Chapter Five

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His sudden outburstcould be heard throughout the house. "No! I don't want to go livewith them! I want to stay here!"

The Benton's whowere downstairs waiting so share breakfast with the family all liftedtheir eyes to the ceiling.

"Mama?" Juliaturned her face to her mother. "What's wrong with Eric?"

"He's just alittle upset, baby. He's gonna be alright."

"Eric," Nana satdown on his bed. She rubbed the mattress and fought against the tearschoking in her throat. This was my son's bed. "Eric,Nana and Papa are too old to raise you."

"No you're not!"He threw his arms around her. "Nana, I want to stay with you."Tears fell from his eyes and soaked her shoulder.

She held him closeand let him cry. It was the first sign of real grief the boy hadshown. She sniffed the sweet, shampoo smell of his just washed hairand cherished the way it felt to hold him. She didn't want him to goeither, but sometimes the right decisions are the hardest. She lether tears run down her check. A few landed on his head and shoulder.

Several minutespassed. She pushed him back, and dried his and her faces with herapron. "Baby, we aren't gonna be separated forever. Papa and I willvisit. We will see each other on Christmas and I won't miss any ofyour birthdays. I promise. You're my baby, right?"

He nodded his head.

"It's not like youare going to live with strangers. You'll have brothers and a sisterand you'll make new friends."

He bowed his head."Can I take Daddy's bed with me?" He looked up and his eyesstared into hers. "Can I, Nana?"

She gave him a sadsmile. "You can take anything you want." She stood and held outher hand. "Come on, let's go have some breakfast with the Bentons.They will be leaving soon."

"When do I have togo Nana." He rubbed a hand over his nose.

"In two days. Somemen from church are meeting Papa at your house to pack up yourfurniture in a U-haul trailer Papa is going to rent. I'll tell Papayou want to take your daddy's bed." She rubbed his head. "You'llhave to sleep in Nana's bed tomorrow night."

"I like sleepingwith you." He smiled up at her. "You're warm."

She laughed. She wasgoing to miss her grandson so much. Maybe I'll put my foot downand keep you here.

They stepped out ofthe room and continued down to the kitchen.

"Your Papa and Iwill be driving you up there in our car. Two of the deacons are goingto be driving behind us pulling the U-haul trailer."

She sat down in herchair lift and pulled Eric up onto her lap.

Eric rested his head against her chest. He loved the way Nanasmelled. He didn't want to leave. He didn't want to lose his Nanatoo.

He sat quietlyduring the breakfast. He barely even looked at the Bentons sittingaround the dinning room table. He was glad when they left. Mrs.Benton's last words to him were, "Eric, when you get to Knoxville,we will have a room ready for you to move your things into. You willhave your own room."

I already have myown room, and he prayed the next two days would last forever.

The next day, Marciestood in the bedroom her two sons, Daniel and Jacob, shared. It hadbeen planned to move Daniel into the fourth bedroom. Joshua had beenusing it as an office, but was willing to give it up for his andMarcie's peace of mind. Daniel had reached the age of the protestingteen.

"I don't know whyhe gets his own room." Fourteen year old Daniel complained. "I'mfourteen. I don't want to be stuck in a room with my little brotherforever. He annoys me."

Marcie rolled hereyes and wrapped her arms around her tall, hormonally challenged son.He tried to pull away, but for a few moments she held him tight. Shegave him a kiss on the head and released him. "You are old enoughto understand how it must be for Eric. He just lost his parents. Putyourself in his place."


"Daniel, we haveto help Eric adjust. He's moving in with us and is going to become apart of this family. He's bringing his father's furniture. He needsto feel the closeness to his Dad. Just imagine, Daniel, of not havingyour daddy anymore."

He frowned at thethought. "I guess, I can stand being in the same room with Jacob alittle longer." He gave his mother a sad smile. "I don't likeit."

Marcie ruffled hiscurly blonde hair. "Thank you."

He grinned at her."You're welcome, Mom." He did something he rarely did any more.He hugged her. "I love you."

She smiled proudlyat him. "I love you too. Now, let's get the spare room ready forEric. He'll be here tomorrow."

Eric sat on thefloor in his father's old room. His dad's bed and a few pieces of hisdad's furniture was in the trailer sitting in the driveway. It alsocontained things from his house. There was a desk and a large tablefor his Lego toys from his room His toy box had been loaded alongwith boxes of some of his other toys and clothes. One small suitcasesat beside him. It was the one he had always used when he came tospend the night here at Nana's. In it he had some of his specialthings. Things he wanted to keep close so they wouldn't get lost. Inhis hand he held a framed picture of his parents and him. It was thelast picture he could remember ever being taken of the three of themtogether. It had been taken in June on the front porch of the church,where his father had served as a deacon. Eric had never known anyother church. He had always thought he would go there forever andbecome a deacon just like his dad. The picture was supposed to beplaced in a hallway at the church. All the members had their picturestaken every few years to be placed there. Pastor Mark, a kind,gentle, man who pastored the church, had given it to Eric to keep.

In the picture, theywere standing on the church porch in front of the doors. Azaleabushes were growing on either side of the building. Their full bloomsof pink and white blossoms framed the sides of the photo. Eric stoodin front. His mother was to his left and his father at his right.They both had a hand on his shoulder and all three were wearing bigsmiles.

He gazed lovingly athis mother with a sadness in his heart. He thought her beautiful inthe pastel green dress she wore. The white, costume necklace andmatching earrings accented her pretty face. Her eyes were sparklingand she almost seemed to be smiling back at him.

His father stoodproudly behind him and Eric felt he could remember every moment thetwo of them had spent together. He could remember all the things hisfather had taught him, every joke he told or played, and even thetimes he had been angry. Eric touched his finger to his father's faceand closed his eyes.

The accident flashedthrough his mind. His father had been the first to scream as he triedto maneuver their car away from the driver headed toward them.

A tear ran down hischeek. "Why did you take my mama and daddy away, God?"

His Nana appeared inthe doorway. "Eric, are you ready to go?"

He looked up at her.Tears were running down his face. "Nana, I'm scared."

Tears filled hereyes. "Come here, baby."

He stood and walkedover to her and welcomed her embrace. He was going to miss the wayshe smelled. He was going to miss the softness of her skin. He feltlike he was losing her too. He felt as if he was losing everything."I wish I had died too."

The old woman wentto her knees in front of him. She held his face in her hands and shelooked into his brown eyes. "Don't ever say that, Eric. Don't everwish such things. God has a plan for you. Sometimes things seem to begoing wrong, but God is in control of your life. You are going tomake some bad decisions along the way. You're going to have good andbad things happen, but don't ever forget who knows all, and sees all.The Lord is always there."

He threw his armsaround her and began to cry on her shoulder. She held him close andlet his tears fall. She knew he had needed another good cry. Tearscan be healing at times. There was no better time to cry than whenyou grieve.

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