Posts tagged “encouragement

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 22

Posted on 15/04/2015


It was like a scene of a melodrama series; the heroine clad in a thin hospital gown that engulfed her frail body, lying down on the pallet of a MRI machine.

Except this wasn’t a melodrama and Samina was no heroine.

The cool air brushed her skin, goosebumps dotting her forearms. Samina felt the tremors run along her spine and slowly released a breath to calm herself.

“Stay as still as possible, Samina,” the doctor instructed over the intercom, his gravelly voice filling the silence of the examination room. “Close your eyes and try to relax.”

Even though she couldn’t move her head, Samina knew Dr. Felicia Halliday accompanied the aged neurologist and was oddly comforted by her presence.

As the engine hummed as the pallet eased into the cove of the MRI machine, she resisted the urge to curl in her fingers.

Later on, as she fixed the last button of her blouse, a knock interrupted the silence.

“Come in,” Samina said softly, lowering her hands to her lap just as the door opened.

Felicia Halliday stuck her head in and gave Samina a gentle smile. Then she stepped inside, this time without her coat. “How’re you feeling?”

Samina scanned her doctor’s inscrutable face. Fear gripped her throat and she worried the hem of her blouse. “Am I… okay?” she strangled out.

A line appeared on Dr. Halliday’s brow and her light-brown eyes assessed Samina’s face before replying. “We thought it’d be better if I relay the news, Samina…”

Samina held her breath, dreading the news.

“It is a tumor in the pituitary gland.” Felicia’s face softened as Samina inhaled sharply. She moved to Samina’s side and placed a hand on her sagging shoulder.

Though she’d researched the slim chance of a misdiagnosis, Samina felt the wind knocked out of her. She’d desperately prayed to be part of the 0.0001% who was misdiagnosed.

Eyes blurred with tears, recalling the words that sounded like a death sentence.

“We will have to operate,” Felicia’s words sounded like muffled echoes in her ears.

“When?” Samina felt the tears fall, heart gripped with anguish. It seemed foolish to hope that a surgery could change the cruel turn her life had taken, but she still hoped against the overwhelming despair.

Felicia gripped her shoulder. “As soon as possible.” The firm confidence in her tone pulled Samina’s gaze to her face. “You’ll beat this, Samina. With God’s help.”

Samina felt her throat tighten. God’s help?

At Samina’s silence, Felicia sighed. “We can schedule the surgery for next week. The sooner the better.”

Samina bobbed her head. If there was any likelihood of beating this, she had to take the chance.

“You’ll need to bring someone with you. A guardian.”

Her eyes widened in shock, her breath caught in her throat. She couldn’t imagine telling her parents or siblings about this, when she barely believed it herself. “B-but I’m thirty years old,” she strangled out.

Felicia’s expression softened in sympathy. “It’s part of surgical protocol, Samina. You’ll need someone to be with you after the surgery.”

Sheena fidgeted in her spot on the sofa, her gaze occasionally traveling to the clock propped on the end table as she wondered what could possibly be delaying the ever-prompt Samina. Her brow furrowed at the sound of thumping footsteps upstairs.

“Girls!” she bellowed in the empty parlor. “Less noise, please.”

As their footsteps halted, the doorbell sounded.

Sheena hurried to the door and pulled it open.  “Thought you’d cancel—” she paused at Samina’s drawn expression. “Honey, what’s the matter?”

Samina merely gave her a shaky smile. “Nothing…” she clutched the purse in her hands.

Though unconvinced, Sheena ushered Samina in.  “I hope I didn’t pull you away from anything important.”

Samina shook her head and turned to face Sheena. “It’s alright.” She followed Sheena to the couch, perching on its edge as if it was the first time she’d visited the house.

Sheena promptly reached for Samina’s hands. “I know I’ve said this before but I pray that God blesses you for sacrificing your time for us.”

Again, Samina only smiled that trembling smile and Sheena noticed a glimmer in her eyes.

“Honey, is—”

The girls’ loud stomping upstairs and Sheena huffed a breath. “Those two are so awake this morning. I should’ve known Zeke’s famous French toast would cause me more harm than good.”

Samina merely looked down at their joined hands.

Sheena raised a brow. “You sure you’re alright? You look exceptionally dull this morning.”

The only response was a jerky nod.

“This is no good.” Sheena scooted closer, coaxing Samina to look up. “What’s the matter? Your mom giving you a hard time again?”

Samina shook her head. “I-I’m…” she inhaled sharply and lowered her head.

“Oh dear.” Sheena heard the strangled sob and scooted even closer, wrapping one arm around Samina’s shoulders. Her chest tightened as Samina leaned into her, muffled sobs underneath her hand. Confused and worried of the cause for Samina’s distress, Sheena could only rub her back and whisper soft comforting words.

All too quickly, Samina’s sobs halted and she tried pulling away from Sheena’s embrace.

“Not so fast,” Sheena berated her softly and tightened her hold.  Her heart ached with guilt as Samina released a shuddering breath. “I’ve been a very selfish woman. In fact, I was irresponsible for pushing this on you.”


Sheena shushed her. “You already have a lot on your plate. I know how stressful job hunting can be. And don’t even dare try lying to me, young lady. You’re a terrible liar, ever since elementary school. Remember all those times I caught you lying to protect Zeke?”

Samina sighed.

“Honestly… You two were quite a pair.”

Samina’s body tensed against Sheena.

“Always getting into trouble because of one another,” Sheena continued with a wistful tone. She often wondered when Ezekiel would make her a happy mother and pick Samina. Though Ezekiel’s marriage to Winsome produced her darling Beulah and Adelaide, she still wished for Samina to be part of her family, finally…

“Aunty,” Samina began hesitantly. “Will you be going back soon?”

Sheena managed a smile. “Yes, soon. I plan to return within the week.” Her eyes scanned Samina’s wary expression. “Don’t worry about staying with the girls. With Zeke here, they’ll be fine.”

Samina’s brow furrowed. “I don’t mind being with them.”

Sheena squeezed Samina’s hand. “Of course you don’t, sweetheart. But let me take care of everything now.” She caught the glimmer of tears in Samina’s eyes. “Now tell me. What’s going on with you?”

Again Samina ducked her head. Except this time, she released a shuddering breath before speaking. “Life… it’s just a little too hard right now.”

Her jaded response sent shivers down Sheena’s spine. “Is… it the job?”

Samina shook her head, a wry smirk lifting the side of her mouth. “Besides that… it’s like everything’s going wrong. With Ada’s impossible attitude and…” she sucked in a breath, releasing it slowly.

Relief surged through Sheena’s body. She chuckled softly. “I see.”

With Samina peeking up at her with those watery eyes, Sheena squeezed her hand. “She just has a bad case of nuptial anxiety. Happens to any bride, and one day, dearest one, you’ll understand what she’s going through.”

Something akin to disappointment flickered in Samina’s eyes and Sheena pulled her closer. “It will be your turn soon enough. I’m sure of that.” She patted Samina’s back, feeling every bone against her palm.

“Aunty…” Samina protested in a weak voice.

“Shush.” Sheena kissed Samina’s temple. “I dream of the day when you’ll walk down the aisle dressed in white and meet the man of your dreams in front of the altar.” Sheena smiled while picturing the man she hoped would stand waiting for Samina. “What a wonderful day that will be.”

To this, Samina only sighed against Sheena’s shoulder.

Sheena patted her back and held her at arms’ length. “Now put that smile back on and let’s get some food in you. You’re too skinny for my liking.” She released Samina and moved to stand.

When Samina remained seated, Sheena chuckled and grabbed Samina’s hand, tugging on it to help her stand. “You’ll be right as rain once I feed you my special porridge. Come on now.”

She pulled Samina to her side and draped her arm over her shoulder. “No more crying, okay?” She smiled when Samina managed a nod and led her to the kitchen. “Now, tell me more about the wedding plans. Maybe I can help.”

<<Chapter 21 || Chapter 23>>

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 13

Posted on 23/03/2015


“Dear Samina,” she read aloud, her sister looking over her shoulder. “Thank you for your interest in our art program. “While we were impressed by your diverse background and experience, we have decided that another candidate’s qualifications…” Releasing her pent-up breath, Samina shut the laptop and pressed a hand to her forehead.

“Eesh, they couldn’t even give you an interview?” Karen shook her head. “That’s messed up.”

Samina sniffed back frustrated tears. “I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Like the other ten jobs.”

“Don’t lose heart, Sammie.” Karen squeezed Samina’s shoulder. “The right job is out there waiting for you.”

Samina merely slid off the counter stool and rolled her shoulders. “It’s whatever. I’m done applying for jobs. This isn’t funny anymore.” With a heavy sigh, she trudged to her bedroom, intent on sleeping the day away.

“What about that nonprofit place we passed on the way to church?” Karen followed her to the room.

“What nonprofit place?” Samina mumbled, climbing into bed. She pulled the thick blanket over her head and settled into the warmth.

Karen took the seat by her bed. “The House of Hope. They might be hiring.”

The covers muffled Samina’s groan. “You better not say that in front of Mom.”

“Who cares if it’s a volunteer job? It’s a lot better than babysitting…” She trailed off and sighed at Samina’s covered form. “And why are you going to bed already? We’re supposed to go to Pilates class. Remember?”

“Not tonight. Sorry,” Samina mumbled, shifting in bed. “I have a woman’s exam tomorrow and I need my rest.” To mention that sleep was the only way to escape the present feeling of despair would only cause Karen to worry. “Karen…”

Samina’s cellphone on the desk flashed a blue light. Karen squinted at the screen.

“Hmm?” Karen mumbled as she eyed the screen, her brow knotted in a frown. There was a new text from Ezekiel Dames. Glancing once at Samina’s covered face, Karen carefully plucked the phone from the desk. “What is it?” she gently lifted the flip screen.

“Do you think I might be depressed?”

Karen raised a brow, hesitating as her conscience yelled at her to drop the phone. Whatever message Samina received was none of her business.

“Karen?” The blanket shifted.

Karen quickly lowered the phone to her lap. “Why… would you be depressed?” Certain that Samina intended to remain hidden under the covers, she opened Ezekiel’s text.

“Sam… Thought about you. Hope you’re doing well. Take care. Zeke.” 

Karen’s lips pursed, her face hardening.

“I don’t know…” Samina heaved a sigh, shifting in bed. “I just feel so useless and sad.”

At the despair in Samina’s tone, Karen rested the phone on her lap. “You’re just going through a time of uncertainty, that’s all. It’s only natural to feel sad about it.”

Samina snorted. “If only Mom will understand that.”

Karen rolled her eyes. “You know how she gets. Stop stressing over her. Eventually, she’ll realize her mistake and know that you’re trying your best.”

“Maybe… maybe not.”

Returning to the phone, Karen pressed the center button until a dialog box popped on the screen with the prompting to delete the text. Biting the inside of her cheek, she pressed the button to confirm the action and watched as the message disappeared from Samina’s phone.

“I’m just so tired all the time. It’s annoying.”

Karen lifted her eyes to Samina’s form and managed a smile. Placing the phone back on the desk, she scooted to the edge of the chair. “Don’t worry, Sammie. Everything will be fine.” With an impish grin, Karen leaned into Samina’s body and wrapped her arms around her sister.

“Hey!” Samina protested as Karen imprisoned her under the covers.

Karen snuggled against her sister’s body. “I love you, Sissi.”

Samina sighed. “I love you too…” She nudged at Karen’s cheek. “Can you let go of me now? I can’t breathe.” The two girls giggled as Karen only snuggled closer.

“How are the girls?” Ezekiel asked his father. “Are they still awake?”

“Wide awake,” Jeremiah replied. “Up making double chocolate cookies with your mom.”

“Yummy.” Ezekiel smiled warmly. “I’m jealous.”

“Well, if you’d come down soon…” his father chuckled.

Ezekiel scanned the empty living room and sighed. “I’m going as fast as I can.”

“I know you are,” Jeremiah said gently. “They miss you. We miss you.”

“Me too, Dad,” Ezekiel replied softly, eyeing one of Beulah’s Barbie doll peeking out from one of the marked boxes.

“Daddy?!” Beulah’s voice broke through the silence. Jeremiah chuckled in the background as his youngest granddaughter took over the phone. “Daddy!” she squealed into the mouthpiece

Ezekiel winced momentarily before grinning. “Pumpkin. How are you?”

“Daddy, when are you coming back?”

He could picture her adorable pout and smiled wider. “When do you want me to come?”

“Now!” his daughter demanded, Jeremiah chuckling in the background.

“Aw Pumpkin, it’s almost your bedtime.” Ezekiel said with a pout of his own. “If I leave now, I’ll be too late to kiss you goodnight.”

“Aww!” Beulah whined.

“Don’t worry,” Jeremiah coddled her gently. “Your daddy will come with lots of gifts for you and Sissi.”

Ezekiel grimaced as Beulah inhaled sharply.

“Really?!” Beulah shrieked. “Sissi! Guess what?” her voice faded into the distance as she relayed the good news to her older sister.

“Dad… was that necessary?”

Unrepentant, Jeremiah chuckled low. “I’ll do anything to get you down here.”

“I’m trying, Dad… Anyway, how’s Laide?” He pictured the wrinkle furrowing his oldest daughter’s smooth brow. She wasn’t as vocal as Beulah but he knew she didn’t care for him being away.

“Hey Dad,” Laide’s monotonous tone replied.

Ezekiel grinned, picturing her heavy-lidded eyes. “Hey sweetheart. Too busy to talk to your old man?”

Laide sighed in exasperation. “Gramma is making us do school work. In the summer.”

Ezekiel chuckled at her emphasis. “Don’t feel too bad. She used to do that to me also.” He glanced down at the clock, knowing their bedtime was in a few minutes. “How is the week going?”

“Enh,” Laide replied, noncommittal.

He wanted then only to reach into the phone to embrace her. Even with her moody, temperamental personality, Laide was as adorable as spirited Beulah.

“We have to get a babysitter this week.”

Ezekiel blinked, his brow furrowing. He thought they’d cleared the matter up already. “Why?”

“Gramma and Gramps have to go out of town next weekend—”

“Uh, Laide,” Jeremiah interrupted. “Let me talk to your dad.”

Ezekiel frowned deeper. “Dad?”

“Yeah, I didn’t think she’d hear that.” Jeremiah sounded too contrite.

“She has a pesky habit of eavesdropping.” Ezekiel sat up. “Where are you two going?”

Jeremiah heaved a sigh. “Aunt Neve. She’s been in the hospice since last Tuesday. Acute Liver failure.”

Ezekiel frowned as he thought of his father’s great-aunt. “Dad, I’m sorry.”

“The doctor said she doesn’t have much time left.”

A wave of sadness washed over him. “Oh man…”

Jeremiah grunted. “We have no choice but to go to her now…”

“Dad, it’s okay.” Ezekiel didn’t like the sound of his father’s wavering tone as if he was holding back tears. He’d never seen his father cry. “Look, I can come. I’ll bring my work for the week—”

“Don’t do that,” Jeremiah cut him off in a tone that brooked no argument. “We took the responsibility of taking care of the girls. Just focus on getting here when the house is sold and everything’s settled.”

Ezekiel bit his bottom lip, already making plans in his head. Even if he had to give James more responsibilities while taking an extended vacation, he just couldn’t allow his parents be any more stressed.

“Don’t stress it, Zeke. The girls are in good hands.” Jeremiah mumbled his weary goodnight and disconnected the call.

Lowering the phone to the glass coffee table, Ezekiel released a shaky breath, his shoulders sagging under the weight of added stress and anxiety.

<<Chapter 12 || Chapter 14>>

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