Saturday, April 12, 2008

Healing Hearts by Monique Lamont

"Jeannie..." Jason spoke, breathless as he pushed the intercom button on his desk. Over the past hour, he had been experiencing chest pains. He had brushed them off originally, thinking maybe he was experiencing a bout of indigestion. That feeling had been happening a lot to him lately, but it came after he worked out so he figured he had just overexerted himself, but today there was something different about it.

He had just finished a meeting with his divisional staff in reference to a new project they would be launching against their competitors. In the last six months, Coleman and Weary Advertising, the company he worked for, hadn't been doing so well and had lost some prominent accounts to their competitors. Even though they were still above water, all of the divisions had been hit more than once. He personally had been sleeping and eating advertising promo ideas. There was a major contract coming up and he wasn't going to miss it.

Jason stood up, barely keeping himself upright from a wave of dizziness that overtook him. Not only did it feel as if there was a weight pushing down on his chest, but he was also beginning to sweat. He loosened his tie and the first two buttons of his shirt as he shuffled toward the window for some fresh air. The sweat on his hand was making the window latch slippery and he was unable to open it.

Giving up, he leaned his head against the pane that was kept cool to the touch by the chilly early spring morning temperature outside, and began to rub the spot on his chest where the pressure persisted, praying it would abate.

"Mr. Richardson, you needed me for something?" Jeannie questioned.

Jay was relieved when he finally heard his secretary's voice. It had seemed like hours since he had buzzed her.

"Mr. Richardson ... are you okay?"

"Hel..." was the only thing he got out as he turned toward her and everything went black.

* * * *

Yasmine's day was starting out all wrong. Her alarm clock never went off so she woke up thirty minutes later than normal, which meant she had to count out breakfast. Her hair dryer decided it wanted to die on her, so now she'd have to contend with the poodle look--which meant the cute little chic hair cut she'd paid forty-five dollars for looked like she was in need of a refund. When she'd gotten home last night, her driver side door was slightly ajar so the light had remained on all night, causing her battery to die, and she had to wait an hour for the roadside assistance service to arrive. This was not her morning.

Finally, Yasmine arrived at work. Two hours late and missing three morning appointments, she rushed into Leigh's office. "This day couldn't possibly get any worse."

Yasmine and Leigh had become close during their first year of college. Like Yasmine, she was in her mid-twenties, but that's where their similarities ended. Leigh was a Virginia native. Her best friend was a happy, single white female who loved her black men, five-ten and flamboyant--evident in the flaming red hue of her hair. It was an all-natural color, but even if it wasn't she'd have dyed it that way. Leigh was built voluptuously, with hazel eyes and a come-hither smile most men fell for immediately. She was outgoing and outspoken, but had a heart of gold and had no problem with sharing her love for life with everyone she came in contact.

Yasmine, on the other hand, was mixed--Black and Portuguese. She was petite, standing a slim five-four, with a smooth hazelnut complexion and a set of expressive light brown, almond shaped eyes. She could care less what color the man was she dated, but was pretty much through with dating for as long as possible.

"Don't say that, because you know things will start to happen just to prove you wrong." Leigh turned around from the filing cabinet where she was standing. "You know how scared you are of that supposed 'black cloud' you always say is following you."

"Como isso pode acontecer?" Yasmine questioned in Portuguese. Switching in and out of the two languages was a frequent habit of hers. "At this point, even I can't see how that could happen." She walked further into the room. "Thanks for seeing my clients this morning. How upset was Mrs. Crandall?"

"Not very, she just kept telling me about the angel food cake she had spent her evening making from scratch for you and her church picnic tomorrow."

"Let me guess, she didn't bother to leave the cake, though, did she?"

"She claimed it was in the car."

A smile graced Yasmine's face at the thought of the older woman. Mrs. Rose Ann Crandall was seventy-six years old and resided at a local elderly high-rise apartment complex. Three months ago her doctor had written her a consult to see a dietitian for her diabetes because it was getting out of hand. But, no matter what plan she put her on, the next week Mrs. Crandall would give some reason why she couldn't stick to that one.

"If you would've asked her to go get it, she'd find some reason why she couldn't bring it up, or you can't come get it. This only happens when I tell her something she doesn't want to hear about her health, then she'd wasted her time making or baking me something."

"If she isn't following her doctor's or your orders, why are you still seeing her? You know I would've dropped her for services a long time ago." Leigh returned to her desk, curiosity etched on her face.

"She's lonely. I just don't have the heart to stop her appointments or recommend to her doctor to send her somewhere else."

"You're a dietitian, not a therapist."

Yasmine rolled her head back, briefly looking toward the ceiling in a short prayer of guidance. "I know I'm not, but it's so much easier to handle the small problems she has when she comes instead of dealing with my own."

"Yassi, your only problem is you don't get out."

"Com boa raz√£o," she spoke in Portuguese. "For very good reasons." She repeated in English, before Leigh began to lecture about her lack of social life. "I've got to get going to Memorial, I'd hate to keep this class waiting."

"Run away if you wish, Yassi, we will be returning to this conversation."

Not commenting, Yasmine walked out of the office, shaking her head.