The Seed of Hardship - Chapter 5

Seed of Hardship "cover"
Seed of Hardship "cover"

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Part 5 --

Monday morning came. It was the day that Matthew had agreed to chaperone Hazel and Stephanie’s wilderness trip but had backed out at short notice Sure it was due to a miscommunication but that made Kristel especially upset. That night, Kristel took her sheets and pillow and went into the living room. As she lay on the couch in the dark, staring up at the ceiling, she thought about her marriage.

When Kristel was only eighteen, she married Matthew. He was twenty years old then and his goal in life was to make Kristel happy. He was getting his life together. He had a stable job in accounting, he worked for a company and he was attentive to his wife. As newlyweds they couldn’t be happier. They always made time for each other. Kristel was going to school full-time and, since she was studying musical theatre, she spent her free time volunteering for her community theatre.

Matthew was extremely supportive and attended Kristel’s rehearsals whenever he could. Kristel graduated from college when she was 21 and that year, she gave birth to Hazel. That’s when their lives were flipped upside down. They had to provide for their child and the freedom they once had was gone. Matthew didn’t take it well but he adjusted. Then 4 years later, Daniel was born. Suddenly, Matthew seemed to be spending more time escaping his responsibilities.

Four years later, Kristel discovered that she was pregnant with their third child. By that time, they were not sound financially at all. Matthew had been fired from his job and was seeking another alternative. He began gambling to make ends meet and Kristel was having a hard time keeping jobs as well. In the years between Daniel and Kezia’s birth, things were tense between the couple. They stopped agreeing with each other; the bond was gone.

Kristel felt as though she had reached a stage of maturity and responsibility and left Matthew behind in his twenties – when they were still newlyweds and their first priority was fun. Now, they were struggling to pay bills and get rid of debts and Matthew was constantly frivolous with his money. Kristel couldn’t take it anymore. She was tired of arguing, tired of nagging, tired of babysitting her husband.

Sighing loudly in the dark, she rolled over onto her side. She felt strange and not just emotionally; she felt odd physically. She couldn’t describe the feeling exactly but she was almost sure she felt that way before. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying her best to ignore the dull throbbing in her head and in her lower back. She didn’t have a good day health-wise and the thought that her health was spiralling out of control again made her stomach lurch.

Had she remembered to take her medication tonight? She thought about it…

“Crap!” she exclaimed, sitting up a little too quickly. Her head spun. She squinted her eyes and rubbed her forehead. “Stupid, stupid, stupid,” she muttered, standing and beginning to walk out of the living room. She went into the bathroom to take her pills then she sat on the tub and heaved a sigh. “I can’t give up,” she said aloud. “We gotta work things out… for the kids.”

Putting a new attitude on, Kristel went to the living room to gather her sheets and pillow. Then she returned to the bedroom and got into bed beside her husband. Though she placed a pillow between them because she still felt annoyed by him, at least they were in the same bed.

Kristel looked at the time and realised that she only had a couple more hours to sleep. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Within seconds, she was fast asleep.


“Kris?” As the sun peeped through the curtains in the bedroom, Matthew gently shook his wife. “Kris, wake up. I have to go to the office to make sure that everything is cleared out, okay? I’ll actually be back in a few hours.”

“Mm-hmm,” Kristel replied, feeling extremely groggy.

“And I suggest you wake up. “It’s five o’clock. Remember you have to get Hazel to school by 6:30.”

“Okay,” she sleepily replied.

“Have a good day, babe,” said Matthew, bending over to kiss Kristel before walking out of the bedroom.

By 6:30, Kristel, Daniel, Kezia and Hazel were at the school along with Tori, her husband Hank, Stephanie and Hailey. Hazel and Stephanie’s families escorted them to the buses and waved them off as they drove away.

After seeing Hazel off, Kristel took Daniel to school then she went grocery shopping with Tori. Before she returned home, she received a text from Matthew: went to the store. Brb.

When Kristel did return to her own home, the house was silent, except for the hum of the dishwasher. Hearing the sound, Kristel became instantly upset. “Matthew,” she growled under her breath as she put the sleeping Kezia into her playpen in the living room before marching off to the kitchen. She stopped the process of the dish washing right away and opened the dishwasher door.

There were only a few plates and silverware in the dishwasher. She looked around and saw that most of the lights were on. She sighed and began walking around, turning all the lights off. As she walked past Daniel’s room on the second floor, she noticed that the door was open and the lights were on. As she entered the bedroom to turn the lights out, she spotted a television – the television that was once in her bedroom – on Daniel’s dressing table.

Kristel couldn’t understand why there was a television there but she hurried downstairs to their bedroom only to discover a brand new, widescreen television there. Her blood boiled. As she returned to the living room, she heard the jingle of keys outside the main door of the house. She sat on the couch, crossed her legs and looked in the direction of the door.

When the door opened, Matthew entered the house. Kristel remained silent, patiently looking in Matthew’s direction as he locked the door. As he turned to face Kristel, he jumped, having not expected to see her there. “Hey, babe,” he greeted, dropping the keys on a small table beside the door.

“Hi,” Kristel brusquely said. “We need to talk.”

Matthew looked at Kristel, knowing that something was wrong. “What’d I do?” he asked, approaching Kristel and sitting beside her.

“The dishwasher, Matthew. I’m convinced that you didn’t see our last water bill… or our light bill.”

“I just wanted you to come home to a clean kitchen but I didn’t have time to hand-wash the dishes. I didn’t mean to leave the lights on. I was in a rush.”

Kristel stared at him with hard eyes and said, “You seem to have an answer for everything. So… explain the television.” She glared at him as he fiddled with his thumbs.

“I received my pay cheque and a bonus today,” he said. “So we could finally afford that TV.”

“And instead of paying off what you owe, you spend it?” she asked. Matthew shifted his glance to avoid his wife’s glare.

Kristel stood up from the couch and walked to the window. She drew back the curtain and stared out at the street. “This is not working, Matthew,” she said. “This is really not working.”

Matthew stood up and went to stand beside his wife. “What’s not working, babe?” he asked, putting his arm around her shoulders.

Kristel shrugged his arm off her shoulders and made what she was saying clearer. “We’re not working.”


I apologise if the story seems rushed. I don't want the serial to go on for too long (as my first serial did - at 48 chapters!) so there is a lot of abridged text. I've cut out a lot from the original story. I hope it all works out well. :) Thanks to all who have been reading so far.

Feel free to leave comments!

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**Leave your mark on my Hub! :) 18 comments

ACSutliff profile image

ACSutliff 6 years ago


I can't help but be overly disappointed with Matthew. A TV?! Seriously! It feels like a moment that I've had with my husband though, where he decided we just had to have a little bit of fun, because we were careful for so long. So he decided we had to buy a TV, and we did even though I would have rather paid off a credit card with the money. In the end, I finally got a teaching job, and our money troubles have gotten a lot better, but that was still not a good choice for us to make at the time, and I wish we could have been smarter. I wish I would have told him to wait. And I'm so glad we didn't have children on top of that.

I'm glad that Kristel finally told him straight up that their marriage is in trouble. They obviously need to have that conversation in order to make any changes. Now, we will get to see if Matthew can change when it matters the most, and if Kristel can be a little forgiving and not expect him to be perfect all the time. Keep em coming!

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA Author


Yay! I love when readers are able to relate to a situation that I've written about. I've definitely bought expensive things when they money could have gone to something more important (like college tuition). We all have Matthew moments sometimes I think. :) Just not as often as Matthew.

ACSutliff profile image

ACSutliff 6 years ago

Just not as often as Matthew. Lol, how true. When will Matthew stop being so Matthewy? Maybe that's what makes him such an endearing character. We have to embrace his Matthewiness, not try to rid him of it! Matthew, you go and be as Mathhewy as you want to be! We love you for it!

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA Author

hahahahahahahaha. I think I need to catch up on my Matthewology. Thank you, AC.

ACSutliff profile image

ACSutliff 6 years ago

:-) He is a realm of study now? Wow, go Matthew! You got ambitions, son! LOL.... I think, if he had one incredibly endearing quality that is unshakable and important, then there's no way I could leave him, no matter how many TV's he bought. (Think about the way he plays with his kids, if you really play that up as much as possible in this story, the reader will always feel for him and you won't end up with almost all of your readers agreeing with Kristel. A little mixed feelings always makes for an interesting read. :)

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA Author

Oh boy. You just gave me some more to think about. haha. You have a good point there. I'll definitely keep that in mind. I think it's time for some editing, yet again. Keep commenting, AC. Because you're really helping me make some good... alterations. :)

ACSutliff profile image

ACSutliff 6 years ago

I'm glad! I try to be insightful, but my opinion is still just that, one reader's opinion. Keep me in mind, but remember to think outside my box. :-) If you are concentrating on endearing qualities, then consider playing up Kristel's endearments as well. She obviously loves her kids and would do anything for them. That could very well be what keeps her with Matthew, because she wants to see her kids happy, and he makes them happy. You gotta love that!

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA Author

I have Kristel's character entirely "set". If that makes any sense. Matthew you've helped me out a lot with today. Given me another perspective. The storyline is set but now I have a few changes to make. hehe.

ACSutliff profile image

ACSutliff 6 years ago

I'm glad! That wasn't meant to be a suggestion, but just me sharing my thoughts. I think her endearing qualities are already good, that's what I was trying to say. :) There is a mystery behind her medication and what her medical issues are, and it is interesting as well.

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA Author

Another Graciela... with the medical mystery. Don't worry though. This time we won't have to wait until the end of the serial to find out. Although it was fun torturing my readers in TL. hahaha. I'm glad you like her endearing qualities. You make me smile.

Thanks again, AC. I can't wait until I have time to work on SoH again.

2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

The story continues to be very compelling. I can see that you have 'compacted' the history of their marriage, but maybe you could have reduced it further - just to say that as they had more kids their differences increased (only I'm sure you could say it better!)

Still liking this a lot.

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA Author

Thanks, Patricia! Yes, I've definitely compacted the history of their marriage. That's what I meant by the story seeming rushed (in the author's note). I'm going to try to do better but the history, as originally written was far more complicated and elaborate! Thanks for your helpful comment!

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California

Mathew, Mathew, Mathew...

Good for Kristel, being open to him and saying the hard words! I have missed reading the serial, catching up today! I think I will read them all!

Loving your work.

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA Author

Aww, thanks K9. I appreciate your support so much! You really did read them all today. haha. Thanks! :D

marvalousnj profile image

marvalousnj 6 years ago from Central Jersey USA

Yes Kristel can be hasty, but now without a doubt I understand why...... Matthew just don't use his brain, yes he have not gasp his responsibility as a husband & parent and he is still in "boy world". Wow... nicely written Kalto. I will soon catch up with this reading.

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA Author

Thanks, marvalous one! You're right about Matthew still being in "boy world." I like the way you put that.

Dobson profile image

Dobson 6 years ago from Virginia

Kim - Some men like to hold on to the carefree tenets of their life deep into their marriage. I feel it is important to know when it is qacceptable to "have fun" and when the finanical matters are paramount. I agree with AC about the realism of the situation.

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA Author

WOW. Thank you, Dobson. I'm glad I can keep my fiction realistic. Really, thank you so much for all your comments today. They put a smile on my face. :D

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