The Seed of Hardship - Chapter 1
This is a story I've been working on, aside from my others, for quite some time. I finally gave up on it a few years ago but I can't seem to let it go. It's incomplete and needs a lot of fixtures so, it will be nice to have some feedback along the way. I guess that's why I decided to post on HP. I don't want to publish this story into a book but I will like to share it.
Like Thespian Lane, this story is about family issues. The parents of the Reid family cannot seem to agree on anything except that they can no longer stand each other. But through their hardship, they have to face a surprise circumstance, and even more surprisingly, the effects it has on the family.
Eight-year-old Daniel was sitting at the kitchen table watching the television on the counter perpendicular to the table. Kezia was in her highchair chewing on a red water-filled teething ring. Their mother Kristel stood at the stove flipping pancakes on an iron griddle while her eldest, 12-year-old Hazel, unloaded dishes from the dishwasher.
“Daniel, Hazel, are your things packed for rehearsal?” Kristel asked her children.
“Yes,” they both responded. The older siblings had a keen resemblance to each other. Daniel had medium brown skin, dark eyes, a dimpled chin and a cute Nubian nose. Hazel had similar features apart from her hazel coloured eyes - her namesake. She often wore her long hair in two braids, giving her the nickname 'Pocahontas' among her friends, which was appropriate considering her Native American ancestry.
Their mother was of a much fairer complexion with a straight nose and light brown eyes. Her wavy jet black hair reached the nape of her neck and was often difficult to get into the smallest of ponytails.
Hazel matched her mother’s five feet and six inch stature but Kristel only wished to regain the former slenderness that her daughter had inherited. Each of Kristel’s children added more definition to her hips, leaving her with a curvy physique and a stomach not as flat as she desired. Despite the claims that her friends made about her ‘still being a sexy mama’, Kristel maintained a strict diet and exercise regimen and was always close to obsessing about her weight.
Kristel’s youngest, 10-month-old Kezia had her mother’s fair complexion and hair texture. Due to the eczema that left scaly patches on parts of the child’s body, her cheeks often had a rosy appearance. While the rosiness was the result of her skin condition, it did add an extra touch of cuteness to the infant’s appearance.
As Kristel flipped the final golden-brown pancake onto a plate beside the stove, she heard a tenor voice cheerfully sing, “Good morning family!” Everyone looked in the direction of the voice as a medium height, well-built man waltzed theatrically into the kitchen. His comedic display provoked amused giggles from Daniel and Kezia.
Even Hazel couldn’t resist laughing at her father. Kristel rolled her eyes and tossed the spatula into the sink. The father kissed baby Kezia on the cheek, ruffled his son’s hair and danced his way to the kitchen sink where Hazel dodged his customary tickle attack. Her father swatted at the air in an attempt to catch Hazel but she dove underneath his outstretched hands and ran to the table.
Matthew Reid grinned; proud of his eldest daughter’s smooth escape from his tickle attack. He proceeded to scoop his wife up into a ballroom dance position but she also slipped out of his grip and stepped away from him.
“Ouch,” said Matthew, acknowledging Kristel’s cold shoulder as she turned away from him. “Kris, didn’t I tell you not to worry about breakfast?” he asked. “I told you I will do it. Give yourself a break.”
“Matthew, the kids have to be in Church for rehearsal by ten A.M. Right now, it’s nine. We have to leave the house at nine-thirty in order to get there on time,” Kristel explained. “You know that.”
“Then why didn’t you wake me up?” Matthew asked.
“I did. You told me you will be up in a few minutes.”
“And here I am,” Matthew presented, opening his arms wide as if he were about to hug her.
“Yeah, after two hours. We would be later than we already are if I’d waited for you.”
The telephone rang. Kristel gently pushed Matthew out of the way and walked over to the wireless phone mounted on the wall. She hastily picked up the receiver and held it to her ear. “Hello?” As Kristel listened to the voice on the other line, her eyebrows slowly lowered. She glared sideways at Matthew then she said, “Okay, one moment.”
After pressing the mute button on the phone, Kristel looked at Matthew and said, “It’s someone from your job.” She continued looking at him with lowered eyebrows.
“Jeff?” Matthew asked, the hesitance clear in his tone of voice. Kristel nodded. “Tell him I’ll get back to him another time,” Matthew instructed. Kristel sighed sharply and pressed the mute button on the phone again. Continuing to glance suspiciously at Matthew, she held the phone to her ears again and passed on Matthew’s message to the caller.
To avoid looking at his wife, Matthew walked towards the fridge and pulled the door open. Kristel hung up the phone and put her hands on her hips. “Do I want to know?” she quietly asked her husband.
“Baby, I’m working hard to pay him off. Don’t worry,” Matthew assured.
“So why isn’t it evident?” Kristel whined.
“I promise I’ll work things out,” he said, giving her a little peck on the cheek.
Kristel just ignored him. “You guys have all your stuff packed for rehearsal, right?” she asked her children.
“Yup,” Hazel and Daniel responded.
“Okay,” said Kristel. “You’ll have to eat in the car because we’re running a little late,” she told them as she covered the plate of pancakes with a paper towel. She looked at Matthew and said, “I have my workout session at the gym today. I can trust you not to forget to pick up the kids, right?”
Matthew smiled at her and said, “Of course you can trust me.”
“Alright, Matthew,” said Kristel, picking up a bottle of maple syrup from the table. She bent to kiss Kezia’s forehead. “Be good, okay, Kezi?” she told her.
“Remember we have to pick Stephanie up, mom,” said Hazel as she took two bottles of Nestle chocolate milk out of the fridge.
“Oh, right. Then we better get on the road right now,” said Kristel. She stroked Kezia’s hair but looked at Matthew with a stern expression. “Matthew, can you please wash the dishes?” she asked in a slightly nagging tone.
“Of course,” he responded. He reached under the counter to open the dishwasher as Kristel was walking out of the kitchen.
“Sink,” she reminded him without even looking back. “And don’t forget: you have to pick the kids up after rehearsal.”
“I won’t, Kristel.” It was obvious that Matthew was annoyed by his wife’s nagging.
Within half an hour, Kristel had picked up Hazel’s friend, Stephanie, from her house and driven to the church. Kristel parked the car in the spot nearest to the entrance of the church. She looked back at her children and at Stephanie and wished them a good rehearsal.
As Daniel opened the door to get out of the car, Kristel called him. “Focus,” she reminded him. “Don’t let me hear any complaints from Sister Korin.”
“You won’t,” Daniel assured.
Stephanie opened the other back door and thanked Kristel for the ride. Stephanie was a beautiful child, Hazel's age with fair milky skin, honey blond hair and forest green eyes. She was often mistaken to be older than Hazel because of her mature body and consistently calm demeanour. She thanked Kristel formally, waved regally and joined Hazel and Daniel in walking towards the church.
Kristel watched her children and Stephanie walk towards the Church entrance before driving away.
Meanwhile, Matthew was still in the kitchen, attempting to wash the dishes when the phone rang. Happy to be at least temporarily relieved of the dishwashing duties that he had been putting off, Matthew turned the faucet off, dried his hands on his pants and ran to pick up the phone.
“Hello?” he answered. He listened to the caller on the other line and his face lit up with excitement. “Bowling?” he asked. “When? Right now?” He paused and listened for a while longer and then his shoulders drooped. He nervously scratched his goatee and then said, “Um no, I didn’t forget. It’s just… we’ll see who wins this time. I’ll meet you there in thirty minutes. How much you wanna bet?”
Matthew listened to the caller’s offer then he said, “You’re on!” he hung up the phone, walked to the sink and pulled open the dishwasher. He began quickly loading all the dishes into the machine. “Kezi!” he called to the infant, who was in her high chair stuffing dry Cheerios brand cereal into her mouth. “We’re going bowling!” he announced.
Thank you for reading
It is not guaranteed that I will be able to complete this story but it's a challenge I feel compelled to take. I will be doing this simultaneously with Ethan's Heart - to make it fair for my writing pal, ACSutliff, who is working on a serial of her own along with our collaboration.
I appreciate your support! :)
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