares for you. A friend of hers is a friend of mine.”

He wanted to laugh. Even with Ezekiel’s warm expression, Topher knew better than to take this man’s words at face value. Just as he stood at Samina’s side, occupying every moment of her time since they arrived at the camp, he was now verbally staking a claim over Samina. Topher felt his lips curl upwards. He did always like a challenge. “And if I don’t agree?”

Ezekiel’s smile froze. “Agree to what, Samina’s feelings for you?”

Topher grinned wider. “The latter. Do we really need to be friends to co-exist in her heart?”

Ezekiel’s smile changed. “I’m not good at sharing.”

“Neither am I,” Topher answered easily, shoving both hands in his pockets. “But this isn’t about sharing a cookie or a toy. Samina’s heart isn’t a toy.”

Ezekiel’s face hardened. “Samina loves me. Always have, always will.”

Topher smiled effortlessly. “Good for you.”

“I plan to marry her.”

He nodded. The image of Ezekiel kneeling was clear as day in his mind. “I know.”

“She will be my wife.”

Topher cocked a brow at Ezekiel’s face now taut with increasing irritation. The self-assuredness he’d assumed earlier was now absent in his expression. “Is that merely an assumption or a known fact?”

Ezekiel narrowed his eyes then, lips pursed tight. “Don’t confuse her.”

“What, you’re scared she’ll refuse?” Topher raised both brows. “That she has a better option than the one you’re proposing?”

Ezekiel scoffed. “You’re joking. Do you know her at all?”

“Do you?” Topher smirked as Ezekiel’s smile waned. “So what she had a crush on you? Does that give you full reins of her heart?”

Without warning, Ezekiel grabbed hold of Topher’s collar, face darkening with a scowl. “Who are you to say that? What do you know?”

Unaffected, Topher just stared down at him. “And who are you to decide what she wants?”

Ezekiel’s fists tightened on Topher’s t-shirt. “Shut your mouth.”

Topher breathed a laugh. “I’m not in the mood to repeat history here. Let go or I’ll make you.”

A round of claps alerted both men, the raging fires within sizzling as they turned to see Samina standing in the clearing. Ezekiel’s hands loosened around Topher’s shirt and he quickly stepped away. Topher didn’t blink as Samina walked forward, clapping her hands slowly.

“A round of applause,” Samina drawled out, stepping fully out of the shadows. “What an awesome performance, gentlemen.”

“Sam, I can explain…” Ezekiel stepped forward.

“Explain what exactly?” Samina glared at both men. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you two were kids fighting over a toy.”

Topher swallowed a curse. Ezekiel inhaled sharply. She’d heard everything.

She folded both arms across her chest, her brow furrowed. “So what were you going to do, fight knowing your daughters could walk in on you two?”

“No one was going to fight,” Ezekiel insisted, his tone growing agitated. “I was just…”

“Warning him off? Making veiled threats?” Samina turned to Topher before Ezekiel could explain but could only shake her head. “I don’t recognize either of you.”  She turned away, hand to her head.

Ezekiel stepped closer but Topher grabbed his shoulder to stop him. He scowled when Ezekiel shrugged him off and closed the distance. He glared at Ezekiel as the man draped an arm around Samina’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry, baby,” Ezekiel murmured, loud enough for Topher to hear but soft enough to sound contrite.

Topher wanted nothing more than to grab Ezekiel by the collar and push him away from Samina. Instead he stood and waited in silence. It wasn’t his place to interfere, even if he desperately wanted to.

Samina elbowed Ezekiel to keep her distance. “Stop.” She glared up at him. “Even now, you’re still doing it. Stop it, for goodness’ sake.”

Dumbfounded, Ezekiel gaped at her. “Sam…”

“I’m not a toy, Ezekiel.” Samina snapped, indignant. “I decide what and who I want, not you.”

Ezekiel’s mouth opened and closed, eyes blinking.

“What do you want then?” Topher heard himself speak.

Samina turned to him, eyes sizzling. “I thought I knew but now… I don’t know.”

Ezekiel frowned. “But—”

“And until I’m sure, I don’t want to talk to either of you about it.” Samina hitched her chin. “And don’t you dare follow me or try to change my mind. Punch your stupid heads in for all I care. Good day!” She spun on her heels and stormed off.

Ezekiel puffed out an exasperated breath in her wake and dragged a hand over his face.

Topher slowly released a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding all this time.

Grunting, Ezekiel turned to him with a ‘now what’ expression and Topher did everything he could to keep from laughing. He was not in the mood to fight anyone, especially not now.

With a sigh, Topher turned to face the lake just as the sun rose above the trees.

<<Chapter 47 || Chapter 49>>

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 14

Posted on 25/03/2015

kent

Samina gaped at the doctor, unsure of what she heard. “W-what? Please, could you repeat that?”

Dr. Felicia Halliday regarded her with sympathy. “It’s just a first diagnosis. We’ll need to schedule an MRI immediately.”

She shook her head, her eyes welling up with tears. “No. It can’t be.”

“It’s too early to say, Samina.” Dr. Halliday’s brow wrinkled pensively. “An MRI results could verify my suspicions.”

Samina closed her eyes, fighting nausea and dizziness. “Verify what, that I have a pituitary disease?” She squeezed her fingers in her palms.

Dr. Halliday paused. She too hadn’t anticipated such a troubling diagnosis from a simple woman’s exam. But Samina complained of frequent lapses in memory, tingling in her limbs and an overwhelming sense of malaise. The symptoms were all too familiar, from a few patients who didn’t discover they had tumors until it was too late.

Samina shook her head in disbelief. First her job and now this, all before her 30th birthday.

“Don’t panic,” Dr. Halliday’s voice broke through Samina’s frantic thoughts. “I will recommend you to an endocrinologist here on staff.” She scribbled on a notepad and tore out the sheet of paper. “In fact, I’ll personally come with you when the appointments are made.”

Samina leaned back when the doctor extended the note. “Please, wait. I–” she summoned a breath and closed her eyes. Everything was moving too fast.

“I know this is tough to take in.” Dr. Halliday watched Samina slowly release her breath. “But we need to determine what this is before it becomes too serious and too late to treat.”

Her body quivered. Samina licked her dry lips and opened her eyes. “What if it is… a tumor, like you said?” Her stomach flipped over. “What if…”

Dr. Halliday sighed. “Let’s cross that bridge once we get there.” She extended the note. “First we visit the endocrinologist. Okay?”

Tongue-tied, Samina blindly reached for the offered note.

Minutes later, she stared listlessly at Dr. Halliday’s script on the paper, replaying her recommendation for the days following. Exercise, a good diet and meditation to eliminate all forms of stress.

She smiled bitterly. Even though she did Pilates twice a day and ate only veggies, there was nothing she could do to eliminate stress. Samina released a breath and pressed the button on the elevator panel.

The elevator slowed and a bell sounded as the doors slid open. Samina stiffened as her eyes fell on the man standing on the other side of the elevator.

Topher Chance.

His solemn gray-green eyes settled on her face and she quickly averted her gaze. As he entered the elevator, she pocketed the note and focused her eyes forward.

They rode the elevator in silence, although Samina could feel the weight of his eyes on her. She made no attempt to speak with him and neither did he.

Once the door slid open on the ground level, Topher shifted to allow Samina passage. In silence, Samina stepped around him and hurried across the lobby. Pausing at the sliding doors, she glanced over her shoulder to search for Topher.

He was nowhere to be found in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city hospital.

Samina’s eyes welled with tears as the realization of her condition hit her like a ton of bricks. She swiftly turned away and hurried out to the parking lot.

“Any updates yet?” Ezekiel asked over the phone that evening. He frowned when Sheena sighed over the phone. “Mom, what’s wrong?”

“Oh, it’s nothing…”

He raised a brow. “Mom.”

Sheena sniffed. “It’s not looking good for your dad’s aunt, Zeke. The doctors say there’s not much time left. Your dad’s a mess.”

“What’s the plan?”

“I don’t know.”

His brow furrowed. “You’re not going?”

“Zeke,” she said, fatigue dulling her voice. “You know we both can’t go.”

“You were close to Aunt Neve. You should go too.”

Sheena sniffed at tears. “I would like to be there but there’s no luck with a babysitter.”

Teeth clenched, Ezekiel turned to face his desk and scanned the messy, disorganized pile of scattered blueprints.  “What about Sam?”

“Samina?”

“Uh-hmm…” Ezekiel ignored the protest in his head that bringing up Samina was a bad idea.

His mother hesitated briefly before responding. “She’s not picking up her phone.”

Ezekiel’s lips pursed. Was Samina purposely avoiding him and his family? He shook his head, dispelling the thought. Samina was much too kind for that petty behavior. “Maybe she’s busy…” he mumbled, more for himself than for his mother.

“I’ll try again later. Anyway, I need to go.”

Ezekiel leaned back in his chair. “Hey Mom, if you can, please go with Dad. He’ll need you there. Even if I have to come—”

“Nonsense,” Sheena scoffed. “You just focus on your work.”

Ezekiel rolled his eyes.

“Thanks for calling, my dear.”

“Love you. Mom.” As a wave of despair washed over him, he rubbed the bridge of his nose.

In the shadows of her room, Samina sat on the floor by her bed with her duvet cover draped over her shoulder. She stared listlessly at the carpet, replaying Dr. Halliday’s diagnosis.

“It might just be a hormonal imbalance. Or a pituitary tumor.” 

Her body trembled and she slanted her gaze to the ceiling. “Is losing my life part of your plan too?” her voice quivered. She pulled the duvet covers tighter around her.

The phone she thought she’d misplaced vibrated under her bed. Samina breathed out a tremulous sigh and retrieved the phone. Her eyes widened at Ada’s name flashing on the screen and reluctantly clicked the green button to answer. “Hello…?”

“You, Samina Wells,” Ada answered in a stern voice. “Have a lot of explaining to do.”

“I’m sorry.” Samina’s lips trembled, aware that she’d forgotten something important. Again.

“Look, if you don’t want to do it, tell me.” Ada snorted. “It’s not like I’m forcing you to be my maid-of-honor. What gives with this irresponsibility?”

Samina clenched her jaw, forcing herself not to snap back at Ada. After all, she had no idea what a terrible day it was for her.

“Is it too much to ask my maid-of-honor to help with the invitations? Do I have to beg you and my fiancé to help me out?”

Samina sat frozen, the tears rolling down her cheeks.

“Are you even listening to me, Samina?” Ada seethed in frustration. “Everyone thinks this is a joke and now even my best friend has decided to take a break from being my best friend.”

Something snapped in her and Samina sat up. “Now wait a minute. Ada…”

“So now you can talk? Go ahead.” Ada jeered. “Do you know how many times have you skipped out on me this week alone?”

Samina summoned a staying breath, her temple throbbing fiercely. There was no reasoning with Ada when she was belligerent. “Let’s talk tomorrow. I’m too tired for your nonsense this evening.”

“Are you kidding—” the rest of Ada’s blustering cut off when Samina disconnected the call.

Clutching the phone, the tears fell unrestrained down her cheeks. Ada’s blistering words felt like a stinging slap on the face.  Ada’s accusation of her being irresponsible bruised her more than she thought possible after almost ten years of friendship.

Her phone rang again and provoked to righteous anger, Samina lifted the phone back to her ear. “For the last time, we’ll talk tomorrow. Leave me alone!”

The deafening static on the other end made her pause and she peered at the screen. Inhaling sharply, she pulled the phone back to her ear. “Aunt Sheena…”

“Um…” Sheena floundered.

Chagrined, Samina bit her bottom lip. “I’m sorry, I-I thought you were someone else.” She grimaced, replaying her snappy tone.

“It’s okay, ” Sheena said wearily. “I’m sorry for calling so late, dear.”

Samina frowned at the older woman’s stilted tone. “Is everything okay?”

“Oh, Sammie dear…” Sheena sighed. “I know we already discussed this and I really respect your decision, but I really, really need your help.”

An hour later, Samina paused at dropping a folded shirt into the duffel bag on her mattress.

Perching on the edge of the bed, she placed the shirt on her lap. “What am I doing?”

She’d already promised Karen that she would refuse the offer to babysit Ezekiel’s girls. She’d made up her mind to move on, leaving Ezekiel and his family to solve their own problems. So why had she offered to watch the girls while Aunty Sheena accompanied her husband to Abbeville?

With a groan, Samina fell back into the mattress and slung a hand over her face. “What am I going to do now?”

<<Chapter 13 || Chapter 15>>

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