Posts tagged “dreams

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 17

Posted on 01/04/2015

farmersmarket

Gabriel didn’t know what angered him more; that Jeremiah had gone back to find Odetta or the fact that the woman in the blue dress wasn’t Odetta. The feeling of falling one step behind Jeremiah choked his pride as it always did ever since their younger days.

Pushing aside the troubled feelings, Gabriel sat up as Deidre sauntered into the study. She held out a glass of fresh beet juice for him to drink. Ignoring her stern gaze, he quietly accepted the drink and gulped it down.

“I just don’t see why you couldn’t at least offer to take them to the airport.” Deidre snatched back the empty glass. “And you didn’t bother calling. Honestly Gabriel, what is the matter with you? This isn’t like you.”

Without a word in his defense, Gabriel returned his attention to his miniature S.S. ocean liner ship.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you two didn’t like each other anymore.”

Gabriel rolled his eyes. “Don’t be so dramatic, Deidre. I’ve just been busy.”

“Too busy to comfort your friend mourning his dying aunt?” She gestured to the pile of unfinished models on his desk. “Is this what you call being busy?”

“Deidre, enough,” he growled, adjusting a stubborn piece on the tiny reel.

Deidre hissed with disdain. “You’re wrong for this, Gabriel, and you know it.” Muttering under her breath about his stubborn pride, she stormed out of the study.

Gabriel lowered his hands, staring blankly at the model ship in front of him. His wife’s nagging words, poking at his pride and guilt for the growing resentment toward Jeremiah.

Suddenly, a faded image of a morose Jeremiah standing beside him in front of an open grave, flashed in his mind’s eye. After their college graduation more than three decades ago, Jeremiah accompanied him to a mutual friend’s funeral. Though they were still not on speaking terms after a full-blown brawl between them, they still came together, both sporting identical bruises on their faces. A willowy female stood between them, her head bowed in deep sorrow.

Gabriel frowned at the image of the willowy woman who wept bitterly. This woman was Odetta Chance, his college sweetheart and the cause for the fist-fight with Jeremiah.

The doorbell rang loudly and he blinked out of the daze. Deidre’s voice filled the silence as she greeted their daughter Samina and ushered her in.

“Hey dad.”

A gentle smile crossed his lips as Samina peeked into the study. Gabriel stood and walked around the desk to welcome his first daughter.

“What a fine surprise,” he said, gathering Samina into his arms. He placed a kiss on her forehead and led her back to the desk, ignoring Deidre’s pointed stare.

“Everything okay?” he asked as she took the seat on the other side of his desk.

Samina hesitated answering until she settled in the chair across his desk. “Yeah…”

His brow furrowed at the fatigue plain in her voice. “You sure?”

“Hmm, I’m fine.” Samina flashed him a smile. “See?”

He merely arched his brow, unconvinced.

With a sigh, Samina lowered her gaze to the model on his desk. “Started another one already?” Her long fingers traced the smooth line of a pond sail boat.

Gabriel smiled as she gently lifted the boat in her hands. “Remember that one? Took us the entire night to complete.”

“I remember. Mom was annoyed.”

“She’s always annoyed.”

Her smile turned wistful and she placed the miniature boat on its stand.

His heart sunk at the forlorn expression on her face. “Nothing yet?”

She merely shook her head solemnly, eyes riveted to the unfinished boat before them.

“Don’t worry.” He reached over the desk and took her hand in his. “These things take time. Remember that God’s timing will never match ours. And his ways are not our ways.”

“Sometimes I wish it was…” Samina’s voice hitched as a sob caught in her throat.

Gabriel looked at her face that seemed unreadable at first glance. She was trying so hard to act unaffected by her sudden unemployment. Ever since she was a child, he found Samina quite hard to read unlike her siblings, her reserved nature resembling his own. But this father knew when she held back tears. Like now.

“Sam,” Gabriel began tenderly, coaxing Samina to look up. The telltale glimmer in her eyes made his heart ache. “It’s okay to be disappointed about the way things are happening… but don’t doubt God’s love for you. Believe that he has only the best for you.”

Samina sniffed back tears, staring at the patient love in her father’s eyes.

Gabriel smiled, squeezing her hand gently. “Whether it’s your job… or your future spouse, it’ll work out for your good.” He nudged her hand when she rolled her eyes. “Trust me, I know.”

Samina pulled her hand from his, tucking it under her armpit. She lowered her gaze. “Dad, please. I’m not even thinking about marriage.”

“For now or forever?” He didn’t like the resignation in her voice.

She leaned forward to study the boat, tracing the miniature rudder. “Haven’t seen this one before. Is this new?”

Gabriel tamped a sigh and looked down at the boat. “Not really. Just haven’t had much time to work on it.” He watched with bemusement as Samina fished through the pile of loose pieces. “Wanna give your old man a hand?”

Samina smiled gently. “You don’t have to ask.”

In the quiet secluded corner of the hospital stood a gazebo overlooking a fish pond and a small garden. Nadine had spotted the miniature paradise from her window one morning. Upon Topher’s arrival at her room during his lunch break, she asked for his company to investigate the grounds.

As Topher wheeled her down to the garden, Nadine surveyed the bright flowers lining the path. Her wheelchair was parked by the iron-wrought bench under the gazebo and once Topher helped her to stand, Nadine touched the cherry blossoms draped at the opening. “They overdid it a little…”

“Hmm?” Topher mumbled, watching a dragonfly hover a cluster of flowers planted on the ledge.

“Everything. The gazebo’s a nice touch though…” she paused to breathe in deep.

Topher eyed her warily. “Be careful.”

Nadine rolled her eyes. “Relax. The air out here isn’t as bad as back home.” For measure, she inhaled in deeper, exhaling with a blissful sigh.

“Still…” He watched the serene expression on her face and swallowed the rest of his words. If she was happy and comfortable, maybe he could rest easier.

“I’m fine.” Nadine cleared her throat and Topher leaned closer. She held up a hand to him and peered down into the fish pond. “I wonder if anyone’s gone fishing in there.”

Topher smirked, staring into the murky water. “Hope not.” He stretched his limbs, grunting as the tension eased off his taut muscles.

“How are the lovebirds? When’s the wedding again?”

“Sooner than you think. In the next few weeks.”

“Good. I should be right as rain by then.” She watched the dragonfly flit from one flower bed to another. “Wedding preparations going well?” she asked casually.

Topher shrugged. “Besides the stress of trying to get things done on time, yeah.” He didn’t bother bringing up Ada’s agitated nerves or Samina’s troubling absence.

Nadine scoffed lightly. “I can imagine. That Ada girl seems high-strung. Downright neurotic.”

“She was only nervous because you were giving her the third degree.” He squinted at her. “You promised to be nice.”

“I was nice,” Nadine countered, flicking at the dragonfly. “Is it a crime that I want to make sure my boys are taken care of?” At Topher’s pointed silence, she peered up at him. “By the way, when do you plan on making me a grandmother?”

Topher gave her a sideways glance. “Impatient, aren’t we?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Nadine tilted her stubborn chin. “I’m not getting any younger waiting on you.”

Reminded by her debilitating condition, he quickly averted his gaze before she noticed. The thought of Nadine’s time slipping away made him reconsider his priorities. Presently, marriage was becoming a higher priority than building his career. It didn’t help that Jaxson’s upcoming nuptials spoke of the thrills of finding one’s mate.

Aside the stress of wedding plans, Jaxson was content and excited to spend the rest of his life with Ada. Topher caught himself wondering if there was someone that would make him feel just as content.

Suddenly, Samina with her striking features and shy smile flickered in his thoughts. Topher sat up, his heart doing a little back-flip. His lips curled in a smile. “Might be sooner than you think…”

Nadine chuckled low, pulling Topher’s attention to her. She had a knowing smile on her face. “She seems nice.”

Topher arched a brow. “What?”

“I like her.” Her eyes danced with mirth. “Maybe she’s a little aloof and shy. But it’s good that she can cook a mean Cajun dish. Means I won’t have to worry you’ll be taken care of.” She wriggled her brows and poked a bony finger in his side.

He frowned, wrapping a hand around her thin wrist. “Nadine… No one said anything about Samina.”

Nadine gave him a pointed stare. “You just did.” She laughed at his strangled groan.

<<Chapter 16 || Chapter 18>>

More than Enough {Excerpt}

Posted on 09/06/2014

fadingshadows

The warm rays of the sun were unbearable against her sticky skin and she couldn’t wait to get inside. Bounding up the porch steps, she clucked her tongue in annoyance as her tennis shoes scuffed the top step. Recovering her balance, she unlocked the front door and entered. A sweet aroma tickled her nostrils as she stepped into the lobby and she smiled, recognizing her favorite treat baking in the kitchen. It meant only one thing. Her mom was home early. “Hey Mom!” she called out, dropping her backpack on the bench near the door.

She could hear her mother’s voice and followed it to the kitchen, pausing at the door to watch her mother pace the kitchen, the house phone propped on her shoulder. Brow raised as her mother waved at her distractedly, she shrugged and made a beeline for the freshly-baked macadamia-nut cookies on the island counter. Sneaking a glance at her mother who had her back turned, she quickly picked up a warm cookie to her mouth.

“It’s such a pity…” her mother lamented, glaring at her daughter now stuffing her mouth with the cookie. Rolling her eyes at her daughter’s smile, she continued her pacing. “To get pregnant out of wedlock… God forbid.” She clucked her tongue piteously.

Slowing her chewing, Keziah watched her mother pause to lean against the counter, all the while wondering who had earned her mother’s disappointment and distaste. The sweet aroma of the cookies pulled her from her mother’s concern and with a pleased grin, she reached for another cookie.

Keziah’s eyes snapped open and she stared at the shadowed tiles of the ceiling, lying immobile in her bed. Her mother’s disappointed expression from a distant memory now faced her, plagued her with every waking moment. No longer was it just some pitiful youth that had lost her way, but her own daughter. There was no way her mother could hold her head up high now. And it was all her fault.

Blinking back the tears that threatened to spill down her cheeks, Keziah shifted slowly to her side and stared listlessly at the wall. Pregnant out of wedlock. The words poked at her bruised heart, cloaked her until she couldn’t breathe easy.

Keziah stiffened as something shifted in the shadows and she squeezed her eyes shut, gripping the blanket that she tossed in her fitful sleep. Her lips strained to speak, to utter something but no words came.

Jay jerked awake and stared at the darkness, his body quaking. He released a haggard breath and bent forward, holding his head in his hands. Shaken visibly from his dream, Jay closed his eyes and muttered a soft prayer for the tremors to cease. It’d been a while since he’d had that dream and it only came on him when he was unsettled, dissatisfied.

Shaking off the quaking, Jay kicked off the covers and stood to his feet. Rubbing his face to clear off the sleep, he ambled to the desk by his window and turned on the lamp. The light flooded the room and his eyes fell on the Bible tucked on the shelf. Tugging it from its nook, Jay flipped open the pages and leaned back against his chair to read.

Somehow, he’d thought reading the Bible through the night would help his insomnia. Something about reading through Numbers always had a way of lulling him to a deep sleep. Not this time. Instead, he begrudgingly put the Bible on the pillow beside him and stared at the ceiling. The guilt of his nightmare gnawing at his conscience till the first bird’s tweeting at his windows.

He lay in bed, still staring at the ceiling through bleary eyes, listening to his parents moving around across the hall. The pipes creaked as they got ready for the day, his father’s deep voice mixing with his mother’s. Jayson groaned as he heard footsteps approaching, knowing it had to be his mother. A soft but firm knock to which he didn’t bother to answer, grateful that he’d locked the door before she had a chance to check to see if he was awake.

When he didn’t answer, Jayson heard her sigh and her footsteps retreated back down the hall. He didn’t have to hear to know what they were saying. Another day and still no job prospects. After he’d mentioned to his parents that he was taking a few weeks off from the bank, he noticed the disappointment on his father’s face and the anxiety in his mother’s eyes. He didn’t bother telling them about Isaac’s suggestion to work pro bono at the church, knowing they’d balk. Especially his father who visibly struggled over the fact that Jayson was unemployed.

Grimacing, Jayson dragged his hand over his face and turned in bed, covering his face with the pillow. In the back of his mind, he pleaded with whatever power could make him fall asleep since counting sheep failed at a half past three. His eyes stung and he scowled, squeezing his eyes tight to keep the tears from falling. He turned violently to face the empty pillow by his side, glaring at the black leather Bible.

His jaw clenched tight, holding back the rant that filled his throat. Self-pity was not an option for his condition and he refused to succumb to crying. Even if he had to rescind to Isaac and work for free, it was better than working in the bank, though a far cry from his calling as a pastor.

A thought struck him then, niggling at the back of his mind, mocking him. Jayson stiffened in his bed. What if God hadn’t called him after all? What if getting through years of seminary school was just to assuage the guilt he’d been running from all these years? What if God wanted him to work as an accountant and he’d been too stubborn to hear Him after all?

Jayson’s eyes stayed on the leather binding of the Bible, his heart so thumping hard against his chest that he could hear it through the mattress. His hands twitched to reach for the Bible, to flip through the pages and find a scripture verse that would convince him otherwise. There had to be a reason why this wandering thought crossed his mind. It wasn’t outlandish to think he’d missed his way. After all, he’d been so foolish in his adolescent years till the last semester as a senior in college.

Seminary school had not been easy, classes were tougher for him than most as he tried to grasp the essence of God and his Word. He’d struggled through each semester, fighting through the self-doubt that he was capable of doing it. Each time though, without fail, there was always someone to encourage him through God’s Word and the self-doubt disappeared. Until now. All his school friends were either working in different cities or battling in the mission field. His heart thumped a bit, realizing he was the only one with nothing to show for those grueling years in school.

“God…” he whispered in the suffocating silence. Jayson clenched his teeth, drawing his fingers into his palms as the wave of fear swept over him, self-inadequacy seizing him.

The dull sound of his phone vibrating against the bedside table jarred him back to the present. Jayson blinked against the tears that blurred his vision and blindly reached for the phone. It vibrated incessantly against his palm as he brought it before him. His sister’s caller ID flashed on the screen. Although there was no sound, Jayson knew what song belonged to her call.

After a college Bible retreat, his older sister sang Kathy Troccoli’s “My Life is in Your Hands” until his father begged her to pipe down. It tickled Jayson that Wilma could make their father scowl and linked the song to her phone number, more to annoy her than to amuse him. This time, the song only mocked his dwindling confidence and he hesitated.

On the third ring, Jayson reluctantly accepted the call and lifted the phone to his ear, only to pull it back at the shrieking cry on the other end. The hair in the back of his neck stood and Jayson sat up immediately. “Wilma? What’s going on?” He demanded over the sound of his wailing niece in the background.

Wilma clucked her tongue. “I need your help,” she said, interrupting the baby’s screaming with shushing. “Are you awake?”

Jayson frowned at the clock by his bed. It was only six in the morning. He pulled his legs to the side of the bed. “I am now. What’s going on?”

  

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