Fardus Warsame Feb. 20/03


Ontario's Finance Minister, John Manley, looked around the dinning room of his home for support. His wife had agreed that he should give the Canadian Forces more than enough support and cash for a more successful mission; his three children looked around uneasily, wondering if the bare minimum was enough to satiate the army.

The oldest son, Dennis had strongly disagreed for he was a doctor and he had experience with how urgent it was that the Health Care Unit was given any amount of money. His younger brother and sister wanted to side with him, saying it was the hospitals that have needed money from the start, but they also wanted to assure their father that he was making a compassionate choice.

The Canadian Soldiers didn't always have enough food for the entire army, their equipment was rusting; training was notably poorer than the previous years and even recruiting had slowed down.

John looked at his kids again for more support and his eyes landed hopefully on his displeased son. Dennis snorted and abruptly got up from chair, walked over to his mother to quickly thank her for inviting him and the great dinner, but he had to go to work soon, and was off after a rather quick peck on the cheek for his mother, a small wave to his siblings, and a dark look at his father.

John sighed when he felt his wife softly squeeze his hand. He looked up to her, smiled lovingly and she nodded her head somberly and excused herself to go and take care of the empty dishes. John looked at his kids and told them to speak their minds. And they did.

Hours later, John went to bed more confused then ever, but tried to sleep. His last coherent thought was,

"How will I get through this?"
".Thank you"

At those words, John felt the anxiety and distress growing inside, suddenly lift. He looked around the conference room and felt his happiness reflect in most faces, but as he turned to the disappointed and angry at his decision.

The Health Ministers had made very surprisingly dramatic facts, and statements in order for them to receive the money. He was given only the afternoon to decide after their three hour long meeting in the morning.

John has decided to give the money to the army, for their cause was much more urgent and their supplies at the moment, sent out into war, would have been a cry for death. Canada's Finance Minister felt his decision was a smart one, but he could not help but feel guilty. He signed the checks for an $800-million boost in their already $11.3-billion budget. He was having severe second thoughts, but felt since he had already signed the checks, his chances for giving the money to the HCU were over.

John left the room as fast as he could, for fear that the deeply scowling Health Ministers would drive his guilt even deeper.

Three weeks later, John woke up, still worrying about his decision. He went down into the kitchen and picked up the Toronto Sun newspaper and almost spilled his hot cup of coffee and blanched. The headline read, "Hospital Death". He winced as he continued to read the caption under a picture of a woman, "21-year-old, Julie Russell, died in hospital late last night while waiting for medical treatment." He continued to read the rest of the article with a quickly sinking heart, when his wife walked in. He turned to her sadly and softly whispered, "I made a mistake."

Four days later, a funeral was held for Julie and John and his wife attended. She had tried to convince him that what had happened had nothing to do with him and was not his fault. But her words were not to be heard by his troubled heart.

Another meeting was held, called by the Health Ministers, demanding more money for the hospitals, to avoid another incident like Julie's. The Canadian Army, of course, would hear nothing of it, but of course, they were not the ones paying.

John once again looked around the room but felt a surprisingly heavy cloak being tightened around his heart. He had been feeling numb and dizzy all morning, but thought it was only the growing stress of his ill-choice. He now felt the dizziness twirl the council room as though everything were on a merry-go-round. His eyes began to burn and water, and he could see some people stand up in the room, almost frightened.

But then he remembered who they were and what they needed, when he felt the cloak wrap itself tighter, until John felt clutching at his chest would make it stop.

He tried to breathe, but it only came out in short painful gasps, and the cloak wrapped itself around his heart still tighter. He felt this was the end when he saw black spots and blurs taking over us eyesight. He almost heard people yelling his name, but they sounded more like distant crows, shrieking a repugnant screech. As the people got closer, the noise became more deafening and while John struggled to clear his vision, his head began to pound. The shrieking had begun to shake the floor of his brain and he tried to shout out in pain, but the mysterious cloak was still wrapped taut.

He fell to his knees with pain; he noticed ruefully that he has lost the battle with the black blurs and forfeited his vision. The throbbing in his head continued mercilessly, the ringing in his ear was excruciating and the cloak wrapped itself still tighter. John began to wonder,

"I don't know what will kill me first, my throbbing head, the shrieking in my ears or my chest."

He felt like laughing and crying out; the pain was unbearable, but he seriously began to check which was hurting more. But as the ringing stopped and his head was suddenly clear of any throbbing, John began to panic. He was had become strangely accustomed to the incessant pounding, and suddenly not feeling either was odd.

Suddenly, the cloak wrapped itself to tight, John felt as though his heart had exploded; the ringing was a loud pitch and his head felt like an anvil feel upon it. And then just as soon as all the pain erupted, it was gone as his body fell unconscious to the floor.

The people in the room were either rooted to their spots, terror stricken, running for help, or by his body, desperately trying to wake him up.

A month later, the Deputy Prime Minister was healthy again, and out of his bed, ready to face the inevitable. He decided to walk to his office that day and not drive, lest he get himself into an accident.

He walked merrily first to Tim Hortons to buy a cup of coffee and a muffin to have over his newspaper.

As John continued to read, his small smile slowly grew into a huge grin. He felt like jumping for joy and dancing with the waitress filling his cup with more coffee. It was over. He felt fireworks blowing up inside and his heart began a wanton beat of pure happiness.

"It's over!" He told the waitress smiling like a child. She laughed softly and walked away smiling.

He finished his breakfast and decided not to go to work just yet. He ran out of the restaurant and continued running home to his wife, who was starting up the car. He pulled her out of the car, and the surprise on her face was obvious. He laughed and kissed her happily on the forehead. She laughed, her green eyes searching his grey orbs. He grabbed the keys out of the car and pulled her into the house.

He began to bubbly tell her what he read. The money had been split, the army was ready for war and the hospitals had been improved. Obviously, she knew that; she wasn't unconscious for an entire month, but the look on his face was of pure joy and it lit up her heart.
All was well; all would be even better.