The Seed of Hardship - Chapter 10
Tori returned to the house with Kezia sleeping in her arms. She walked down the hallway and to the nursery to lay Kezia in her crib. After that, she walked to Kristel’s room. “Kris?” she called, entering the room, the only room in the house with the lights on. However, Kristel wasn’t in the room.
Tori looked around, wondering where her friend was. She began walking back down the hallway, quietly calling Kristel’s name as she walked.
“Kristel, where are you?” she called slightly louder as she neared the kitchen. She walked into the kitchen and, despite the darkness, she immediately noticed Kristel sitting at the table. Her arms were crossed on the table and her head was buried in her arms. She sniffled quietly and Tori quickly approached her. Tori stood behind Kristel and placed her hands on her shoulders.
“Do you want to talk?” she asked.
Kristel slowly sat up and sniffled loudly. She rubbed her forehead and said, “I think my blood pressure is acting up again,” she said.
Tori sat beside Kristel and looked at her wet face. “It’s 146 over 94, my head hurts and I’m gaining weight. I’ve been working out every other Saturday at the gym and every day on my own. I don’t understand the weight gain. I haven’t even been eating a lot.”
“Kristel, I don’t see any weight gain,” said Tori.
Kristel stood and held her arms out dramatically. She looked down at herself and then back up at Tori. “You don’t see any weight gain?” she asked. “I’m losing my waist! I’ve put on pounds on my thighs and hips. What do you mean you don’t see any weight gain! It’s even on my face!”
“Okay,” Tori quietly said. “Calm down.” She reached out to Kristel and gently grasped her wrist. “Sit down, relax.”
Kristel held on to the back of the chair and placed a hand over her eyes. Tori stood up and rubbed Kristel’s back. For a while she remained silent and then said, “So, you’re gaining weight, your blood pressure is increasing and you’re getting headaches?”
“And I have a dull ache in my lower back,” Kristel complained. “It started a few days ago.”
“Alright, Kristel,” Tori calmly said. “This sounds more than just your blood pressure.”
“Just my luck,” said Kristel, putting her head down on this table. “I was so cold to Matthew. This is God’s way of punishing me.”
“Don’t be silly,” said Tori.
Kristel remained silent but after a few seconds, she drew in a long, loud breath. She sat up and looked Tori straight in the eyes. “Did I overreact, Tori?” she asked. “Was I irrational?” Tori didn’t answer; she seemed to be thinking about it. “I mean… I’m just so sick and tired of Matthew’s irresponsibility. I can’t take it anymore.”
“I know what you mean,” said Tori. “And I don’t think you overreacted.”
“But I feel like I did. I blamed Matthew for everything wrong in our relationship. Be honest with me, Tori. Is there something I need to change about myself that I’m not aware of?”
Tori twisted her mouth in deep thought. She looked straight ahead as she continued thinking about it. Kristel kept her eyes on her friend, waiting for an answer. Tori remained speechless, not speaking for almost one full minute. Kristel was beginning to get impatient and rather testy. “You’re supposed to say ‘no Kristel, there’s nothing you need to change. It’s all Matthew’s fault’,” she grumbled.
Tori looked at her with soft eyes. “You said to be honest with you,” she reminded her.
Kristel looked slightly shocked for a moment but she sighed and asked, “Well?”
“Well…” Tori was slightly hesitant. “You’re…” Kristel stared at Tori as though she was prepared to reprimand her. “You’re stubborn.”
Kristel furrowed her eyebrows terribly and continued to stare at Tori with a displeased look. She opened her mouth to protest but decided to think about it first. After thinking thoroughly about her personality, she realised that Tori was absolutely right. She was stubborn. She had always been. “You don’t like people to help you,” Tori added. “Especially Matthew.”
“That’s not true,” Kristel protested.
“Oh yes it is,” said Tori. “Sure Matthew forgets to do things a lot but he does offer to help you do many things. And what is always your answer?”
Kristel looked away from Tori, not wanting to hear anymore. “That can be a little emasculating to a man, Tori continued. “Imagine if you were a man and your wife never let you help. Wouldn’t you feel useless? Maybe sometimes that’s how Matthew feels.”
Kristel rolled her eyes and stood up from the chair. “He knew who he was marrying. If he had a problem with an independent woman then… too bad… too late.” She began walking away, rubbing her forehead. As she briskly walked away, she began to feel increasingly unsteady. By the time she reached the hallway, she had to stop and lean against the wall.
When Tori caught up she stood in front of Kristel and put her hand on Kristel’s shoulder. Kristel closed her eyes and held her hand firmly to her forehead. “You need to relax,” said Tori. “All this stress is taking a toll on your health.”
Kristel nodded in agreement. She knew she had to relax but it was easier said than done.