Finally Home: Part 4
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Natalie slapped the alarm's snooze button and proceeded to go back to sleep. Just as her head was hitting the pillow, a realization hit her: today was the big day! She bolted out of bed in a flash, realizing that there was work to be done! But what day was it exactly? The last few days had seemed like a blur to Natalie. She knew there was work to be done, but she couldn't figure out what.
She proceeded to the kitchen where she was hoping to relieve her empty stomach; she was absolutely starving. Visions of pancakes and eggs filled her mind as she nearly stumbled, half-asleep, over a box that was sitting in the middle of the floor. "What's that doing there?" she thought. It took her a moment to get her bearings, but when she did, she realized that this was the box of medicine that she had received the day before from the medical center. Slowly, the realization hit her: She was going to help James today! There was no time to lose; it was already 6:45. That only gave her a little over an hour before she would have to be at James' door step! "I can do this!" Natalie tried to convince herself as she pulled open the refridgerator door. She wanted some eggs, but there were no more, so she glanced at the shelf where the milk was usually kept in hopes of having some cereal -- empty! "I guess I'll have to go to the store this morning!" she mumbled flatly to herself. But then, she dashed up the stairs; she would have to quickly get herself ready if she was to be at her appointment on time AND go to the store first! The car rolled smoothly along the paved roads. The roadway was full of cars impatiently waiting to pass each other in an effort to reach their destinations on time! Natalie was oblivous to it all. Her radio blasted out praises to God. Music was something that was very special to Natalie, because it helped her to take the focus off of herself and worship God. A song based on Isaiah 41:10 was playing: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed. I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness." Natalie began to belt out this praise to God. "I will strengthen you. I will help you. Thank you, Lord," she prayed. She was so caught up in the beauty of God's Presence that she almost missed her exit! She veered off to the right just in time!
Upon reaching the store, Natalie parked in her usual spot: near the back of the parking lot, not that it was a big parking lot, but she liked to get her exercise that way! As she walked, she passed an employee carrying a few boxes of supplies. "Hello, Natalie," he called cheerfully. "Hi, Carl," Natalie greeted. She smiled. This was what she liked about Bedford; since it was a small town, everyone knew each other. "The manager has been asking about you," Carl said. "Oh?" Natalie inquired. "He's heard about your new job," he explained. "Word travels fast in this town," Natalie stated. "Well, Thanks, Carl." "No problem. See you around." Reaching the store's entrance, Natalie pulled the door open and stepped inside. "Ring-Ring!" a bell clanged making the store aware that someone had entered. The store manager was behind a counter on the phone. Looking up, he smiled and held up a finger indicating for Natalie to wait a moment. "I'm sorry, Mr. Peterson, but I can't help you," he said. "I understand, sir, but you can't mix medications. You will be receiving a new supply within the hour. Until then, I am powerless to supply you with these pill according to law. Goodbye." He hung up the phone in disgust. "Good morning, Bill. Beautiful day, isn't it?" Natalie greeted. "Yes, beautiful. But for some people, life is ugly," he stated gruffly. "What do you mean?" Natalie asked. "Well, you see, there's this Mr. Peterson fella. He calls here all the time asking for pain pills, but he already receives medicine from the clinic. By law, I can't give him those pills; that's an overdose, and I'd be jailed if I did. Even so, Mr. Peterson keeps pestering me about it! I don't understand him," Bill responded in frustration. "Who is Mr. Peterson, exactly?" asked Natalie curiously. "Well, now, young lady, that's exactly why I wanted to see you; I hear you have some kind of assignment that has to do with him." "Him? You mean James?" Natalie responded wide-eyed. "That's the one," Bill responded sarcastically. "What do you know about him?" Natalie quizzed. "Years ago, he used to be a nice fella. Went to church with his family every Sunday. He was a good man; I used to know him. He was the kindest soul you ever did see. But then one day, he started questioning his faith in God. The two of us got into an argument over it. He got so mad that he stormed off. He never did tell me what was going on. Now, I only hear from him when he wants those pills." Bill said the last sentence as if he had a bad taste in his mouth. "That man smells trouble," he added. "But what did you come in here for, young lady; I know you didn't come in here just to hear me gab," Bill smiled. "I need some milk and eggs, please," Natalie requested. This was something that Natalie loved about this store. Since she lived in the heart of Texas, other chain stores where miles away; Bill's Drug Store functioned as the general store. And as a part of store policy, if Bill knew you, he'd get your groceries for you! "Coming right up!" Bill winked at her. He disappeared into the store pantry and reappeared a few minutes later with the goods. "There you are, Natalie. That'll be $8.00." After shuffling through her purse, Natalie found the money and paid the bill. Just as she was getting ready to walk out the door, something struck her: "Bill, how did you know?" "Know what?" Bill asked with a questioning look. "How did you know that I was on a special assignment?" "Oh, Mr. Neuman told me. He knows what's been happening with Mr. Peterson and all," Bill replied. "Oh. Thanks for the chat, Bill," Natalie said as she smiled at her friend. "You are very welcome, young lady. Come back soon, and let me know how it goes. And don't you worry; your secret safe with me."