Two Hearts – Episode Three
Rachael could not sleep well on the two seater sofa in her office. Not that this was the first time she had passed the night over at work, but this time around, the hurt and the pain in her heart made it difficult to have a good night sleep. She had been so furious yesterday that she could not bear to go back home and see his face. After she finished her shift, she had sat back in her office to ponder on all that happened between them. The more she thought about it, the harder it was to let go of her anger. She did checked her phone several time since she left the house and back to the hospital. He still had not called. Not even a text message to say he was sorry or even to check on her whereabouts, considering how she felt the house. She was hurting.
Oh Lord, have I lost him?
She opened her eyes wearily and checked the time on her phone. It was six-thirty. She knew she couldn’t avoid him forever. She would have to face him again. She would have to look into his eyes and wonder if he still loved her. That thought scared her to death. She loved him so much and did not want nothing short of that. She wanted to be the only love in his life. She wanted her life to mean something to him. She wondered if she had been the second best to his heart all along. Her heart tightened. She couldn’t bear to lose him.
Is this the punishment to my sins Lord? Am I paying for the mistake I made several years ago? She wondered.
She remembered the verse in proverbs twenty verse thirteen.
He who covereth her sins shall not proper but whosoever confess will have mercy. Maybe sins are really not forgiven, or rather the Lord had not forgotten and chose this time to punish me.
Her mind trailed back to when Alex walked into her office that fateful afternoon. Although she had contacted her several weeks before then on the phone and through email. She did received all her case file from her previous doctors in Australia and had studied it well before she finally arrived in the United Kingdom. She had taken immediate likeness to the young woman who had flown thousands of miles to find cure to the sickness eating her body away. She got to know during their talks that she was a mother and had no family to take care of herself and even her daughter. she had taken pity on her and promised to do all she could to help her.
Rachael knew her mistake had been her promise to Alex. Doctors should never make promises they can’t keep. She realised few weeks later that the cancer had spread to her bone and other vital part of her body. There was nothing more she could do for her. That thought had torn her apart for some days when she received the result. She couldn’t bear the thought of giving a hopeless result to a woman who had little or no hope of securing the future of her child. Now, that pity was gone. She wanted to be angry at her. She wanted her to suffer for the pain she had brought to her family.
Maybe Alex knew what she was playing into. She wondered how Alex had chosen to contact her of all the doctors in the United Kingdom. She couldn’t help but think she had planned all these. She probably wanted to find out who Christopher Ross’s wife was. She wanted her in the picture before destroying her family.
Abruptly, she rose from the couch and straightened. She knew what she must do.
The Kingdom of God suffered violent and the violent must take it by force. She had to take what belonged to her and fast.
She straightened her hair and put on her coat. Her glance caught the picture she had on her desk. It was of her and Chris. Her mother had taken that picture after they came back from their honeymoon. Alice said she wanted them to always remember what it felt like at that early stage in their marriage. The love, trust should never go away. That did helped for a number of occasion. Every time they did had a quarrel, she had looked at the picture to remind herself of what she wanted in her marriage. That feeling is different this time around. She took her face away, and picked up her bag from under her desk.
She walked out of the hospital building and into the car back. Then, she walked passed her ‘morning stranger’ and shared a warm smile with him. He was on his way to his wife’s room, as usual. Rachael couldn’t help but feel jealous of the love he had for his wife. Despite the fact that his wife wouldn’t know if he was there or not, he was still committed to her.
This is a lesson Chris should learn. Maybe a stranger can teach him to love and stay commitment to his wife.
Apart from having Alex back into their lives, Rachael felt his daughter would always take her mother’s place even when she was gone. All her life, Rachael had carefully guarded her relationships with men when it came to them having children outside of marriage. She just couldn’t bear raising another woman’s child or sharing his attention with them.
She got into her car and sat there for several minutes; every day for many years, she had always looked forward to going home after work, but today, a feeling of sadness and uncertainty overwhelmed her. The years waiting to conceive had also been tiring for her, but now that her husband’s unknown child was in the picture, it saddened her.
Rachael woke up at around 2:00pm later that day. She checked her phone again, but there were no missed calls from her husband. Chris had already left when she got back at morning. Although a part of her had been relief he wasn’t there. So she took a long shower, had a slice of toast with a cup of tea and went back to bed.
She had not expected he would not have called in to check on her or come home since then. She was filled with anger and resentment. Just a word from him is what she needed, and he had denied her of that. She got out of bed to clean up the house before she would leave for her night shift later in the evening, hoping she would at least have a chat with him when he came back from work.
After a few hours of waiting, Chris still wasn’t back from work. She wasn’t sure if he was tied up at work or ignoring her, so she decided to call his office.
“Hello, could I speak with Chris, please?” She asked the receptionist.
“I’m sorry, he’s left for the day. Can I take a…” the secretary started to ask.
But before she could finish her sentence, Rachael hung up.
That was around 5:00pm and his office was just roughly twenty minutes to get home. Two hours later, Chris was not back. By this time, Rachael was raging inside of her. she knew exactly where he was and what he was doing; her husband wasn’t the type that visited friends and since she’d known him, he was always on his way home after each day at work. There could only be one explanation for this, and that pointed to Alex. She felt betrayed.
How could he do this to me? He just didn’t care enough of her feelings and would forget her at his first chance he got. This was beyond what she could handle. She carried her bag and left the house. Filled with anger, she knew exactly what she would do; if he wasn’t going to speak with her, she knew what to do to get his attention.
When Rachael got to work, she went quickly to Ben’s office, her friend and colleague.
“Hey Ben! Are you leaving now?” She stood at his doorway, seeing him taking off his overall.
“Yes sweetheart, I’m off.” He beamed a smile at her.
“I need to ask you a favour please.”
“Alright.” He gave her his full attention.
“You remember the favour you owe me, I think I’m ready to take you on that offer.” She walked into the office and shut the door behind her.
He chuckled but seeing she wasn’t smiling, he wiped the smile off his face.
“I’m listening.” He said.
Rachael gently placed the file in her hands on his desk.
“I have this patient; she’s in the final stage of cancer.” She tried to avoid his gaze as she passed the files to him.
“I need you to take the case off me please.”
“Why?” he asked, surprise. He knew Rachael wasn’t the type to pass her patients around.
“Let’s say, too much on my desk and there isn’t any much I can do for her nw.” She retorted.
“Are you sure about this?” he asked in doubt.
“Please, I need you to do this for me.” She stressed out.
Seeing how determined she was, he nodded. “Alright then.”
“Thank you.” She said and walked hastily out of his office.
As she walked back to her office, her heart felt heavy. She knew she wasn’t making the right decision, but part of her just wanted to make Chris suffer and get his attention. Just as she got back to her office, she found a text message on her mobile that read, ‘Hi, how was your day? Sorry I missed you at home. Hoping to talk to you tomorrow.’ She hissed and dropped the phone into her drawer in annoyance.
That was it! That message from Chris made her even more furious. That was all he had to say; after spending the rest of his day with his so-called lover and forgetting all about her. Rachael felt resentment towards him; she felt he was taking her for granted and couldn’t care less about her feelings. She sat back in her chair to compose herself before starting her shift.
Alex struggled out of bed and looked at the clock. It was almost 10:00pm. For days now, she’d been getting weaker and weaker, and things like getting up from bed or walking around the house had proven difficult for her. She was grateful for Chris who had been here with her all through the day. He had come in early to take Grace to school, and even went to pick her up afterwards. They had spent almost the day together, although he briefly went to work to sort some things out. They talked and laughed together. Alex was glad he was here with her. Grace had also warmed up to him and had been excited when he told her he would be coming over to take her to school again the next morning.
Alex walked quietly to her daughter’s room to check on her; slowly, she opened the door and found Grace sleeping peacefully in her bed. She sat down by her side and watched her sleep. Part of her was grateful for the recent events, with Chris back in her and her daughter’s life. She was grateful there would be someone there to take good care of her when she was gone. Despite her effort to explain everything about her condition to Chris, he stubbornly still believed she would get better. Over the days, he’d been doing more research and speaking to some specialists to book an appointment to discuss her condition, but when they heard the stage of cancer she was in, the specialists all told him there was nothing they could do. But Chris would not give up, he was determined to do everything he could to make things right.
Alex stood up to open the drawer; she had carefully kept a journal under her daughter’s clothing. Over the months, she’d been writing to her daughter, telling her things she wouldn’t be able to say to her in the future, and she hoped that this journal would answer any questions Grace might have when she grew older and, most importantly, she hoped it would make her daughter feel closer to her when she was gone. She opened the journal and started to write.
‘Hello, my dearest; it’s another night as I sit in your room. I feel so much content and grateful. My angel, I love you as always and I want you to know that nothing can change that. I’m sorry this is how close we can communicate. Today you completed your seven times table. You had struggled with it for many days and thought you will never get it. But you did my angel. You read it out loud, and completed it. Just as I saw you today, I know in my heart that you can do all things you set your mind to do. You know, I once heard a preacher say that God has given everyone of us talents and abilities. We need to believe more in ourselves and never give up. To be honest, I wished I had known this a long time ago; maybe I would have spent more time focusing on the talents and abilities that I had. I have come to know that nothing is impossible with God. God loves us despite all we do and he holds us in the palm of his hands. Sometimes we don’t understand why things happen, but he does have a good plan for us. I think I’m a slow learner ‘smile’ as it took me a long time to know this. But I want you to always believe this no matter what comes your way dear. I love you now and always.
She wiped the tears from her face. Alex remembered the first few weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer; she had been so upset and depressed. This happened just as things were looking bright for her: she had been tremendously successful in her career and had been building up a comfortable life for herself and her daughter. She felt this was not something that should happen to her. Not now, not ever. All her life had been a struggle ever since her own mother had left her at the orphanage at the age of five.
After few months she settled in Australia and the news of her pregnancy. She had found comfort at the community church at the market place. She went every evening and listened to the minister preach. She wanted to find some sense of hope and strength in all these and she found it. She knew Jesus had died for her; she knew the tremendous gift of life he gave to her. However, a few years after the birth of Grace, she drifted away from church and needless to say, also from God. She found comfort in her rising career. The rush of the job gave her something to look forward to every morning. She was successful and that made her satisfied.
Then, came the news of her sickness. That had been the biggest blow. She felt weak to the bone. She had asked God many times if that was her punishment for walking away from the church. Maybe God was trying to get her attention back to him.
Alex inhaled deeply and put the journal down. She had so much to write but her heart ached the more. She wished she would be there to say these things to her daughter in person rather than a voice from the grave. She wished things would be different.
She laid beside her daughter and held her close to herself, trying not to wake her up. Grace shifted and made a faint sound. Alex gently rubbed her back, and slowly started to sing.
This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Rachael got home the following morning and was surprised to see Chris’s car still in their driveway. She inhaled deeply knowing how angry she’d been all night. She walked into the house with uncertainty.
“Morning,” She heard Chris say. He was sitting at the dining table with a cup of coffee in his hands.
He stood up and went to the coffee maker and poured some into a mug.
She ignored him and walked straight to the fridge. Chris came to her and offered her a cup of the coffee. She looked angrily at him and walked away.
Like a cup of coffee can make up for this.
He shrugged. “How are you?”
“What do you think?” She rolled her eyes at him.
“All right. I know I should have called, but I was just giving you time…”
“Giving me time for what?” She said out of spite. “Time to properly take in the fact that you have been lying to me and possibly cheating on me?”
“What?” He gasped in disbelief.
“Exactly what I said.” She snorted.
“What is this crazy talk?”
“Now, I am crazy?” She let out a short laugh and then looked at him with disdain.
“God!” He threw his hands into the air in frustration. “This isn’t my fault, you know.” he shouted.
“So now we are shouting!”
“This is the exact reason why I left you for days to think this through. Why can’t we be civilized about this? What is wrong with you?”
“You are what is wrong with me. I hate this whole attitude you are giving to me, as if you should be justified or given an award or something. You lied to me, Chris; you kept something very important away from me and then you left me all alone.” Tears were now threatening to fall down her cheeks. She desperately tried to avoid that. She didn’t want him to see how weak she was. Part of her also didn’t want him apologizing when he sees how upset she was; she wanted him to make things right. Make all these go away like it never happened.
“I said I’m sorry, how many times do I have to say that to you?”
“All right, you are sorry; but sorry for what, exactly?” She shouted. Tears were bunching in her eyes. It wasn’t what he said that made her angry. It was the way he said it that bought heat to her cheeks.
“For heaven sake!” he raged. “What exactly would you like me to do?”
“You can do whatever you want, for all I care.” She threw her hands into the air in frustration.
Chris stood there panting angrily as he stared at her furiously. The longer he stood there, the angrier he became, so he turned back into the living room, picked up his suit and keys and walked towards the door.
Her heart drummed; her body hummed. He was leaving again. “Exactly what you know how to do best, walk away.” She shouted in tears.
Chris stopped and stood there for a moment. He inhaled deeply and then turned back and walked towards her.
“What do you want from me, Rachael?” His voice was much calmer. “This isn’t my fault. I am so confused here, and you are not helping matters. What do you want me to do?” He looked straight into her eyes.
Rachael felt he was trying to put the guilt on her. Trying to make her feel pity for him. “No, don’t you patronize me; all you ever wanted is her. From the very beginning, Alex was the woman you always wanted and you have proved me right.” She said in tears.
He turned his face away, like he was dismissing what she was saying.
“You know what? Do whatever you like; I don’t care what you do!” she said, and ran upstairs.
Chris stood there in utter confusion.
After a few minutes, She heard his car in the drive way. Rachael swelled up in tears and cried bitterly. She couldn’t understand why he just couldn’t be here with her. Why he had to justify whatever feelings he had going on in his head. She hated Alex and her daughter the more. She hated what they were doing to her family. Her heart ached.
Rachael was in her office when suddenly, someone barged in.
“Chris!” She called out, startled.
“How dare you?” Chris said as he walked straight to her. “Who do you think you are?” he shouted.
“What is it Chris that can’t wait until we get home?” She walked past him to shut the door.
“Why did you pass her case to someone else?” He was fuming and panting heavily like he had ran all the way here.
“Oh!” she whispered to herself and walked back to her seat. “I have a caseload—
“Oh, shut up!” He interrupted. “You did this on purpose. What kind of a professional are you that cannot separate her personal life from her profession?” He asked angrily.
“This has nothing to do with my personal life; there’s nothing I can do for her and I have other cases where I can be of help. I just asked a colleague to help out.” She tried to talk calmly and avoid the intense look on his face.
He scoffed. “Help out, indeed! If this is your way of getting back at me, I am really disappointed in you. What kind of a woman are you?” He asked in disgust. Chris walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
Rachael jolted at the sound of the door; she felt hot tears pouring down her face. Guilt and sadness came over her. She knew her motive for passing down her case was revenge. His last words pierced right into her. What kind of a woman was she? Maybe she’d gone too far in her anger. Maybe it was time to let go and forgive him, and help him rather than making things more difficult for them both. She felt weak to the bone.
The following days were spent in silence. Chris refused to talk to Rachael, and would come home late than usual, and even when they were both at home, Chris was away on his computer. Part of her was still angry and expected him to beg her to forgive him, instead of making her feel bad about herself.
A week later, Rachael was on her way to the supermarket when she saw a van parked in front of her house. She didn’t make anything of it, as she was in a hurry. it wasn’t until she got back that she knew something was different in her house.
The door leading to the spare room was slightly opened. She went to close to the door and then she saw it. The room had been transformed. The spare room didn’t have any furniture in it. The room was meant to be a baby room and she wanted to specially decorate it herself. Rachael couldn’t believe what she was seeing. There was bed and a small chest door in the room. She felt her heart leap. Then she heard her husband’s voice coming from the other guest room. She followed the voice and found him on the floor with a little girl, helping her unpack her things into the drawer.
They both turned when she opened the door. Upon seeing the two, she froze for several seconds until she was able to get her strength and walked hastily to her own bedroom. Shortly after, Chris entered.
Her jaw clenched. “What is going on in my house?”
Chris shut the door. “They needed a place to stay, so I asked them to come here until we could figure something out.” he said calmly.
“What?!” She gasped in disbelief. She felt somehow she needed to wake up from this terrifying nightmare.
‘We’ echoed in her ears. who are the ‘we’ he’s talking about.
He straightened and walked towards her. “The electricity and water suddenly stopped working since the last few days, and I decided they should stay here while they waited for it to be fixed.”
She was struggling to control her rising anger. “You decided?”
He arched an eyebrow. “Yes, I did.” He answered bluntly.
“Without consulting me?” She looked bewildered.
He swallowed hard seeing how hurt she was.
Rachael stared at him in disbelief. She couldn’t believe what was happening. “You brought strangers into my house and didn’t have the guts to let me know.”
“She is my daughter!” He said solemnly.
Rachael felt a hard lump growing in her chest. Her lips were pale, her hands were shaking. He just called her daughter. Someone she didn’t even know existed.
Chris inhaled deeply, seeing her in tears, he went to sit by herself. Rachael didn’t move away.
Her eyes moistened as they searched his. “Look at me,” she said gently to him. “Why are you doing this to me? What have I done to deserve this from you.”Tears coursed down her cheeks. “Why are you tormenting me Chris?” She whimpered.
Just then, there was a faint knock on the door.
“Daddy, it’s me.” Grace said.
Rachael felt her heart leap. This was the first time she had heard anyone call her husband ‘daddy.’ It felt strange when someone you know nothing about suddenly became part of your life.
“Grace!” Chris stood up to open the door.
“Your phone has been ringing.” Grace gave him the phone and went back to the room.
Chris looked at the screen, and seeing the caller ID, he looked back at his wife.
“I have to take this.” He said, feeling uneasy. Then, he left the room.
Rachael stared in confusion; few seconds later, Chris walked back into the room.
“I’m sorry Rachael, I have to go now, but I will be back soon,” He said and hurried out of the room, and following behind him was Grace, who just smiled at Rachael.
She stared at the door, hoping he would turn around and come back. She was looking, arching inside. she began to shake her head, struggling to contain the turbulent emotions twisting and churching inside her.
Just then, she burst into more tears.
This is the last straw. I can’t take this anymore.
She remembered a quote she did read some time ago, ‘I didn’t give up, I walked away. I had enough of accepting actions that were less than I deserved. So… I made a conscious choice. To honour myself.’
Like the quote, she realized what she had to do. She went into her closet, brought out a suitcase and began to throw some clothing into it. Then, she carried it and walked out of the house.
To be continued.
Thank you for reading. please leave your comments below. Next episode would be on Wednesday.
photo credit: dsgnhomeanyar