Lead Me Gently Home

Chapter Six

"An Unexplained Ailment...An Unwanted Pest"


(From Danisha's Journals)

I sat in the doctor's office, flipped through a couple of month-old magazines, and generally endeavored to keep my apprehension under control. On the surface, I was convinced there was nothing terribly wrong with me, but that pain...

Claude was so sweet; he stayed up with me most of Sunday night, when I suffered another, painful episode. We didn't make love; that was out of the question, and Claude never complained. He soothed me with love songs and romantic poetry, not to mention that gentle massage to my lower back. Just before I returned to my time Monday morning, I told Claude I would talk to Steve, my vice principal, about taking an extended leave of absence.

I had called Ralph, my department head, just before I left for the doctor's; he said it should be no problem taking a brief medical leave. "Take whatever time you need; we will manage", Ralph said to me. He then added with a chuckle, "We don't want you falling out on us." Good old Ralph...always concerned for his staff and well as his students...I couldn't ask for a nicer boss...

As I waited patiently for the receptionist to summon me to the doctor's office, I silently prayed for strength, and hoped that from whatever I suffered it would be minor, and that it would go away. I felt at peace, knowing that I, at least, had Him on my side. For me, it was always a warm, comforting faith that kept me buoyed throughout even the darkest times in my life. What I would hear in the next few minutes, and what happened a few hours later, would put that deep faith to the test.

++++++++

"Sit down, Danisha." Wanda Rescott, M.D., had been my personal physician for less than five years. I became one of her first patients when she moved her practice from Lafayette. My old GP had retired, and I needed a new personal physician. Momma recommended Wanda, since she knew the Rescott family.
My mother had worked for Wanda's grandmother years ago, before Momma moved to Indianapolis to attend college.

Wanda laid it all out for me, and I was quite relieved when nearly all the tests came back negative. "Everything seems to be working normally. Your blood pressure's fine, cholestrol, blood sugar levels...everything's fine; and..."

She grinned when she added, "...and you're NOT pregnant."

I was, or course, relieved, but I felt something was amiss. "Whew! That's a load off my mind, but I'm still experiencing pain, even a little fatigue." I had asked her about the pain I had recently experienced. I told her about the painful encounter I'd experienced Friday night, as well as the backaches and periods of dizziness.

"It was quite painful; I was OK up until then, but..." I sighed, and thought of Claude.

Wanda then asked me, "When was your last gynecological exam?" Her voice was firm, very matter-of-fact. I was rather embarassed, since I hadn't had such an exam in over two years. I had been too busy to schedule an appointment. I admitted this to Wanda, who suggested that I schedule an appointment with my gynecologist, and quickly. I asked her why; I was that alarmed that something was seriously wrong.

"Danisha, I'm only a general practitoner. I suggest you schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Why? From the symptoms you described, it may be something serious, but you need a full GYN workup to rule that out."
She looked at me reassuredly, and said to me in a comforting voice, "Danisha, relax! Your ailments may well be the result of too much stress; but, please, get with your GYN."

++++++++

Oh boy...I thought for sure I was pregnant! But everything is OK...I'm OK..just stressed-out from all this responsibility...When am I gonna learn...I can't be everyone's keeper...I have to think of myself for a change...

I went back to school later that afternoon; it must've been around three. I wanted to talk to Ralph, then get Claude's manuscript to Linda. After I'd been to my room, I ran into Ralph on the way to Linda's office.

Ralph Bedwell, director of the Center for Humanities, was very understanding when I told him I has seriously thought about taking a few weeks off, "Just as a precaution; I may need to take a medical leave, but it all depends on what my doctor finds." Again, Ralph told me to make sure everything was in order before I leave, so we could make the necessary arrangements. I would need to find a suitable substitute teacher, fill out leave forms, and re-arrange my lesson plans.

There was no way these kids were starting a major project without me.

++++++++

Linda Davis, a striking, statuesque redhead, had known me ever since I did my student teaching at Arlington High School. That was where I met Fern Grigsby, the woman who would forever change my life. It was also at Arlington that I met Jacki Darcey, a pretty, personable, and brilliant senior. She too would be the catalyst behind my initial meeting with Claude Frollo.

Linda left Arlington five years ago, and spent two years in France as an ESL teacher. She always joked about her "French spoken with a German accent". When she returned to Indiana, she accepted the Dean's position at Ripple. Linda soon became known as a caring, yet tough, disciplinarian.

I had second thoughts when I approached her, knowing she probably had her hands full. When I showed her the manuscript, she was extremely intrigued.

"Where did you get this?", she asked, as she thumbed through the pages. "It looks decidedly medieval, that is, from the appearance of the script."

I only replied, "A friend, from Paris, gave that to me. He wants it published in the States." I had to be very careful not to say, "In the 20th Century."

Linda leafed through the manuscript once more, saying at last, "OK, but I can't promise an overnight job." Her eyes stopped briefly on one page; she smiled. "Danisha, this looks very interesting. I could most definitely have this translated for you in a couple of weeks. Can you wait that long?."

I was extremely grateful. "Thanks, Linda. If there's anything I can do for you..."

I laughed when Linda said, "Why don't you take over the detention room for, let's say, a month?"

++++++++

Just one more stop, then home...

I had made the usual trips to the drug store, grocery, and cleaners. These were things I would've done the previous weekend, but I had unexpected company. I began feeling better, even relaxed. I thought over what Wanda, and Ralph, said, "Get some rest." Even Claude told me I needed to relax, forget about my responsibilities for a while. I decided to schedule an appointment with my gynecologist, then take off a few weeks and spend that time in medieval Paris, with Claude.

Things would soon change, for me, and those close to me, in a manner of minutes. I headed for my car, dry-cleaning slung over my arm. As I unlocked the car door, I heard a vaguely familiar voice behind me.

"Danisha?"

The sound of that voice filled me with dread; I couldn't help but turn around. My eyes popped; my mouth gaped in disbelief.

No...it can't be...Please tell me this a joke...Why is he back in town? To torment me?

"Hi, BC", was all I could utter, as he approached me. I quickly stashed my dry-cleaning in the backseat; I had one foot in my car.

Brandon Cole Bell, "BC" to his friends, seemed glad to see me, although I wasn't exactly thrilled to see him. He hadn't changed much since that fateful day in March, nearly three years ago. He still had the build of an athlete; he could've been one power-house linebacker. BC's short, neat hair began to show a few flecks of gray. He was dressed in a dark gray three-piece suit, with a matching tie. He carried what I could tell was a Bible.

I looked at him for a few fleeting seconds, then I finally spoke. "You're looking well, BC."

BC smiled; his smile was still his most winning quality. "You doin' all right yourself. Look at you!" His voice was smarmy; I tried not to let my disgust show. BC eyed me, then my car. "Yes, Lord. You doin' just fine. Nice car, nice clothes...You don't leave the house unless you're all together."

I had to make up an excuse, anything to get away from this man. "Uh..BC? I have to go pick up..." My voice trailed off as I saw a Metro bus go by.

Hmm...I wonder if he has a bus to catch...

"I know you busy, baby. But I just wanted you to know that I'm back, and I've changed."

"Changed?", I asked warily; I immediately got into my car and inserted the key into the ignition switch.

"Oh, Nisha. Baby, I've seen the error of my ways." BC waved the Bible around as though it was a symbol of his self-proclaimed renewal. "Nisha, I've been goin' to church ever since I left, you know, after all that. Sugar, I've wandered all over, as if lost in the wilderness. But, when I was in Chicago last year, I hit bottom; then I was lifted up."

"That's nice, BC, but..." He cut me off again -- just like before.

"I've joined this youth ministry out on the Far Eastside. Two other brothers are helping with those youngsters out there. And Lord knows they need some uplifting." BC looked at me; he could tell I was uncomfortable. Then he said something that made my skin crawl. His very words made me nauseous.

"Danisha, honey. I want you back. I know I've done some things I'm not proud of, but I want us back together."

How can he do this! I don't want him! I don't even love him! Claude....if only you were here now...Then you'd show this phony-faced thug just who is "The Man"...Now Iwished I had that pager here now...I shouldn't have left it at home...

Before I switched on the ignition, I replied firmly and very audibly, "BC, I already have a steady man, and he's good to me."

I looked BC dead in the eyes as I repeated, "He's good to me."

That said, I drove off; I didn't even bother to look back.

++++++++

Damn! Why did he have to show up? How did he know to find me? I hate him...I hate what he did to me, to Fern, to Kyle...

Brandon Cole Bell.

The name stuck in my mind most of the evening. I was so pre-occupied with bitter memories, that I forgot all about calling my gynecologist. I even forgot that Fern was in medieval Paris; I needed to talk to her, about BC being back in town.
Just before I turned out the lights, I thought of Claude, the man I truly loved. I smiled as I flipped open that sterling silver pager, and coded a short, sweet message:

Hey, sugarbritches...I saw the doc today...Clean bill of health...Just need some rest, that's all...I'm working the rest of the week, then taking off for about a month or so...Everything's all arranged...Linda promised she'd look over that manuscript...May be ready by next week, but don't hold your breath (smile)...I'm coming to Paris this Saturday...Tell Quasi to save a seat for me up in the belltower...I love you, Claude...Good Night...Danisha.

Oh yes, I was going to Paris, where BC couldn't ever find me. I shuddered at the thought that he may find out where I live, where I work. I dreaded the rest of the week, but I told myself to stop worrying.

Come Saturday, I'll be in 15th Century Paris, with Claude, away from BC...

"By the end of the month, that fool will forget all about me; then he'll leave me alone", I muttered to myself, just before falling asleep.

BC Bell's unwanted, unwelcomed return into my life, set the wheels of catastrophe in motion....for me...and for many other unsuspecting souls...

Go to Chapter 7!

Copyright FrolloFreak FSM #14, 1998


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