As predicted, Jerome was ready to proceed on four months long leave as of May 1st, 1988 with confidence that the state of affairs in the overall Medical Department could not have been better; and when he had come home on the Friday without his briefcase, a great cheer was raised by the children that he was theirs for four whole months.
Jewel said that he had been light-hearted, cheerful and amorous that night as they prepared for bed, behaving like a little boy, teasing her and clowning; and when she had reached to take her birth-control pill, told her to put it away as they would forego all responsibilities while on holiday. After making love they had fallen asleep with their hands barely touching, as was usual when the nights were hot and humid; and when she had wakened the next morning at five, as usual, he had been lying on his stomach with his right leg trapping her lower torso, as on their wedding morning, but this time had reached out as soon as she had opened her eyes and stopped her from getting out of bed, proceeding to stroke her body, wearing a very determined expression. She warned that the children would soon be at their bedroom door, knowing that he was at home; but his reply was that they would not dare come in without being invited!
He had engaged her in leisurely and long drawn out lovemaking, finally releasing her with the whispered words that he was now ready for anything; and, as the words had left his mouth, the telephone wrung piercingly.
Reaching for the receiver he had predicted, along with a gesture of his head: “Alida!”
“How do you know that?” Jewel asked, to which he had replied by passing the telephone to her, saying: “Convince yourself!”
In truth it had been my daughter at the other end of the line, as Jewel soon discovered in reply to her: “Hello?”
“Sorry, Jewel, I made a mistake. I thought Ollojay had the ‘phone on his side of the bed,” she had commented.
“He’s right here,” Jewel had responded, passing the telephone back to Jerome.
“What can I do for you at this early hour of the first day of my long leave, Doctor Brandon?” had been his jocular opening; and, after listening for a few minutes, had continued: “I am perfectly willing to fulfil your request, but must first receive permission from my wife to do so; and am passing you over to her so you can explain the situation.”
After listening to Alida for a few minutes, Jewel replied: “You are the only person I would agree to have his time and attention now that he is in the custody of the children and me for the next four months! Take good care of our precious gift to you and return him safely to us as soon as possible,” had been Jewel’s jesting response to my daughter’s request.
Jerome related to Jewel how Alida had temporarily lost confidence in herself at the thought of being on her own until Dr. Serrano came into office the middle of June, even though Dr. Grant would be there, and had kept on delaying the operation on a fragile female patient while she prepared herself mentally to venture forward. He had had no doubts of her capability but had refrained from pushing her, patiently standing by until she considered herself ready.
Now that she had regained her confidence, she wanted him to proceed on his leave fully assured of nothing being left pending, and he would be happy to give her that satisfaction.
(Chapter 61 in Tuesday’s issue of the Amandala)