She raised her face to him, so expectant and hopeful. It broke his heart to say the words, “They can’t pay me early. We’ll have to wait two more days.”
His sister tried so hard to stay upbeat. “Oh well, the electric company will only turn the power off for one night. We’ll use lots of blankets and candles.”
David brushed the snow from his coat as she turned back to their mother’s tiny bedroom. He hung it up, listening as she chatted merrily to the silent form laying on the bed, listening as her voice wavered and broke. He crossed the house in few steps, pulling her close.
She tried a wobbly smile even as she brushed away a tear. “I know she’s going Home soon. But David,” her whole body shook. “I don’t think I could stand it if she passed away in a cold, dark house.”
David had no words to say. No way to make life better for her. For his mother. Is it too much to ask, Lord? That they be happy? Without pain?
It was as though Annette had heard his thoughts. “Pretty soon she’ll be free of pain.” She ran a finger down their mother’s yellow cheek, fluffed the flower that graced her cap.
David choked every time he saw that hat. The cancer had stolen even her beautiful hair. As if her life, her smile, as if that wasn’t enough, it had taken even her golden hair.
His mother’s hand was warm, limp. He held it tightly, willing some of his own strength into it.
Drake stood, watching the snow fall outside. The flakes drifted so peacefully. He wondered if nature knew. If she felt the agitation in his heart. If on the other side of her peaceful face, she glared at him. Hated him.
He had called into work sick this morning. Just like Kevin had told him. Tonight when he was “feeling better” he would have an excuse to be in the office alone. Alone and free to transfer money at will.
Yes, nature knew. Even now she was plotting to cover the streets with snow and ice. His car would loose traction. He would die before he reached the office.
Drake shook off the morbid thoughts. He would go to the office. He would do the deed.
Unless God intervened.
Where did that come from? But Drake knew. How many times had he heard his sister say that? “Unless God intervenes!” Always with that twinkle of confidence in her eye.
But there would be no miraculous intervention today. Drake had turned from God long ago.
The electric man sighed and climbed out of his truck, glancing once more at the paper. 12134 NE Maple Rd. Outstanding bill. Cut off power. He hated this part of his job, especially in winter. He gave a quick prayer for the residents as he flipped the switch by 12143 and tromped back to the pickup.
It was growing dark. Drake could barely make out the snow that still fell. He felt sick, but flipped on the kitchen light and pulled a frozen turkey dinner out anyway. The turkey reminded him; he needed to tell his sister Sarah he wouldn’t be there for Thanksgiving this year, either. He didn’t want to face her. Didn’t want her to see into his empty soul. A soul that would be stained with crime as soon as he finished this meal.
The microwave stopped mid-beep, the words “TURN OVER” fading even as the lights went out. All was deathly quiet. Drake sank into a chair, covering his face with his hands.
Unless God intervenes.
It was pitch dark when he rose heavily and fumbled for the phone. His fingers found the lit keys easily. “Kevin? I’m not going through with it.”
The second number was harder to find. He had to use his cigarette lighter to locate the yellowed card. “Sarah? I just wanted to tell you that I’ll be there for Thanksgiving.”
There were still lights on. David hurried for the front door, nearly twisting his ankle in the slick snow. “Annette? What happened?”
Her face was shining. “God heard us--the power is still on!”
He smiled. Really smiled.
Annette was singing softly as she handed David a cup of tea. She bent to straighten their mother’s cap and gasped slightly. “Look, David. Her hair is growing back!”
His mother would wear a crown of glory as she entered heaven’s gates.
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