Posts tagged “sickness

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 12

Posted on 19/03/2015

hallway

Topher pinched the bridge of his nose, reluctant to step inside the room and find Nadine laying in the hospital bed. Blinking back tears, he chose instead to pace the empty hallway.

They were running out of time, he already knew that. But hearing it from the doctor was a pill too hard to swallow. Nadine was far too sassy and headstrong to be sick.

But that dreaded four-letter word haunted him, drawing the thought of his aging Nadine back to the front of his mind and Topher clenched his jaw against the prognosis. C.O.P.D.

The word suffocated what little hope he had for a future planned with Nadine in mind. Someday, he’d hoped to finally get married and give Nadine the grandchildren she pestered him for all these years. Then she gotten sick without little warning.

He wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming sense of fear that paralyzed him and snuffed out his hope. Nadine was the only family he had and Topher was desperate to keep her with him for as long as he could.

He never would’ve believed that his invincible aunt could ever get sick. She never took days off from the factory, working endless hours to provide for her only kin. She was intolerable to self-pity, forbidding Topher from feeling shame or sadness for their station in life.

With Nadine as his ever present source of strength, Topher put his whole heart into studying hard just so he could make a better life for Nadine. To think that all that couldn’t prevent her falling sick angered him.

Now if he could only hope that Nadine’s condition wouldn’t evolve into emphysema or severe chronic bronchitis.

Topher gritted his teeth at the terrifying image of Nadine gasping for air, her caramel eyes wide with fear. Trepidation snaked around him, a cold sensation resting on his shoulders.

Just then, the door to Nadine’s room slid open and the grave-faced doctor stepped out. Topher hurried to meet him. “How is she?”

The doctor eyed him warily. “She’s stable and resting. We’ll take her to the cardiology department for some tests in the morning. For now, we’ll keep her comfortable.”

“Thank you,” Topher replied, his shoulders drooping in relief. And as the doctor walked away, Topher turned to the open door.

The droning sounds of the EKG machine interrupted by sharp gasps of a ventilator pulled his attention to the hospital bed. His gut clenched at the sight of tubes snaked around Nadine’s fragile body. Breathing out a withering sigh, Topher stepped into the room and slowly closed the door behind him.

Samina eyed Karen warily as she picked up yet another silk blouse and folded the sleeves. “I don’t see why you’re getting worked up over this… It’s my life, not yours.” She placed the blouse inside a laundry basket stacked with folded of clothes.

“And I don’t see why you’re not.” Karen snorted, tossing a pair of jeans into another laundry basket. She frowned at Samina’s placid expression. “Be honest, you’re not insulted by the offer?”

Samina frowned down at the basket. “How odd.”

“What is?”

“I could’ve sworn I bought Tide yesterday.”

Karen slapped her hands on her thighs in annoyance. “Are you even listening to me?”

“I’m trying not to.” Samina ducked with a smile as Karen hurled a shirt at her. “Actually, I’m strangely flattered that Aunty Sheena trusts me to take care of her granddaughters.”

Karen scoffed, arms folded over her chest. “Need I remind you that these are also his children?”

Samina’s smile waned.

“See? You can’t do this.”

Samina eyed Karen’s scowl. “Why are you so mad about this?”

“Because you don’t have the sense to be. Samina, the mere idea of it is insulting.”

“But why are you insulted? I’m the one doing it and I think it’s fine.”

Karen shook her head, incredulous. “So you somehow developed amnesia after all these years huh? Samina, you loved this guy since high school. You were devastated for months when he got married. You practically locked your heart away and were miserable for years.”

Samina’s brow furrowed. “Thanks for the reminder.”

“You’re welcome. And now you’re going babysit kids he had with his dead wife!” Karen scowled at Samina’s silence. “Don’t tell me you didn’t even consider this before.”

Samina lowered her gaze.

“Samina!”

She sighed heavily, wringing the shirt in her hands.

“Sis…” Karen started, her tone beseeching. “You have to move on from this guy. Enough pretending that you’re okay with all this. It hurts me to see you in pain…” Her fingers curled into fists. “I despise him for even suggesting you’d do it.”

Samina lifted her head. “Enough, Karen. It wasn’t him who asked me.” Her eyes welled with tears and she looked away, blinking rapidly.

“I know, Sam, but–” the sound of the front door opening interrupted Karen’s words.

Both girls glanced up just as Ada sauntered in, lugging two large gift bags. “Oh there you are,” she said, walking over to the laundry corner.

Karen grabbed a shirt from the pile. “Whose bright idea was it to give her the spare key?”

Samina managed an apologetic grin and turned to Ada. “What’s up?”

“Great, I came on laundry day.” Ada wrinkled her nose at the pile of clothes and propped the gift bags against the wall. “Did you guys forget I was coming?”

“Not everything is about you, Ada,” Karen drawled, dropping the folded garment in the basket.

Ada rolled her eyes and turned to Samina. “I called you a billion times today. Where’s your phone?”

Samina shrugged. “Probably in the room. What’s going on?”

Karen heaved a sigh. “I’m attempting to discourage her from accepting Ezekiel’s proposal.”

Ada gasped, holding a hand over her mouth. “Ezekiel proposed?!”

The two sisters eyed her in silence and Karen shook her head in disgust. “I really wonder what’s in that head of yours…”

Ada pouted, folding her arms. “Well, you shouldn’t use the word propose around a woman getting married.” She turned to Samina, brows raised. “Are we still going on about this home-schooling gig?”

Karen’s jaw dropped. “Home school–that was your idea? Why am I not surprised? Of all the dumbest, foolish ideas–”

“That’s enough, Karen,” Samina cut her sister’s words off.

Karen was too disturbed to sit still and stay quiet. She scowled at Ada. “So you conveniently forgot all those years Samina suffered because of him. How could you encourage her to walk into a den of lions? Are you insane?”

Ada’s face fell, chagrined. “Gosh, I didn’t think of it that way.” She then turned to Samina with a rueful expression. “Maybe you shouldn’t do it.”

Samina scowled. “Not you too.”

Ada bit her bottom lip. “With all that happened between you two, it’d be awkward. I’m sorry I failed to realize that. Your feelings come first.”

“I’m not a child.” Samina squinted at the two of them. “I’m getting over those feelings so I don’t see what the problem is. We already agreed it would hold me off until I get a real job.”

“You’re getting over those feelings. You’re clearly not over them yet.” Karen shook her head. “I’m against this completely.”

Ada nodded in agreement. “If you are really trying to forget him, seeing those girls won’t make it any easier.”

Samina merely pursed her lips and averted her gaze.

“You only will get attached to them and just like with Ezekiel, it’ll be just as devastating letting go.”

Both Karen and Ada quietly watched for Samina’s response. For many years, Samina adamantly defended about her feelings for Ezekiel even though he didn’t deserve it. They held their breath as she then lifted her eyes drowning in tears.

“Sammie…” Karen whispered, moving to her sister’s side. Ada inched closer.

Samina sniffed at the tears falling down her cheeks. “I don’t know what to do.”

Sitting alone in his office shrouded with darkness, Ezekiel stared listlessly at the screen on his phone. It was almost 10:00 pm in Houston and he found himself wondering if his daughters missed him as much as he missed them.

An image of Samina’s shy smile drifted to his mind and he sat up. Ezekiel leaned back in his seat and draped a hand over his eyes. “Feelings for Samina…” he muttered, his jumbled thoughts leaving him confused.

He was still reeling from James’ candid and colorful account of Samina’s crush on him. Ezekiel shook his head in disbelief. How could he have never noticed any of that?

Ezekiel’s lips twitched, reminiscing their childhood together. Although he was eight years older and well into middle school, he spent his summer holidays with Samina and her siblings. Back then, he’d grudgingly accepted her teatime and playing house requests. His smile widened at the memories of playing house; he the stern father and Samina the doting mother to her siblings, Karen and Obadiah.

As his body warmed and tingled with nostalgia, Ezekiel suddenly sat up in his chair. The memories faded as the vision of Samina in white appeared before him. He could almost touch her, the image was so vivid.

“Zeke, you’re crazy.” He squeezed his eyes, chasing away the apparition of Samina.

<<Chapter 11 || Chapter 13>>

Samina’s Chance: Chapter 5

Posted on 26/02/2015

street2

Samina fought against the nagging feeling that she’d forgotten something as she pulled into the dimly-lit parking lot of the Westside Tennis & Fitness club. With a wary stare at the two-story building with its signature green roof, Samina heaved a sigh and pulled out her tennis shoes from the back of her chair. Kicking off her sandals, she wiggled her feet into half socks before shoving them into the shoes.

As avid tennis players, both Ada and Jaxson frequented the tennis club weekly, often asking that Samina join them for friendly matches. It was a way for them to catch up, unwind after a stressful day. Today, it was a chance to meet Jaxson’s best friend and the best man, Topher Chance.

Rolling her eyes, Samina ducked out of the car and strode up to the clubhouse.

Ever since their first semester in college, Ada made it a personal goal to get Samina into a serious relationship, introducing her to every single guy she met or knew briefly.

“You deserve to be with someone who will cherish you as much as I do,” Ada whined, squeezing her in a bear hug. “Stop pining for a guy who’ll never come around. It’s time to give others a chance to set your heart on fire.”

Samina shook her head as she slung her tennis bag over her shoulder and stepped inside. Minutes later, she stood with her hands at her hips, watching as Ada and Jaxson engaged in verbal combat.

Ada glared up at her 5’11” fiancé, arms akimbo. “What do you mean he changed his mind?” she demanded, a scowl marring her features.

Chagrined, Jaxson glanced once at Samina before looking back to Ada. “Emergency, he said… with his aunt.”

The violent knot in Ada’s brow instantly loosened, concern replacing the annoyance. “Is she okay?”

He nodded with a sigh. “She’s fine now. Resting.” He turned to Samina, an apologetic smile making him look more boyish than usual. “Sorry about this, Sammie. We really hoped Topher would join us.”

With a sigh, Ada pulled back her hair into a ponytail and strolled to the other side of the tennis court.

Samina raised a brow at Ada’s stiff posture, a sign that her best friend resented her plans being changed. She turned back to Jaxson with a wan smile. “I’ve already met him once. At your graduation.”

She remembered clearly having to drive that grueling journey from Houston to Philadelphia. Recalled the tall, imposing form of a man named Topher Chance, Jaxson’s best friend for many years. He wore a goofy expression that only grated her nerves after a long drive. And when he swung his striking gray-green eyes at her and grinned, she hadn’t smiled back.

Samina swung her gaze over to Jaxson staring at her quizzically. “Hmm?”

The corner of his lips quirked up. “Still in for a match? You and Ada against me?”

Ada scoffed in laughter from the other side of the court. “Get ready to lose, Dumas.”

“Ladies first,” Jaxson tossed back with a wicked grin as he poised to start the game.

Samina smirked and jogged over to Ada’s side just as her friend set the ball.

Hands in the pockets of his shorts, Topher peered down at the lit streets of Downtown Houston. The muffled sounds of bleating horns lulled him into a peaceful calm, and his eyes scanned the skyscrapers jabbing the starless sky blanketed over the city.

“Get a humidifier as soon as you can,” the doctor had instructed gravely, scanning Nadine’s medical history file. His brow wrinkled with concern. “It will do good to keep her stable and comfortable while we run some tests.”

Topher rubbed the back of his neck, working through the taut cords of muscle stiffened from the ordeal with Nadine’s attack early evening. A cold shiver ran down his spine as he recalled stumbling in through the door when he heard a crash in the bathroom.

Nadine’s slender frame was curled in a fetal position, a pool of spilled perfume and pieces of broken glass precariously too close to her head. She was supposed to get ready for lunch downtown with him and now he berated himself for not just ordering room service instead.

Breathing out a sigh, Topher moved his head from side to side to loosen the tightness.

“You’re late,” Nadine’s raspy voice penetrated the silence, punctuated by the intermittent hiss of the humidifier.

Topher turned to see Nadine propped up in bed, her tired caramel eyes riveted to his. He managed a smile and walked over to the side of her bed. “You okay?” he asked softly, perching on the mattress and reached for her hand, cold and frail against his own.

Her probing eyes scanned his face, her brow furrowing. “You’re late,” she repeated pointedly.

He lowered his gaze to their joined hands. “Don’t worry, I rescheduled. There’ll be other days.”

With a frown, Nadine started to scoff but as the sound caught in her throat, Topher quickly grabbed the glass of water on the bedside table.

Dipping her head submissively to sip the warm water, Nadine then settled back on the pillow. Her eyes returned to his. “Can you go again?”

Topher frowned at the hoarseness of her voice. “You should rest your voice.” His thumb traced the bones on the back of her hand. “And yes, I can. Don’t worry and get some sleep.” He lifted their hands, planting a kiss on the back of hers. “I’ll be right here.”

Nadine tried to stay awake for as long as she could until her eyelids drooped. Her body slackened against the pillow and soon her face relaxed into a peaceful sleep.

He swallowed hard, watching her chest rise and fall, her breathing hoarse and labored even in sleep. Topher glanced once at the humidifier, the intermittent puffs of mist keeping his mind busy all through the night.

<<Chapter 4 || Chapter 6>>

  

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