The alarm went off and, I groaned. I looked at the clock. I had only gotten three hours of sleep.
“Is it time already?” Abby whined walking down the steps.
“Rise and shine! It’s Easter Sunday!” Momma shouted walking down the steps. “Sunrise Service is at five-thirty!”
“Do we have to go?” I groaned getting up off the couch.
“Yep,” Momma said. “You’re in the Easter show you have to go.”
“Who’s ready for church?” Jaci asked walking down the steps fully dressed.
“How can you be so alert after three hours of sleep?” I asked slowly taking my suitcase from under the couch.
“I didn’t go to sleep,” Jaci said. “I figured I’d get some sleep on the flight to England after church.”
“Still aren’t you tired?” I asked taking out my Easter dress.
“Nope, I had what do you call it……coffee! Yeah, I had two cups of coffee,” Jaci said.
“Can I have a cup of coffee?” I asked.
“Sure,” Momma shrugged. “I’ll make you a cup. Now go change!”
I changed into my dress and walked into the restaurant.
“Here,” Momma said handing me a cup of coffee.
“Yuck!” I screamed after I swallowed some coffee. I took another sip.
“Why are you still drinking?” Abby asked laughing.
“Cause I need to stay awake,” I said.
“Here,” Momma said pulling a Coke out of the fridge. “Now, I want you to understand this is a special and isolated event. I just don’t want you falling asleep during church. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” I said taking the Coke and putting the coffee down.
“Now come on,” Jaci shouted picking up her purse. “Or we’ll be late for church.”
“You did a wonderful job, Sean.”
Sean smiled at Momma.
“I didn’t know you could sing,” Aunt Jane said to her.
“We didn’t know either,” Mrs. Rivers laughed. She gave Sean a squeeze.
“Our girl is full of surprises,” Mr. Rivers smiled. “Just last week she cooked breakfast for our Anniversary.”
Sean looked at him and then turned away. She had tears in her eyes.
“You did good too, Natalie,” Aunt Jane said. I laughed.
“All I did was sing along in the choir,” I said.
“Being in the choir is important too,” Sean spoke up.
“Thanks,” I smiled.
“We better get moving,” Momma said looking at her watch. “Our plane leaves in three hours.”
“We’ll be praying for ya’ll!” Aunt Jane screamed running towards her car. Virginia, her brother, and her sister tried to catch up with her.
“See you when you return,” Mrs. Rivers smiled. “Hope you have a wonderful time.”
“Thanks!” Momma shouted. “See you next Monday!”
“See you!” The Rivers shouted.
“I planned to give you this last night but we stayed so long at the reception that by the time we got home I was too exhausted to walk up the stairs,” Momma said handing me two envelopes. “It doesn’t matter really which one you open first.”
I nodded and got into the car. We were about to drive to the airport.
“We ready?” Mr. Steve asked.
I nodded and got into the car.
“See you when you get back!” Regina, Ms. Donna, Nelson, and Darcy shouted waving.
“Bye!” I cried sticking my head out of the window. I blew kisses.
“Natalie!” Mr. Steve shouted. I put my head back in the car and huffed.
I opened one of the letters and nearly cried when I was finished reading it.
Natalie, I want to start off this letter by telling you that I love you. When you’re finished with this letter, you might find that hard to believe, but believe me, Natalie, I love you more than you will ever know.
Life is about to change for you. Your mother has just gotten married and you’re probably not the happiest person in the world about it. Now don’t go mopping around. I want you to be happy for her. I’ve already said that but it’s so important that I must repeat it.
I want you to call your new stepfather ‘Dad’. Now I know this may seem impossible and I’ll tell you what. I’ll let you do it on your own time. But you must do it someday. Please respect my wishes.
No. Never. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not even next year. No, I will never call Mr. Steve anything close to father or dad.
I didn’t want to open the next envelope out of fear but I did open it. My fingers were trembling and Jaci looked at me.
“Are you ok?” She asked.
“I’m fine,” I said taking two pieces of paper out of the envelope.
One of the pieces of paper was an old looking treasure map. The other was another letter from my father.
So you’re going to England. One of my favorite things to do was too look for heaven everywhere and in everybody. Ok, I know that sound strange but it really is fun. What you do is you look for the good wherever you go and in everybody you meet. Some days I would just look into the persons eyes and sense that they had potential. I would walk up to them and the in a few hours I would know everything about them and them everything about me. It’s really amazing how God works.
I tell you the truth, Natalie. I truly believe that there is a little bit of heaven everywhere. So look around every corner. Look into everybody’s eyes and what you will find will amaze you. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Even the worst looking place/person can be transformed. I should know. While you’re in England I want you to do two things. First I want you to go to that place on that map. It used to be a dump. It’s not that far from my house so you can imagine the joy we felt when that dump was closed. I cleaned it up in my teen years. It’s beautiful now. I also want you to find Rhys Smith. Don’t worry. Your grandparents will know where he is and who he is.
At the time I had no clue what finding Heaven everywhere meant. Now, I know what he meant and boy was he ever right.