Barely Above Water
An illness comes out of nowhere and strikes Suzie Morris. Her boyfriend dumps her. She has no living family, and her physician can’t diagnose the malady. Suzie relies on her Christian faith as she faces the uncertainty of the disease, and turns to a renowned alternative doctor in Destin, Florida. She takes a job coaching a county-sponsored summer swim team. She’s determined to turn the fun, sometimes comical, rag-tag bunch into winners. Her handsome boss renews her belief in love, but learns of her mysterious affliction and abruptly cuts romantic ties. Later he has regrets, but can he overcome his fear of losing a loved one and regain Suzie’s trust?
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Suzie shivered at Carson Snotte’s words, not the March air with its hint of lingering winter.
“Under the circumstances, I don’t think we should see each other.” He threw their relationship to the wind whipping around the Bradford pear tree in her small, grassy yard. Everything spun out of control. Suzie struggled to stand upright on the cement drive in front of her brick condo.
An image of her and Carson entering Blue Mountain, North Carolina’s largest charity event as the King and Queen begged her to hold on to her destiny. The grandeur of his black and white tuxedo, the promise of being seen as the ideal couple, hovered over them as she had floated next to him in her long purple gown. “Don’t say that. I promise I’m going to get to the bottom of this. I’ll fix it.”
Carson’s thin lips snarled, ruining his fine features, his blue eyes staring at Suzie like pieces of stone. “You’ve made a mess of our lives. Who introduced you to drugs? Are you seeing some hood on the side?”
“No, I told you the doctor said I have a foreign substance in my system.” She didn’t add that the physician had said he couldn’t treat her because the labs couldn’t identify it. Carson was already upset.
He guffawed. “Right, can’t they figure out cocaine, or is it heroin?”
Suzie’s heart broke in a million pieces. “I’ve never taken illegal drugs in my life. I don’t even take prescription medicine, and no, I haven’t seen anyone but you in three years.”
Carson waved his long, thin hand then blew air from his mouth. “Seriously, our relationship has deteriorated beyond repair. I’m not sure if you’re actually hooked on something, or if you’re a hypochondriac. Let’s say hypochondriac, and we’ll both be lots happier.”
The fair-haired, athletic guy with broad shoulders pivoted and walked away. Suzie stood with tears rolling down her cheeks. Maybe he was right. There was nothing wrong with her. The ailment was all in her head. Why look even more foolish trying to find someone to cure a disease that didn’t exist? She plunked down on her front stoop and wiped her eyes. The azalea bush beside her blurred with her tears and morphed into an Impressionist painting.
See Dr. Granger. Was she losing it? See Dr. Granger. Who was Dr. Granger? She’d heard the name but couldn’t recall him. See Dr. Granger. You need to see Dr. Granger. The words persisted as though they resounded from a stuck CD player.
Day and night, the message repeated in her head for a week. She sat in the rocking chair with the gold flowered cushion in her bedroom when the revelation hit her like a bullet. She shot straight up. Dr. Granger was the chiropractor who treated Madelyn Demms, Mom’s friend, ten years ago. “What do I want with a chiropractor?” Oh, Madelyn saw him for an internal health issue, not a back problem, and he cured her. Madelyn had raved about him. She slapped her forehead then stood and called Madelyn.