The Healing Trees (chapter 6)
6am came way faster than Maya expected. She slowly reached over and silenced the alarm clock. Getting out of bed, she felt extreme tiredness, but managed to make it to the bathroom. Maya washed her face, brushed her teeth, and went back to her room to get dressed.

Heading downstairs, something drew her attention to the picture on the wall, the one of her and her mom at Glad Tidings on Christmas Day. She felt goosebumps and what sounded like a soft whisper inside her heart, “Go to church this Sunday, Maya. Tell your mom you’d like both of you to go.” 

Where did that come from? Maya wondered. She stared at the picture for a moment, remembering how she felt that day. Tears welled up in her eyes as she looked at the matching green dresses and the smiles. Maya was sad that day that her dad didn’t go with them, but she was happy she got to go to church with her mom and see their church friends. She had a great morning that Christmas Day. Then when they got home, everything changed. 

Maya recalled her parents fighting practically as soon as she and her mom walked in the door. Her dad made mean comments about them going to church. He said ugly things to her mom to make her cry. Maya remembered feeling sad and helpless, wishing her happy little family would go back to normal. 

She ran upstairs to her room and cried while she listened to her parents fight. A few minutes later, the front door opened and slammed shut. She could hear her mom crying in the living room. Maya opened her curtain just in time to see her dad backing out of the driveway.

Maya shook the memory out of her head and went downstairs for breakfast. Entering the kitchen, she saw her mom was already setting the table. Maya poured a glass of orange juice for each of them, and sat at the table. After saying grace, she and her mom both ate and talked. 

“Are you feeling okay, honey?” Ms. Bennett asked. 
“Just tired.” Maya replied.
“What time did you go to sleep last night?”
“Why so late?”

Not wanting her mom to know about the birthday party memory, she shrugged, “I guess my body just wasn’t ready to go to sleep yet.”

“Well, I hope you’re able to stay awake today. You have an important test this morning.”
“I know, Mom. I studied, and I’m sure I’ll do fine.”

Ms. Bennett left the matter alone and finished her breakfast. 

After Maya was done, she took her plate to the sink and realized she forgot her backpack in her room. On the way upstairs, that same picture again drew her attention. “Maya, ask your mom to go to church with you this Sunday.” Maya again ignored the whisper. Grabbing her backpack, she headed back downstairs, just in time to meet her mom at the front door. 

The two of them walked out to the car and headed to school. On the way, they talked about the weather and the scenery they saw on the way. A few moments later, Maya was relieved to arrive at school. Saying goodbye to her mom, she stepped out of the car and headed inside.

First class of the day was English. Maya loved English and looked forward to this class each day. Placing her backpack on the back of her chair, she took out her pencil and notebook and sat down. 

Her teacher, Mr. Janowski, was her favorite teacher at Harmony. She could tell he really loved his students, and wanted them all to succeed, not just in English, but in life. The way he spoke to her and her classmates made them feel valued and at ease.

The class period seemed to speed right by, and before she knew it, the bell rang for second period: Math. Maya slid her notebook and pencil into her backpack, grabbed the backpack from the chair, and started to make her way out of the classroom. 

Mr. Janowski stopped her and asked if he could talk with her for a minute. She froze. Did I do something wrong? Confused and feeling a bit nervous, she nodded her head and stepped aside to let her classmates leave. 

“Maya, Mrs. Thompson came to see me yesterday after your mom picked you up. She told me about your panic attack, and I just wanted to make sure you’re okay. I mean, you seemed okay during class, but are you REALLY okay?”

Maya felt a sense of relief. Good, I’m not in trouble. Looking into Mr. Janowski’s eyes, Maya replied, “I feel okay. I had a second attack once I got home, but I was able to get outside and calm down.”

“That’s good”, said Mr. Janowski. “I’m glad you were able to calm down. I just want you to know I’ll be praying for you, and if there’s anything you need, please let me know.”

“Thanks”, Maya said. “I will.”

With that, she said goodbye and walked out into the hallway. Time for my Math test, Maya thought to herself. I hope I can remember everything I studied last night. Entering room 201, Maya quietly took her seat in the back row and grabbed her pencil from her backpack. 

The bell rang and Mrs. Wright greeted the class before passing out the tests.. As Maya received hers, she said a silent prayer. God, please help me remember everything I studied so I can do well on this test. With that, Maya read question 1. Reading through the answers, she chose the correct one and moved on to question 2. She kept going until question 5. 

After reading the question, she again began to feel warm. Oh no, not again. Please, God, not again. Maya’s heart began to race and her left arm felt weak. She struggled to breathe as her chest tightened. Maya quickly jumped up and ran to the front of the room, signaling Mrs. Wright and with barely a whisper, asked her to page Mrs. Thompson. 

Maya ran out into the hallway and down to the doors. Pushing them open, she quickly walked outside to the bench and began breathing in the sweet smell of the oak trees. A moment later, Mrs. Thompson came out to meet her. “Maya, Mrs. Wright just told me. How are you feeling right now?”

Maya looked up and continued breathing slowly. “I’m not sure. My heart is still racing. My left arm is weak. I feel like I can’t breathe. My chest hurts.”

“Keep breathing slowly, Maya. It will pass soon. You’re going to be okay.”


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