“Ma, wake up. I'm hungry,” exclaimed John, gently shaking his mother's shoulder as she lay sprawled diagonally across her queen sized bed.
“I'm still sleep. Give me a few minutes,” she mumbled into the pillow, while barely opening an eye to glimpse her son's exasperated look. Still reeling from the previous night's embellishments, she remained sluggish and nearly unresponsive.
“But, Cindy is hungry – C'mon Mom, get up!” as he continued to rock her back and forth.
“Fix some cereal for your sister. I'll get up in a minute.” John could barely make out the words. But, he figured it out.
“OK,” he sighed. Thinking inwardly, “I wish mom would not drink so much at night. Every Monday morning, we go through this. She can never get up.”
As John led his three year old sister to the kitchen table, he felt older than seven years old. Tired of cereal and toast, he thought about eggs and bacon for himself. Remembering the brief cooking lesson, while visiting his grandmother, he felt confident of his ability in the kitchen.
Pouring Cindy's oat cereal into the bowl and covering it with milk, John smiled at his sister. She was a good girl, and he enjoyed being the big brother. He proceeded to set her Dora juice cup next to her bowl, along with a napkin and spoon.
“I think I'll fix eggs and bacon for me and mom. I know how to do it,” as he removed four eggs from the carton, placing them in the bowl. He then gathered the milk, spices and cheese.
“This will be fun,” assuring himself, hoping his mother would not be mad. Although, a little nervous, mom would certainly be proud that he fixed a grown-up breakfast.
“I'll get the skillet and put some oil in it, then I'll crack the eggs,” talking to himself while he eyed his sister enjoying her breakfast of toasted oats. Carefully, cracking the eggs on the side of the glass bowl, he gingerly removed the few pieces of shell that found their way into the mixture. “No big deal, if one is left” he surmised. “They'll be some good eggs.”
As the skillet heated up, John watched his sister sip her orange juice. His back was to the stove. Then, he heard sizzling.
Cindy noticed it first. “Look,” she said pointing to orange and yellow colored flames leaping out of the skillet. Trying to stay calm, he told his sister to go to the bedroom to wake mom. “Hurry.”
As she ran, John picked up a glass, filled it with water and threw it into the skillet. WHOOSH! The flames hopped wildly above the pan. “OH, NO! MOM,” John screamed, running to her bedroom.
In hearing the commotion, Mrs. Wilson stumbled out the bed, sprinting into the kitchen to see the flames licking the cabinetry. “ Quick, hand me the phone and HURRY next door to Mrs. Patterson's. Take your sister's hand. GO. I'll call the fire department.”
After dialing 911, she ran back to the bedroom to retrieve her purse and bible. “Oh, God. Please help us.” she prayed out loud.
It was nothing she could do to contain the fire, as it further engulfed the surrounding cabinets. Grabbing the photo album and car keys, she ran out the front door.
“Mommy,” Cindy cried, as she ran and hugged her mother's legs tightly. John, Mrs. Patterson and several neighbors gathered around. “I'm scared.”
John, with his head down whispered, “I'm sorry, Mom.”
“It's okay, I'm sorry, too,” clutching them both and crying as they kneeled on the neighbor's lawn.
The fire department arrived and containment was fairly quick . Thankfully, the flames were confined to the back of the house. Most of the smoke and water damage was in the kitchen and the back bedroom. Broken glass and damaged wood was scattered throughout.
Waiting for the Red Cross to arrive and their Pastor to call back, Mrs. Wilson determined in her heart, that it was time to get some help --- for her drinking.
“Dear Lord”, she prayed, “I repent for what I've done. Forgive me. Thank you, Lord, for sparing our lives and giving us wisdom and strength to move forward. I love my children. May this be a new beginning for the three of us.”
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