Rachel was surprised to see her mother home from work so early, and she was a little rattled that her mother arrived just after Rob had left. She hadn’t even had a chance to pick the things up in her bed room that had fallen off the wall shelves.
Rachel normally got showered and dressed around 11:00 a.m. She did not have to be at work at Herbergers department store in the Prairie Hills Mall in Dickinson until 2:00 p.m. Normally, after she got dressed, picked up her room, and straightened up in the living room, that was when her mother arrived home for lunch.
Rachel’s mother Susan did not ever eat very much at lunch. It took her about twenty minutes to drive home from the gas company that she worked for in Belfield. She could only spend twenty to twenty-five minutes at home before she had to drive back to work. It was just a chance to get away from work. Rachel’s mother Susan, like many women, did not want to try to stop anywhere in Belfield during lunch because of the oil field workers.
Susan was forty-five years old, and still moderately attractive. Within two years after the start of the oil boom in 2006, she had had enough of being complimented, approached, and asked out every day by all of the men that came to work in Belfield because of the oil boom. Susan, like all of the other women in Belfield, had learned that you absolutely avoid going to the convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, banks, and restaurants between 5:00 a.m to 9:00 a.m, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and after 4:30 p.m. Even if the oil field workers didn’t say anything, they ogled you.
The twenty minutes that Susan had at home, was when she was able to talk to Rachel without her husband John, or her other daughter Christine being around. It was fine with Susan and her husband that Rachel was working at Herbergers, which paid Rachel enough to make the payments on her Jeep Wrangler and have her own spending money. Rachel was considerate in bringing home cosmetics and clothing for her mother, and her sister which they both liked.
Since Rachel had quit attending Dickinson State University after completing her second semester last Spring, there was much less drama, chaos, and stressful discussions. Everything was fairly normal and peaceful at home. Rachel and her mother Susan had less interesting lives than Christine, who was in her senior year at Belfield High School.
Rachel had been an O.K. student at Belfield High School. She was a “B” student, and did not worry or stress over her school work. She was in Future Farmers of America, and competed in High School rodeo barrel racing. She was not the most popular girl, but she was well liked. It came as a surprise to her when she was picked as Home Coming Queen, but not so much to her parents, because Rachel was attractive, good natured, and not really disliked by anyone.
Rachel had thought that she wanted to be a nurse. It was not that she was driven or compelled to be a nurse, she just thought that it was a respectable profession for women, and that it paid well. When she first started attending Dickinson State University in the Fall after graduating from high school, she did not take any nursing courses, just general education courses: math, biology, English, western civilization, and Spanish. She enjoyed going to class, met a lot of people, had a good time, and made “A”s and “B”s. Her parents were happy, and she was happy. Her future looked bright.
In Rachel’s second semester at DSU, she enrolled in two nursing classes. Rachel knew that she needed to do well in her nursing classes because this is what she wanted to do as a profession. She was alert and attentive in class, but each class made her feel like she had mis-stepped, and was inadequate. For about one month, she kept her feeling of failure in her nursing classes to herself. Her mother, father, and sister could see a change in her, she was not herself. In the second month of her Spring semester, Rachel began talking to her mother about her inability to do well in her nursing classes. Rachel said that she was paying attention, studying, doing all of her assignments to the best of her ability, but it wasn’t good enough as far as her professors were concerned.
Rachel’s mother and father did not know what to think, they were at a loss, neither of them had attended college. They thought that their daughter was bright, normal, and was trying hard, they didn’t know what else that she could do. They asked her how the other girls in her class were doing, Rachel thought that they were all doing better than her. Her parents suggested to Rachel that she might talk to the other girls in her class to see if they had any suggestions that might help her.
When Rachel started talking to some of the other girls in her nursing class that she liked and thought seemed nice, they told Rachel to her surprise, that they thought she was doing better than they were. They thought that she was very brave to speak in class or say anything, they were too scared to even speak for fear of looking stupid. Rachel made friends with several of these girls in her nursing class, they studied together, and went out to eat together at Applebees, King Buffet, and El Sombrero, and kind of had a support group. They all made it through that Spring semester at DSU making “C”s in nursing, but all four of them decided that nursing was not for them.
Rachel no longer wanted to attend Dickinson State University after that Spring semester, in part because of her negative experience, and in part because she did not know what she wanted to do as a career now. Her mother and father did not disagree with Rachel’s decision to no longer attend DSU. They knew that their daughter was trying hard, and they didn’t want to see her upset, depressed, and doubting herself, thinking that she was stupid. Her mother, father, and sister were relieved when she said that she didn’t want to go to DSU anymore.
(The characters in this novel are fictional, and are not based on real or actual persons. The events in this novel are fictional. Any resemblance to real or actual persons, or actual events, is entirely coincidental.)