Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 3- Heaven Everywhere Installment Four

**

We didn’t get to England until around midnight our time. I collapsed in the guest bedroom bed without a second thought.

I woke up in the morning to something warm on my lips. My hands were holding onto something and in total shock I dropped it.

CRASH!!!

I looked at the hot chocolate that was all over the floor. I wasn’t in the guest bedroom but the kitchen. How had I ended up here? I turned around and found that I had torn up the pantry looking for a hot chocolate packet.

“Natalie,” Momma said walking down the steps.

I felt embarrassed that I had no idea how I got here. I promised myself then and there not to tell her that I had no idea how I got down here. How embarrassing would that be?

“It’s ok, Riley,” Grandma Baldwin said walking down the steps. “It was just an accident? Right, love?”

I nodded not trusting myself to speak.

“But she tore up your pantry and then dropped her mug!” Momma shouted. She sounded mad. I looked down. If I told her now that I had no idea how I got down here she wouldn’t believe me.

“It’s all right,” Grandma Baldwin assured Momma. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting a cup of coco and I’m sure Natalie didn’t purposely drop the mug.”

Momma looked at me and sighed.

“What do you want to do today on your first day in England?” Grandma Baldwin asked me as she got out a broom and some towels.

“Who’s Rhys Smith?” I asked. “In one of my daddy’s letters he asked me to find him.”

“Rhys lives not too far from us,” Grandma Baldwin said. “But you’ll have to visit him on tomorrow. Tuesdays are his day off.”

I nodded.

“Then there’s this place that used to be a dump,” I started. Grandma Baldwin’s face lit up.

“Alexander used to call it a little piece of heaven on earth,” Grandma Baldwin said. “Your Aunt Louise and your Grandfather have been taking care of the place ever since your father left England. Your father took you there your first Christmas. The look on his face was pure joy. I’ll send you with your Grandfather and Louise this afternoon.”

I was about to ask about this Aunt Louise of mine, but Grandma Baldwin answered for me.

“You don’t know about Louise and Cerys!” Grandma Baldwin shouted. “Louise and Cerys are your father’s younger sisters. You have to meet them! They haven’t seen you since that first Christmas! Oh they are going to make a fuss over you! Oh I have to ring them!”

Grandma Baldwin grabbed her phone and quickly called my two aunts.

“They’re on their way,” Grandma Baldwin said excitedly. “Oh I feel so terrible! Cerys didn’t even know you were coming to England!”

A small little red car appeared and a small woman ran out of the car and burst into the house.

“What happened to her foot, mum?” The brown haired woman asked Grandma Baldwin.

“I slipped,” I said not wanting to get into the full story.

“Hullo,” The woman said to me. “I’m Cerys. You must be Natalie. You’re a lot bigger than you were that holiday.”

“And so are you!” Momma cried. “How old are you now?”

“Twenty-five,” Aunt Cerys smiled.

“Wow, so you were what? Thirteen?” Momma asked. Aunt Cerys nodded.

“That’s why they call me the baby,” Aunt Cerys said. “So were you taking her?”

“She’s going to the garden today,” Grandma Baldwin said. “They need to rest, girl! They just got here four hours ago!”

“Mum, she’s already seen the garden,” Aunt Cerys said. “Or was it too dark?”

“Not the yard, love. Alexander’s Garden,” Grandma Baldwin said.

“I want to go!” Aunt Cerys shouted like a little kid.

“Talk to Louise,” Grandma Baldwin said. Just at that moment a woman who I assumed was Aunt Louise walked into the house carrying a photo album.

“Oh my goodness!” She cried. Tears mounted into her eyes.

“I know,” Grandma Baldwin said.

“She looks just like him!” Aunt Louise cried. She dropped the photo album.

“Oh me!” Aunt Louise cried picking up the album. “I found some old photos that I thought you may want.” Aunt Louise handed Momma the album.

“Oh! They’re from Natalie’s first Christmas!” Momma cried opening the album.

“What first Christmas?” I blurted out.

“Right after you were born we came to England for Christmas,” Momma said flipping through the album. “Where did you find this?”

“In my basement,” Aunt Louise coughed. “DAD!”

Grandpa Baldwin walked down the steps with a bottle of weed killer in his hands.

“I’m ready to go,” Grandpa Baldwin said.

“Ready to go where?” Mr. Steve asked walking down the steps.

“It’s none of your business!” I cried.

“Natalie!” Momma cried looking up from the album.

I walked out the door and then realized I was in my pajamas. I walked back into the house and ignored Mr. Steve helping clean up the coco.

I got dressed and grabbed the treasure map.

“They went ahead,” Grandma Baldwin said when I asked were Grandpa Baldwin and Aunt Louise went. “The birds wait for no one.”

I showed her the map.

“Follow the map,” Grandma Baldwin smiled. “Nothing’s changed.”

I followed the map and I soon found myself in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.

“Welcome to Alexander’s Garden,” Aunt Louise smiled.

“My dad did this?” I asked sitting on a bench.

“Yup, he spent most of his last years in England making this place beautiful,” Aunt Louise said. Tears were mounted in her eyes.

“Let’s take a picture for the picture board!” Grandpa Baldwin shouted taking out a camera. Grandpa Baldwin took a picture of me smiling as wide as I ever smiled before.

“Come see the picture board,” Grandpa Baldwin said. The picture board was at the edge of the garden near a little grave.

“When we learned that your father’s body was completely destroyed we thought we’d honor him a little here,” Aunt Louise said. Tears were streaming down her face. I looked up at the picture board and the last picture on it was was picture of my father holding me as a baby. I had seen the picture before but it never made me cry before.

I stayed there all day and all day I felt like I was with my dad again.

 

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