Thursday, April 13, 2006

Turbulent Journey - Ch. 10

Three days before Thanksgiving Angel awakened to the sound of Martinez barking loudly next door. He’d slept in Jamaal’s cabin last night. It was odd that the puppy was still inside. With daylight breaking, he and Jamaal would have usually had their early morning walk by now. And though it had been raining for almost a week now, they would have just walked the length of the ship like always.

Rain never deterred Jamaal. And it certainly hadn’t stopped him from going out to gather food for them. In actuality, it seemed to motivate him to find new ways to get the things they needed done. Using the recent rain as inspiration, Jamaal created an efficient way to catch fish so that they wouldn’t have to go out in the elements quite as much.

Angel splashed some water on her face from the bowl she kept on the dresser and then hurried next door. Since they never locked any doors, she knocked the customary three sets of five to signal her presence before going right in.

As soon as Angel opened the door, Martinez scurried outside, eager to relieve himself. Jamaal lay on the crumpled white sheets of his bed, tossing and turning. He even coughed on occasion. His white tank shirt was thoroughly soaked with sweat.

Angel immediately rushed over to him and felt his moist forehead. As suspected, he was burning up with fever. She shook him.

“Jamaal, baby. Please wake up!” Angel watched as his eyes fluttered opened just a little at the sound of her voice. Then to her dismay, they quickly closed again as if it had taken everything in him to even do that. Jamaal was obviously very sick and that knowledge shot a quick dose of panic through Angel’s stomach.

What to do, Lord? Angel prayed, her innermost being instantly reaching out for higher help. Miraculously, before she even finished praying, a prominent thought leaped inside of her spirit. Get the ship’s medicine box.

Fortunately, Angel knew exactly where it was. The medicine box was conveniently located right underneath Jamaal’s bed. She quickly retrieved the black box and opened it. At first glance all she saw was gauze, bandages, allergy medication, and antibiotic ointment. Finally, Angel found cough medication. Quickly scanning the label for ingredients, she discovered that it also contained something for fever and pain.

Lord, I pray he’s not allergic to any of the ingredients, she mused, unscrewing the red bottle top.

Then after pouring Jamaal a glass of water from the glass pitcher on the four-tier oak chest of drawers, Angel forced his head up, cradled it in her lap, and deposited one red and white tablet into his mouth. Thankfully, Jamaal swallowed it along with the water she tipped into his lips. She repeated the action, giving him another pill to complete the recommended dosage for adults. Again, the sick man swallowed successfully, although he could do little else to help his impromptu nurse.

Next, Angel put Jamaal’s head down and straddled him. She had to get him out of those wet clothes. If only he wasn’t so big. The navy shorts were easy, but it took almost all the strength she had to remove his shirt.

It took a different kind of strength altogether not to stare at his delicious muscular frame as she rumbled through his dresser, looking for more clothes. Now was no time to be gawking at the man. Jamaal was sick and in need of someone with a level head.

As Angel concentrated on her task instead of on his body, she realized that she was that person. She was more than capable of putting Jamaal’s needs before her own. The spare blanket that she paused to drape across his body helped out a lot, too.

Then after another brief struggle, she redressed him. Now comes the really hard part, Angel mused as she thought of an effective way to change the damp bedding. Then she had another thought. The cot.

Quickly going to her room, Angel retrieved a green denim cot and wheeled it into Jamaal’s cabin. Then she made it up with clean linen. Next, she pushed the cot right up to the side of the bed and prepared for her next task – Operation Transfer Jamaal.

“Okay, baby, try to help me if you can. I need to move you over to the cot,” Angel whispered in the sick man’s ear.

Jamaal’s lips moved as if he was trying to say something, but nothing came out, except a moan. Angel tried to stay encouraged. She had to get him off of that wet bed.

Okay, God, I need Your help again, she prayed as she positioned her body between the sick man and the wall. Then with mustered up strength, Angel pushed Jamaal over until he lay on his side.

Suddenly, something extraordinary happened. Jamaal used whatever strength he had left to scoot closer to the cot even though it was clear that each movement brought him great discomfit. This man is incredible. I can’t believe he’s actually helping me while he’s in this weakened condition!

After that, all Angel had to do was help lower him safely onto the cot. Finally Jamaal was comfortably positioned on the intended destination. As she sat on the floor to briefly catch her breath, it became crystal clear to Angel that God had helped them once again by pouring strength into Jamaal’s body at the exact moment that they needed it the most.

Thanks, God, she mused with tears of joy streaming down her cheeks. With Phase One now over, it was time for the Watch-as-well-as-pray Phase.

***

Throughout the day, Angel stayed close to Jamaal’s bedside, praying and quoting scriptures pertaining to health and healing. Scriptures that he’d taught her during some of their many Bible study sessions. The only time she left the room was to take Martinez out for another break and to gather tomatoes for the vegetable soup she cooked.

In addition to doing those things, Angel was very careful to give Jamaal more of the cold medication every four to eight hours as prescribed. She was so relieved when his fever finally broke and when his cough quieted down to an every now and again thing. She saw both of those things as positive signs of Jamaal’s recovery.

Around noon Angel sat on the bed reading Jamaal’s Bible and meditating on the truth that God is our Healer and Deliverer when she suddenly had a revelation about her own life. Angel realized that she had been afraid to live alone these last few years and that that fear had been imbedded into her subconscious from her marriage.

Sean had hated Angel’s times of solitude due to the fact they destroyed the ego trip he’d had about her needing him. And because it made him feel left out. In retaliation, Sean went out of his way to discourage Angel from continuing that ritual. He even predicted that if she didn’t stop, she’d end up old and alone in a big empty house without anyone to visit her but stray cats looking for food.

In order to prove Sean wrong and to deal with the secret fear that maybe he was right after all, Angel made it a point to always keep a roommate until she finally moved back home with her parents. Now that no longer mattered. Angel was practically on a whole island alone now and she was doing fine. And even though Martinez and Jamaal were here as well, she now knew that it was God’s presence on this island that made all the difference. HE was the reason for her current peace of mind.

Still in that peaceful frame of mind, Angel looked over at the sleeping man in her midst and smiled. Get better soon, baby, she mused affectionately. She found it interesting that the fear of living alone never even crossed her mind when it came to her reasons for wanting Jamaal well.

Angel’s reasons for wanting Jamaal to recover stemmed from a purely unselfish and fearless place. She wanted him well so that he could live out the rest of his days in peace.

Angel also wanted Jamaal to have peace in his soul. She’d seen those faraway looks and quick flashes of pain that usually crossed his face whenever she talked about her family and how close they were. Those painful looks were especially noticeable when Angel talked about her relationship with her father.

Jamaal hadn’t said anything to her yet, but Angel suspected that his years of growing up as an only child in a two-parent home had been far from ideal. Possibly even very painful. Her heart went out to him.

Heal every hurt he has, Lord, Angel prayed, hoping that one day Jamaal would feel free enough to share more of his story with her. So far she’d only gotten the basics out of him.

***

Around 3pm, Jamaal opened his eyes and enlisted Angel’s help by pointing to the bathroom. Although he didn’t say anything, his eyes revealed the abundance of gratitude he felt as she assisted him to his destination. Then after she helped him back into bed, Jamaal’s eyes never left her face. When Angel spoon-fed him tomato soup, his nut-brown pools seemed to intently peer into her soul, as if searching for something.

Jamaal was searching for something. He was looking for any signs of Angel’s true feelings towards him. He’d heard this magnificent woman pray earnestly for him for hours. He’d listened with his eyes closed to her soothing voice as she offered up heartfelt prayers on his behalf, petitioning God to manifest His healing touch in his body.

But Jamaal had heard other things, too. Things that led him to believe that Angel shared his feelings. Things that made him want to get well speedily.

Three hours later, Jamaal mustered up enough strength to speak. His voice was low and hoarse. “Water,” was his simple request.

Angel immediately poured him a glass of the requested liquid and cradled his head in her lap as he drank. When Jamaal was finished, he looked up into her beautiful face and whispered, “Thanks, Angel.”

Her eyes watered as she nodded in acceptance. “You’re welcome, baby.”

Baby? There’s that word again. Jamaal thought he’d imagined it earlier. He thought he’d been hallucinating due to his high fever. But he didn’t have a high fever now and his mind was very clear.

Now Jamaal knew for certain that Angel had uttered both endearments. His heart soared. He wanted to hold her in his arms, caress her lovely face, do anything besides lay here feeling so weak, so frail. Jamaal became more determined than ever to recover now. He had to. Love had found him again. This time God had brought it through his own personal Angel.


Angel’s Scripture:
“Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.” Psalm 91:3

© 2006 Suprina Frazier

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