The Seed of Hardship - Chapter 21
The sun rose in a pink and orange blaze above the trees. A warm breeze rattled the green leaves of the high branches and whistled quietly against the large window of a hospital room. There in that room, Kristel lay wide-awake, staring at the ceiling as Dinah wrapped a blood pressure cuff around her upper arm. Kristel closed her eyes and inhaled slowly as Dinah pressed a button on the machine to inflate the blood pressure cuff.
As usual, Dinah started a casual conversation. “So, it’s the last day of school for the kids today, isn’t it?”
Kristel nodded silently. “What are they doing for the summer?” Dinah asked.
“Staying home, I guess,” Kristel answered. “I can’t afford any other option.”
“Ah, look at that,” Kristel heard Dinah pleasantly say. “Your BP is pretty good, especially compared to yesterday’s results.” She recorded Kristel’s blood pressure readings in her patient care folder. “You should be able to go home soon – today, most likely,” Dinah told her. She pulled the Velcro cuff from Kristel’s arm and smiled brightly at her.
Kristel sighed and put her arm across her eyes. Dinah put the blood pressure unit back in order and sat at the edge of Kristel’s cot. She placed a comforting hand on Kristel’s shoulder and said, “Honey, things will work out in the end, I assure you.”
“How can you be so sure?” Kristel asked, taking her arm away from her face. She looked hopefully at the nurse sitting beside her.
Perhaps this woman had the answer to her problems. However, to Kristel’s dismay, Dinah said, “I don’t know.”
Kristel tried not to roll her eyes as she turned her head away from Dinah. She expected her to leave but instead, the nurse remained sitting quietly beside her. Kristel’s mind wandered. She thought about her children and about Matthew. How would she tell them what was going on with her? As she was forming scenarios in her head, she heard a ringing sound.
It was her cell phone. Kristel sat up and reached out to the side table for her phone. She looked at the display window and didn’t recognise the number but she answered anyway. “Hello?” she unenthusiastically said.
Dinah observed Kristel as her posture straightened and her face lit up with surprise. “Oh, yes, hello Mr. Duncan. This is she.” Kristel listened and said, “Absolutely. Yes, I can be there tomorrow. Yes – thank you.” For a brief few seconds, Kristel continued holding the phone to her ear. Her eyes were wide as a smile slowly formed on her lips. At last, the put the phone back on the side table and then quietly said, “Thank you, Jesus.”
“Good news?” Dinah nosily asked.
“Yeah,” said Kristel, still looking very surprised. “I got a job.” She smiled brighter and said even louder, “I got a job!” She looked ready to hop out of bed but to Dinah’s relief, she didn’t. “I can’t believe it.”
“Very nice,” said Dinah, looking proud. “Might I ask what you do for a living?”
“Musical theatre. Acting, singing… Sometimes dancing. I’ve just been called to work with and conduct a youth show choir that is preparing for a national competition. It’s not what I wanted but at least it’s something.”
Dinah nodded and said, “See? Things will work out.”
“I sure hope so,” said Kristel. She picked up her phone again and said, “I better call Tori and tell her the good news.”
Tori pushed open Hazel’s bedroom door and quietly entered. She sat on the bed beside the sleeping child and gently patted her shoulder. “Hazel?” she called. “Wake up, sweetie. It’s the last day of school!”
Hazel’s eyes opened right away but they began to close again. “Come on, rise and shine!” Tori cheerfully said. She grasped Hazel’s shoulders and manually sat her up. “I just got a call from your mommy.”
Hazel’s eyes opened widely and suddenly, Tori had the child’s full attention. “Ah,” Tori said with a smile. “Your mom is fine. She’s coming home today. I’m going to get her after I take you to school.”
A small smile touched Hazel’s lips, giving Tori some satisfaction. “Get dressed quickly and come down for breakfast, okay?” Hazel nodded as Tori stood and left the room.
Using the same method as she had with Hazel, Tori managed to quickly wake Daniel. She then went downstairs to take Kezia from her crib and finish the breakfast. A pot of Quaker Oats was boiling on the stove and Kezia’s bottle was finished warming in the microwave. Tori handed Kezia the bottle and settled her into the high chair at the table.
Within thirty minutes, the children were dressed and fed and Tori was driving them to school. Daniel began asking a series of question about his mother and Tori answered them all cheerfully and calmly, yet never giving the entire truth for Kristel’s overnight stay. After taking the children to school, Tori went to the hospital to pick Kristel up.
Kristel was sitting at the edge of the hospital bed, already changed out of the hospital gown. She was dressed in her comfortable jeans and a blouse and she was chatting casually with Dinah. Both Dinah and Kristel smiled when Tori walked through the door. Kristel stood and approached Tori, giving her a tight hug when she was close enough. “Thanks for watching the kids,” she whispered to Tori.
“No problem,” Tori responded. “How are you feeling?” she asked once Kristel stopped hugging her.
“Um…” Kristel stuck her hands in her pockets and looked at the wall unsurely. She then turned back to Tori with tears in her eyes. “I don’t know,” she honestly replied. “A bit… confused.” Tori nodded in understanding.
“Make sure she takes care of herself,” Dinah called out to Tori.
“I’ll try my best,” said Tori. “But this one is very obstinate.”
Kristel gave a small smirk and said rather pleasantly, “Gee, thanks, buddy.” Tori put her arm around Kristel and they began walking out of the room.
“So when do you start this new job?” Tori asked. “Do you have the rest of the week and the weekend to rest?”
“I start tomorrow,” said Kristel. Tori took her arm from around Kristel and looked at her as though she was absolutely insane.