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Chapter Nineteen
Closer Than a Brother

"Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel."
~ Proverbs 27:9 ~

To Terry's joy, he received a phone call from John a little over a week later, inviting him to dinner, so that he could meet Izumi. He was eager for things to return to normal - however normal things can be when your best friend gets married. Upon the appointed day, he knocked on John's door, (something very uncharacteristic for him), and was greeted by his friend.

"You don't have to knock on the door, Terry," said John, noting the strange change in him.

Izumi came from the kitchen looking much happier than the last time he had seen her. The house smelled of - he could'nt recognize the aroma coming from the kitchen - but it smelled good. Terry remained riveted to the floor, and didn't move until John pushed him forward.

"Nice to meet you!" he exclaimed, surprised by John's nudge. He threw John a "why-did-you-do-that?" look. Izumi smiled. She could tell Terry felt out of place.

"Hello, again," she said pleasantly. "I never thanked you for helping me last week. (silence) Thank you, Terry."

"Sure," said Terry, "anytime."

"Sit down. You never needed an invitation before," prodded John.

"You never got married before," Terry said in a half-whisper, tilting his head in John's direction. "Which reminds me," he said, his voice getting louder, "why didn't I get to be best man at your wedding? It's not like I wouldn't have come!"

"We were in a hurry. I guess it just slipped my mind," said John.

"Yeah, I guess it did," said Terry in a hurt tone. Izumi sat quietly as she watched this sad exchange between best friends. She had winced when John used the words "just slipped my mind." The silence that followed was painful to all those present.

"Dinner is ready," she said, trying to be cheerful. John got up and slowly walked to the table in the kitchen, with Terry following behind. Izumi sat down in the chair John pulled out for her. He was just about to pray, when Izumi sprang up and ran to the bathroom. From the sounds coming from the bathroom, they could tell that whatever had been in her stomach, was not there anymore. Concerned for his wife, John jumped up from the table and stood by the bathroom door, unsure what to do.

"Ask her if she's OK," urged Terry, getting up and standing on the other side of the door. John nodded.

"Dove, are you all right?" Leave it to a man to ask the obvious! When he received no response, John turned the door handle. Terry stood back, as he entered.

"She's fainted!" exclaimed John. Terry rushed in to find Izumi in a small heap on the bathroom floor.

continued on next page...
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