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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chapter Ten

In remembrance of the:
Let's all make time to say a prayer for those who lost loved ones that day...
Chapter Ten
Jenna tossed and turned, but couldn’t go back to sleep. That was probably a good sign. She was ready to get out of this bed. Rolling over, she grabbed the TV remote and turned it on. She switched channels until she found a local news station.
Images of mass destruction filled the screen as the newscaster spoke in a tone of urgency. “Rescue workers have discovered a leaking gas main and this whole area you see behind me is being evacuated.” He pointed with his hand to the neighborhood behind him.
Jenna’s eyes were drawn to a policeman urging a man to leave, but he wouldn’t budge. “My baby is in there!” The huge man had tears running down his face and her heart ached at the frustration he must feel.
“I’m sorry sir. We’ll find someone to look for the baby but you have to go.” The cop gave him a gentle nudge, but he stood his ground.
I’m not leaving until I get my baby,” the distraught man said.
All the sudden he turned as if to leave and then twisted back around and ran behind the cop and into the house. The policeman yelled for him to stop, but he didn’t listen.
Jenna watched, mesmerized at the live story unfolding right on live TV.
 “They shouldn’t be showing this on live TV,” she said out loud, just before the house exploded.
The reporter was thrown out of view of the camera and the house was engulfed in a red-orange ball of fire, consuming the policeman. She gasped, turned the TV off and hid her face in the pillow. Why can’t this nightmare just be over? “Dear Lord, please give me the strength to get through this.” She turned over and grabbed her phone. She would just call Jedidiah…
Tears of frustration fell down her face when she realized she didn’t have his phone number. She sat up and began sorting through the wrappers and boxes from lunch, readying them for the garbage. A small slip of paper caught her attention and she picked it up and read what it said. ‘Here is my phone number if you need anything.’ She sighed. “Thank you Lord, You do take care of your own.” She dialed the number on the paper, making a mental note to add it to her contacts list when she was done.
Jedidiah was cart-deep in little boys’ clothes when his phone rang. He pulled the ringing object from his pocket and looked at the number. It was local, but unfamiliar. He flicked a button and held it up to his ear. “Hello?”
“Jedidiah?” Her voice was small and she sounded scared.
His heart did a painful lurch he was sure would send him to the ER for a EKG if it didn’t stop. “Janna? Are you okay?”
More silence.
“Janna, answer me.”
“No, I’m not okay. I just want all this to go away…”
She began to sob, causing his heart to ache in compassion. “Oh honey. What happened?” Did I just call her honey? I don’t even know her.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I turned on the TV and was watching the news and this house blew-up. There was a guy and his baby in there and it killed a police officer and maybe the reporter, too.” She sobbed into the phone and Jedidiah knew what he was going to do. He had a cart-load of little boys’ clothes and toys, pull-ups, even though he wasn’t sure Jessie even needed them, a few sippie cups and four pairs of shoes. He rushed to the counter while she was still on the line, grabbed two of every candy bar on the rack and threw it all up on the conveyor belt. “I’ll be there in just a few minutes, Janna, sit tight.” He ended the call and tapped his foot while the cashier took her time folding up each piece of clothing. “Just throw it in the sack, okay? I’m kind of in a hurry, if you know what I mean.”
“I’m sorry, sir. We’re required to fold each piece before we put it in the bag,” the elderly lady said with a tight smile.
“What ever happened to ‘the customer is always right?’”
“It flew out the window with ‘respect your elders.’” She gave another tight smile, but sped up the folding process.
Jedidiah liked her. She had spunk. He bent over and examined her name tag. “Beth is it?”
She shook her head yes and smiled, this time showing a full set of dentures. “That’s me.”
“Did anyone in your family suffer from the tornado?” He asked.
“Yes, my whole street is gone. My husband Charles and I were lucky because we had a full basement under our house reinforced with steel. It’s like a whole other house so at least we have somewhere to stay.” A hint of sadness tinged her faded blue eyes.
“I’m sorry, ma’am.”
“Thank you son, and thank you for shopping with us.” She finished putting the last pair of shoes in the bag and gave him the total amount.
He paid her and rushed out the door, in a hurry to reach Janna.
When he walked into her room about ten minutes later, she wasn’t there, only a nurse.
“Where is Janna?” He asked, sitting the bags on the floor in front of the wardrobe.
“They took her down to do another x-ray of her arm,” the nurse said while she several tubes out on a white towel.
“Why, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing, it’s kind of routine for Dr. Waither.”
“I take it that’s her doctor?”
“Yes. He likes to do an ‘after x-ray to make sure things look good.”
“Oh, okay.”
The nurse finished what she was doing, smiled at him with a spark of interest in her eyes, and left the room.
Jessie began to whine and Jedidiah walked to the metal crib and stood looking down on him as he tried to get comfortable.
The little boy blinked his eyes a couple times, fighting the drug they’d given him so he could rest and opened them up.
Jedidiah stepped back in surprise. His eyes were a deep gray color and held the light of intelligence.
“Hi Jessie.”
The boy’s lips trembled and he began to cry. “I want my mommy.”
Jedidiah put his hand on Jessie’s arm and patted it awkwardly. “Janna will be back soon. My name is Jedidiah.”
He stopped crying immediately. “Ja-Ja?
Jedidiah liked the pet name and couldn’t keep back the smile. “Yes. She went down the hall but she’ll be right back.”
The child looked like he was absorbing those words, and then he looked directly into Jedidiah’s eyes and asked, “Is my mommy in heaven?”
Dread gripped Jedidiah’s throat and for a moment he couldn’t breathe. Should he answer the question or wait for Janna?
 There was a noise at the door and Jedidiah turned toward it, and then sighed in relief. “Janna. Look who is awake.” He gestured toward the little boy behind him.
She rushed to the bed and pulled the child to her chest, trying to keep him pulled up off his legs. “Jessie! I’m so glad you’re awake.” She kissed his cheek and hugged him to her once more.
“Jediah didn’t answer my question,” was his reply.
Janna looked up at him and said, “He didn’t? What was the question?”
Jedidiah could see the child’s eyes were getting heavy, but he knew he was waiting on the answer to his question.
“Is mommy in heaven?”
Jedidiah had stepped to the other side of the bed so he could see Janna’s reaction and he almost gasped at the look that crossed her face. It was halfway between pain and compassion.
She pulled the small boy up to her chest and stroked his matted red hair. “Yes, baby. Mommy is in heaven now. God had plans for her there.”
“But I want her.” He pulled himself tight up against Janna’s neck and cried.
She stroked his back and rocked him back and forth until he cried himself to sleep.
By the time she was done, Jedidiah was in love.