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Five Years Ago
When Jia came to work for Jim, he was still on his proper medicine course. He did not talked much to her but he was so kind and thoughtful about her pregnancy.
Jia always woke up early to prepare their breakfast and his packed lunch. Though Jim suggested to just buy his lunch outside, she insisted on having him bring one. " There are too much seasonings in all commercial food," as she always said.
All his uniforms were neatly pressed and arranged. His clothes and other stuff were properly organized according to size and colors including his socks and duty shoes.His bed sheets were changed every other day but when he started his internship at the hospital, it became daily. All he had to do as he woke up in the morning, was to take a bath and eat. His shoes were even cleaned and polished.
As the days came by, he became guilty of her extreme pampering for him. He never liked the idea of her treating herself as a servant. She was a pregnant woman who was supposed to be cared and supported lovingly. A pregnant woman who needed extra attention to her discomforts. One who needed someone to comply to her desires and cravings. One who needed a hand to rub her back as she got nauseated every morning. But she went through all of it alone.
"Jia, do you want to eat something? I can buy it for you." He asked her, one time, when he saw her on the living room reading a book.
She looked up to him and shyly replied. "None, Jim. You already provided everything."
"You can always tell me about it, Jia. I really mean it. Tell me all of your discomforts."
Teary - eyed, she replied. " Thank you so much! "
"How about your Folic Acid? And your milk? "
"There still plenty of it. "
"Every morning, make some fruit -and - vegetable smoothies for both of us." It was his way of seeing to it that she would get plenty of those in her diet.
"I will. "
She replied softly but her eyes were on the book she was reading. He also noticed that there were other books she separately piled under the center table. The books looked familiar.
" Is that my book? " He asked.
Jia was suddenly startled and frightened by his question..
"I'm... I am sorry. I got these from your shelf."
Jim was not annoyed at all. His eyes even lit up.
"No, no, it's okay. I can even buy the books you like. "
"I like these! These will make me understand the things you do. "
"Really? So what are you reading now? "
"Maternal and Child Nursing."
Jim took up Bachelor of Science in Nursing as his pre - med course but he directly proceeded to taking up his degree in Medicine. His kindness and generousity was something amazing in him as he was brought up by a wealthy family whose standards were superior. A family who views poverty as a curse.
Jim had everything materially. Anything he desired were easily granted as it was the way his family compensated their shortcomings in providing him an emotional security.
They were always away since he was young, always on a business trip. His only sister grew up and lived in Georgia with their grandparents until she got married and followed their family's steps towards building business empires.
He was left under the care of his nanny who stood up as his parent for the whole period of his childhood and adolescence. Few months after he graduated as a nurse, his nanny died due to breast cancer.
His father became worried that he might not be able to bear the loneliness, so he asked his cook to find someone to care for him. And that's how Jia came in.
The next day, he asked Jia to accompany him to his school in college. They directly headed to the Registrar's office. Jia must have thought he was processing some school records. She calmly sat on the couch in the receiving area, waiting for Jim to come out from the private room of the registrar.
Soon after that, a student attendant came over and asked for her name. She, then, informed her that she was called to the office. She hurried to her feet and followed her silently inside. Jim was talking to a woman behind the desk. When they both sensed her presence, Jim stood up and lead her to a chair beside him. The woman reached out her hand to shake hers.
"Welcome, Miss Jia, to the College of Nursing! "
She remained standing, too astounded with the news! She, suddenly, did not know if she should be happy or be guilty. This was just too much!
"Bye, madamme! We have to get off first. Please excuse us."
Back in the car, Jia could not almost look into his eyes. She was too overwhelmed.
"Jim, thank you! How could I pay you for this? "
"Just do good in your studies. Finish one semester first then stop temporarily for baby's birth. Find someone you can trust to take care of the baby. "
" Jim, it has always been my dream to finish my studies. Thank you so much." She softly said while tears were streaming down her face.
"I'll be happy to fulfill your dreams."
Soon, their conversation got deeper as they both shared their past experiences, their poignant memories and their fears and frustrations.
And that was the beginning of finding in each other the meaning of true frinedship.