A dedicated nurse who hates her job and wants a change, meets the man of her dreams who wants her because she's a nurse. She's torn between love for her childhood passion and the love for her would-be husband. Yet a life-changing decision has to be made.
The terrified mother exhaled as the status epilepticus attack subsided and her boy sank into a calm sleep.
Cynthia kept her syringe on the medication tray and stood watching the child, who was still held down by his father. A minute later, she took the tray from the bedside cupboard and turned to leave.
The child's mother grabbed her arm. "Thank you, nurse."
"Madam, it's my job. Rather, thank God; He's the sustainer of all life."
"Thank you, all the same. You were careful. I’ve watched some of your colleagues. You love your job."
The child's father nodded.
Without another word, the tall and slender nurse took her pensive eyes off their faces and went to the nurses' station, where she searched for the child's file and documented what had happened.
The clock on the wall opposite the table read past 2 a.m. She walked back into the ward, giving every sick child a vigilant look. Everywhere was calm.
As she returned to the nurses’ station, laughter came from the dressing room at the left.
Cynthia bit her lower lip, frowning. She’d objected to being paired with the negligent nurse for the night shift, for instead of two nurses to share the work, one took up most of the responsibility while the other stayed in the dressing room, with a Smartphone in hand.
With a look of resignation, Cynthia sighed and leaned her head against the wall. It was time to give a little more attention to the pondering of her heart, contemplations which for the past several months had become more and more difficult to ignore.
She sighed again. I wish I could make a firm decision and follow through.
The mother who had just thanked her for saving her child's life was one of those reasons the decision about the job was hard to take.
How can I tell others that I hate to be a nurse when such praise for my dedication abounds?
The four years of her working experience had produced two Nurse of the Year Awards and two runner-up positions.
How can I tell others that I wish to change my career and do something else?
Another sigh. I hope you understand, Papa.
The day Cynthia had graduated from college, Papa was the happiest man of all. He hosted a lavish party in her honor and gifted her with ten thousand Kebis to begin her new life without stress.
"I'm so proud of my first daughter," Papa told the over one hundred guests. "She has chosen a noble profession."
Seated to his right, with her mother beside her, Cynthia looked down at the large bouquet in her hand. The flowers mocked at her, sending off congratulations for quiet acquiescence to wishes she’d never cherished on her own.
Papa continued, "And second, she's ripe for the job market. Y'all know that a degree in Nursing is not as useless as some funny pursuits our young people are passionate about.
"At just twenty, my daughter will get a good-paying job. Soon, she'll get married, and settle down. That is life. Simple. She can pursue a master's degree if she so wishes, but she's got security with this first degree."
A month after graduation, Cynthia got a job with the St. Serita's Hospital in Beaumont, Hammbersborg, a health facility that prided itself in quality health care delivery and better remuneration of its staff. One afternoon, she felt the eyes of one clean-shaven man stapled on her each time she came to administer drugs to his sick friend.
Frank praised her meticulous nursing skills, but Cynthia detected that romantic affection lay beneath the eulogies. When he later asked for her contact, she did not hesitate.
He called daily and came to visit. Before long, he had her parents' consent to court her.
"God brought me to St. Serita's to meet you,” he told her often. "I'd always desired a woman who works in the hospital, be it as a medical doctor, a nurse, a laboratory technician, just anything hospital-related."
His big grin testified to how much her profession mattered to him.
"Is that the only reason you fell in love with me?"
"No, Sweet Pea. But the fact that you're a nurse was the starting point."
Cynthia shifted on her seat, fidgeting with the hem of her dress. "Therefore, um… if I stop being a nurse… that will also be a starting point for the end of the relationship, right?"
Frank smiled and shook his head. "But why would you want not to be a nurse? Once a nurse, always a nurse."
"I mean like… um… wanting to do something else… Changing paths."
"Something else? Like what? And why would you do that? Don't you like your job? Isn't the pay good enough? Maybe, you don't like working at St. Serita's?"
The many questions saved Cynthia the opportunity to offer a response to any. But fear was the real hindrance. She loved Frank.
Not much of a dater, she’d never fathomed dating more than one guy before settling down. Right from secondary school, she’d kissed dating goodbye, believing that the right man would come at the right time. In her heart of hearts, Frank was that right man. And that period of her life was the right time.
Jessica doesn't understand why Grandpa insists that she prays about her boyfriend, Ronald. But she's concerned about the old man's health, and decides to honor his request, anyway. Then something happens.
He belongs to me. That’s what Jessica heard as she watched the charismatic and eye-catching, young preacher, Ronald. She’d been crushing on him for a while, and any attempt to smother the desire was given the treatment reserved for a worm in an anthill.
How wonderful would it be to live with such a God-fearing man, one deeply versed with Scriptures, and zealous in its proclamation?
A closet pianist and a good singer herself, Jessica imagined their dream home—she would play on the instrument and they’d sing together before Ronald would deliver a fresh dose from God’s Word. What an atmosphere of divine inspiration mingled with Christian romance.
Grandpa wheezed. Jessica’s hand dove into the bag by her left and readied with the asthma medicine canister. A few seconds passed and her chest relaxed when no sound came again from the old lungs. Grandpa’s unpredictable asthma attacks were the reason she detested coming to church with him without Grandma. Step-grandma, to be precise. The biological grandmother had…
Ronald had said something, and the hall buzzed. Jessica smiled back at the grin on his face, which seemed at the moment to stay on her. That reaction from the congregation was not unusual; Ronald was as humorous as he was sound in doctrine.
Surely, such a good preacher should make a good husband. And why is he looking at me like that?
Later in the afternoon, Jessica and Grandpa ate lunch by themselves. The other occupant of the house, Grandpa’s wife, had gone off to New Belt the previous week to visit her first newborn grandchild.
As the first grandchild in the family, Jessica hid nothing from her grandfather.
“Ronald is such a fine Christian gentleman. What do you think?”
In a whistling voice, Grandpa said, “What makes you think that way?”
Jessica swallowed the bolus in her mouth. She knew Grandpa understood her thinking, but it was good to play the ignorance game, anyway. “I’ve observed him for some time. He’s different from the others – clean-shaven, always smiling, and above all, has a deep knowledge of the Bible.”
“Just the kind of man you want, huh?”
Jessica nodded and then laughed. “If wishes were horses, I’d be his bride.”
Grandpa coughed, holding his chest. Jessica reached out for a cup of water, which the old man seized and gulped down.
When calm returned, grandpa said, “God grants the desires of our hearts.”
The corners of Jessica’s lips contoured into an adorable smile. If Ronald turned out the only desire God could grant, she’d remain forever grateful to the kind heavenly Father.
Grandpa shook his head. “But that verse doesn’t guarantee that every desire you have is from God. You know, He’s not obliged to honor your every whim.”
Jessica almost choked on the food. “Grandpa, this is no whim… I think it’s godly to desire a godly man.”
With a look as though he wished to school her more, Grandpa, trying hard to breathe well, said, “How much of Ronald do you know outside of the church?”
Jessica pursed her lips and squished her eyes. After waiting a while, she said, “Not much. But does it matter? I have no reservations… or thoughts that he could be different in private.” Jessica’s voice contained doubts, mixed with some bits of certainty.
Grandpa munched for a while. “That’s what I had thought of my first wife. Your grandmother.”
to be continued
I didn't see the accusation coming, but it resulted in one of the best decisions I've ever taken.
My skin now looked paler. I was dying one second at a time. Scary.
Pulling my cheeks downwards with both hands, I drew my face closer to the mirror. Sunken eyes and dry lips. Several overnight wrinkles on my forehead.
I opened my mouth to examine my tongue. Ugh, the stench. But who'd care to brush a mouth that hadn't eaten for straight four days? An unintentional fast.
Turning away from the mirror, I took another look at my bed-sitting room. A fog of abandonment hung in the air. Another day to face the continuation of the imposed fast. Or was a miracle on the way? Wasn’t that what I’d thought on each of the previous days?
"O Lord, why have you forsaken me?"
I returned to bed where I could sob without passing out.
A few minutes later, toc toc on my door.
Tears, be gone. Smile, come here. I opened the door.
The visitor's jaw dropped. "Martha, you haven't dressed up for church?"
" Ndum, I won't be going today."
I scratched my non-itchy arms. Two weeks ago, I’d awakened to a women's storm commonly called severe menstrual cramps. Without money for painkillers, I skipped church.
Financial deficiency was no new disease to me. My mom, a single parent with three kids, got our livelihood from peasant farming. That explained my kerosene stove in a residential area where every other student used gas.
On the second Sunday, I had skipped church again. My feet had been sore from trekking twice to and fro church for Bible Studies and Prayer meetings over a distance of 2KM on a stiletto whose heel had come away.
Now, again, I had another reason not to tick my name in the attendance record. For three straight Sundays?
"Dress up, let's go," Ndum commanded.
"I don't have taxi fare."
Ndum held the door frame and looked away for several seconds before facing me. "I'll pay one way. You pay the other way.”
"I don't even have for one way. I haven't eaten for four days. My mama –"
"Can't you trek? Be a soldier for Christ. Man shall not live by bread alone.”
I had no strength either for laughter or anger. Without bread for four days counting, here was I dying.
"I can't go to church today."
"Okay," Ndum said with disgust. "Under the rain, in the sun, through the storm, I stand with Jesus. By the way, did you hear that Susan, the governor’s daughter, who recently joined our church, is sick? Every choir member is contributing 500frs for visitation. We have to be our brother’s keeper."
In response to that cognitive dissonance, I glared until Ndum walked away without another word.
In the space of twenty minutes, I received two other Ndums with different names.
In the evening, almost withered because of little water drunk that day, I dragged myself out of bed and grabbed my 10L gallon. Dying outside was better than doing so behind a locked door. My mama wouldn’t take it seeing my decomposing corpse.
Ten minutes to traverse 200m to the tap at the roundabout. There, I tanked in a liter of water and got some weight in my stomach. Then I filled my container and took it up to my head.
Everywhere went black. Oh no, I didn't pass out. Faithful servant SONEL* was at it again.
That darkness gladdened my heart – no one would notice my insecure gait.
Forty meters away, a familiar voice spoke from behind me. Ndum.
"She’s pregnant. Christians of nowadays, fear them."
Who was pregnant? I silently asked.
Ndum’s companion replied to her statements, “I doubt it. Martha can’t do such a thing. She knows very well that she’s from a poor background.”
They’re talking about me? My heart thudded faster.
After laughing at her companion’s naivety, Ndum said, “When I passed at her small room this morning, she looked pale, exactly like my junior sister when she was pregnant.
“She can’t come to church; she knows that she’ll be exposed through the spirit by our pastor. I just pray the paleness is not because of abortion. That’s the worst.”
I can’t remember if I stopped breathing. Of course, I didn’t die; I wouldn’t be here narrating the story.
“Martha is only financially handicapped,” Ndum’s companion said.
“Is she the only one? Every student on cam…” Their voices grew faint as my weak legs lagged. Click this link to read the rest of the story
Bethany grinned and continued nodding as she watched the eloquent and confident female speaker. They called her Zilpah, of the national headquarters of The Hambersborg Standard Bank, situated in Citte.
The exceptional oratorical abilities caused a sense of pride in Bethany. For what reason, she couldn't tell; maybe because Zilpah was a young woman like her. She planned to praise the presenter during lunch break.
Thunderous applause answered something Zilpah said. While waiting for it to die down, she caressed her ring finger, turning the golden band several times around the finger with her right thumb.
Bethany now paid full attention to that ring, and a bout of envy and resentment sprang up from within, summarily dismissing all admiration. Younger Zilpah was newly married. Last year when they'd met, she was still a Miss.
"Those are wrong thoughts, "one voice said, "and you know it."
"Poor you," another voice spoke."Your religion's got you nowhere. That's why you're resentful of others. If your beliefs are not a hindrance, why are you the way you are? Wasn't your religion the reason why Sorelyn snatched Stanley from you?"
Not knowing which judgment to side with, Bethany looked inside for consolation. Viewing her left hand, she imagined how cute a golden band on the ring finger would look.
The mental picture became too beautiful for her to pay any attention to Zilpah's presentation. She lifted her hand from the table and brought it to rest on top of the right one on her lap. That position granted the dreamer a better viewing of the invisible ring. Click on this link to continue reading
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