Chapter Twenty-OneA Chapter by Cre8nFrmWithn
“Daddy, can we go to the park today?”
Darren was sitting in his favorite chair that faced the television but he wasn’t paying attention to the figures. The blue and white cat chased behind the tan colored mouse all over the cartoon house but it didn’t tickle him at all. The children laughed and carried on like it was a normal Saturday.
“Daddy, do you hear me?”
“Yeah, yeah baby. I hear you. You want to go to the park, right?”
“Yup”, answered his son.
“Sure, we can go. How about now?” Anything to get him out of the house. He needed the distraction. Later he’d go and visit Zen again but for the time being, he knew he needed to be there for the twins.
He hopped to his feet and clapped his hands. “Let’s go!”
At the park, Darren chased the children about. The park was partially empty, just the way he liked it. Crowds weren’t his thing. After sliding down yellow tubes and hanging from monkey bars, he decided to take a break. The bright blue bench looked welcoming, beckoning him to lighten the load.
He sat with his eyes closed, feeling the sunshine on his face. Laughter drifted to his ears, reminding him that the happiness of his babies were more important than anything else during this trying time.
“You look pooped”, a friendly voice stated. It jolted Darren from his peace and he almost leaped from the bench. Beside him, almost too close was a friendly face.
The man was about forty-ish and athletic. He wore a pair of running shorts and matching tee. His hair was whipped about his head, giving him a comical appearance. When he smiled, he glowed. Men didn’t glow, did they?
“Hey”, Darren responded. “You scared the-“
“Sorry”, the stranger chuckled. I didn’t mean to. I just sat down when I felt I was about to pass out!”
Darren watched the guy; he didn’t seem to be out of breath at all but he didn’t pick up on a bad vibe. “You run I take it.”
“Sure do, here and there- everywhere. My name’s Steven.”
He held out his hand for Darren to take. He stalled a bit, looking into the man’s eyes. He saw kindness there, no reason to fear. He grasped his hand and felt strength there. A rush of, what was it? Goodness? A rush of some sort of goodness ran through his fingers, up his arm and into his chest. This was a good guy…he felt it!
“Well, nice to meet you Darren. I live around here but not really close. I’m about three blocks away.”
“Yeah, we are one block over. We love it here.”
“I used to love it more when my wife was alive. She died in an accident. Now I just come to watch the kids play, like today. Any of them yours?”
“The twins over there on the swings.”
Darren didn’t know what to say but felt he needed to keep the communication going for some reason. What was it about this guy that made him feel he needed to say something? Silence was never a problem for him. He used to stay away from strangers, disliking the useless, empty chatter. Not this time. This guy made his tongue want to wag.
“So Steve, what is it about you? You seem different- not that I don’t like your company. You just, seem…friendly.”
The man laughed. “I don’t know. I get reactions like that all the time. I guessed I’m blessed.”
Darren glanced at him from the corner of his eye. “Blessed eh?” He began to wonder if the guy was a Jesus Freak; here we go, he thought.
“I’m not a Jesus Freak or anything, just a happy man who knows when and when to not speak. I like to share the word when it’s needed and to just be a friend. You looked like you needed a cheer or two so I sat down to be friendly.”
Darren’s eyebrows shot up and he gave a harrumph. He knew he needed something but it wasn’t a friend. He needed his wife. What did this Steve know anyway?
They sat in silence while watching the kids play. Others joined them, with their parents sitting on distant benches, chattering on their mobile phones. The day was picture perfect. All seemed right with the world but it was an illusion. Nothing would be right until Zenolyn was home.
He closed his eyes, seeing Zen with her smooth, creamy brown skin. Her locs that hung to her collar, framing her face just right- especially her eyes. Her eyes were covered with glasses but didn’t hide the deep chestnut brown color. She was an African Queen in his eyes and he gave a silent vow to make sure she always knew it once she got home from the hospital.
“I guess I’d better run”, Steven said while standing. “It was nice to meet you. Take care of those children.”
“Thanks. Have a good day”, Darren replied but when he opened his eyes, the man was gone. It was like he had never been there.
Darren stood and looked in all directions but didn’t see him anywhere. He heard Darian’s squeal of delight and turned back to his children. They were having a great time and he didn’t want to miss another minute of it.
Weeks passed with no change with Zenolyn. The doctors let Darren take her home since she was breathing on her own and wasn’t having a problem with her intravenous feedings. She was alive and kicking, just unconscious.
They were assigned a nurse, who would visit three to four times a day to keep watch and care over Zen. Darren couldn’t imagine changing his wife’s diaper so he paid extra for the nurse to do those delicate duties. She was a nice woman who seemed to be empathetic to the situation. She never complained and even spent time with the twins. She was a life-saver.
When Doris came by, the nurse was quiet and followed Darren and his mother’s lead. She only spoke when asked or when she saw something that was being done incorrectly. Nurse Ella was a blessing.
One day when Darren arrived home, he found the nurse with the children and Doris outside. He thought it odd that they’d be out front but didn’t question. When he got out of the car, the children ran to him and hugged his legs. It felt good to have them squeeze so tight. He needed all the love his family could give.
Work wasn’t going as smoothly as he’d liked. The accounts were still thriving but he wasn’t able to concentrate like he used to. There were times when he’d awaken from a catatonic state, wondering what he’d be working on. He was losing it and eventually his boss would pick up on it but what else could he do? His wife was a vegetable!
“How was your day Daddy?” Damon was so cute, his tan face beaming with curiosity.
“It was a hard working day babe. Thank you for asking.”
“You have a message by the phone. A minister I think.”
Oh great, Darren thought. Another visit from Pastor since I haven’t attended since Zen’s accident I bet. He didn’t want to go to church if his wife wasn’t there. Heck, he didn’t really want to go to church but the kids needed to be there; he knew they needed Sunday School and the messages that they’d never receive from him alone.
His mom would pick up the slack. He thanked his mom and walked into the house. By the phone was a message that read:
Call Stephen Minister
Darren wasn’t looking forward to the call but figured he should be considerate. After all, it was a church member who was trying to help out. After dinner, I suppose.
Nurse Ella worked in two-hour incriments, around the clock. Thankfully she lived nearby, allowing her time at home between shifts. How long she’d be caring for Zen was unknown but Darren was willing to pay her for private duty once the insurance decided to whig out. He wanted his wife in caring, capable hands.
Evening arrived quickly. Darren put the twins to bed and sat down in his favorite chair. No television, he didn’t want to hear anything but the quiet. When he finally remembered to return the call to the Stephen’s Minister, it was about eight thirty. His stomach knotted on the rings but suddenly relaxed when the connection clicked and a male familiar voice answered.
“Yes, uh…this is Darren Maysfield. I received a call from-“
“Oh yes, Darren. How are you this evening? I was hoping to hear from you.”
“Yeah, sorry. I have a lot on my plate but that’s really no excuse.”
“I understand. So, it’s really a goal of mine to meet with you at least once a week to talk. It can be at any location of your choice. I can visit you in your home or we can catch a cup of coffee.”
“Oh,…okay.” Darren hadn’t planned on making a commitment. He’d only acted on respect in returning the call.
“Darren, I understand how you’re feeling right now. You don’t know what to do and you feel as though a yes is equal to donating a lung but relax, it’s not. I just want to talk. Look at it like this, you’re allowing me to finish my promise to the church. So I don’t let Pastor down. What do you say?”
How do you say no to a request like that? “Sure thing. How about this Friday afternoon? I get off work early and the kids will still be in school.”
“Sounds like a plan. Where would you like to meet? You have a place in mind?”
Darren thought about it a moment and decided it was safer to meet on his territory. “Sure, come on by my place.”
© 2012 Cre8nFrmWithn
A Life Of Zen - Chapter One
AboutMy name is Alyssa and I am a Domestic Homeschool Engineer. I like to write, leaving some details to the reader's imagination. I describe but do not wish to over-indulge. Many things are best when l.. more..