Chasity has been having this call again feeling, so when she wakes up, she calls Asia’s parent’s house again. And boy is she glad that she listened to God’s nudging and dialed the number now because
someone answers. Asia says, “hello”? “Um, my name is Chasity and I’m an old friend of Asia’s”, and before she could finish, she hears Asia scream with joy on the other end. “Chasity, girl, it is so good to hear from you, it’s me Asia! I can’t believe it! How are you and your family?” “ We’re as good as to be expected, considering the tumultuous circumstances of today’s world. The Lord has favored us and he still is because I’m actually talking to you. How are you and your family?” The years just melt away as Asia listens to her childhood friend talk. Chasity still sounds serious, and Asia thinks her friend always sounded serious. And with a lowered tone Asia says, “well Chasity, girl, even though this is a sad occasion, the Lord is good. I’m at my parent’s house because they both just died. I’m here helping my brothers make their funeral arrangements. The rest of my family is okay”. With her hand on her heart, Chasity responds, “Asia, I’m so sorry, when is the funeral?” “Well, since today’s Tuesday, the wake and viewing will probably be on Friday. At least I hope so. You know it’s hard getting a hold of everyone we need right now because of the storm damage and all”. Chasity can hear the stress in her friend’s voice and she says, “Asia, let me say a prayer, Lord, father, God almighty we pray for you to give us the strength and guidance we need to live the best we can, and by
putting you first in these end days and times”. They both say, “Amen”. Asia says, “Chasity, give me your number and I’ll give you mine so we can speak later”. She gets a pen and paper from her purse and writes down Chasity’s number then gives Chasity hers. Asia hangs up her mother’s phone in a daze.
After the phone call, Chasity’s emotions and feelings are all over the place. First she’s excited and elated, then grateful and gratified, and finally sad and somber. She’s excited because she can now put her prayed for plan into action, and elated for having spoken to and heard her good friend’s voice. She is so grateful to the Lord for showing her in what direction to proceed, that she exalts and gratifies his name. And she’s sad for her friend’s sorrow. But the most important feeling Chasity has is that she finally made contact with Asia, and it is a step in the right direction. Harry was listening to His wife’s conversation with Asia. At least the part he could hear, and he is curious as to what’s going to happen. So he asks, “well, how is Asia”? “She’s here in the city at her parent’s house. They both passed away, Harry”. Chasity says this with a sorrowful look on her face, and continues, “I feel so bad for her. She said both of them passed away at the same time”. “Was it from an accident?” “No, one just died right after the other one did”. Shocked, Troy says, “Wow!” because he doesn’t know what else to say after hearing something like that. Talking fast and nonstop, Chasity replies, “I know, that’s how I feel. She’s going to call me to let me know what the arrangements are. I’m so glad I found her. You know the Lord anointed the call, and He’s going to bless our meeting too. You just watch and see”. Harry gets up and says, “that’s good Chas, I’m so glad”. He pats her on the leg and leaves their room with her still talking.
Harry’s oversized bulk makes him wobble as he slowly walks to the bathroom. It has been difficult doing things with the electricity out, and the gas still cut off. He huffs and puffs as he lifts up the bucket of water and pours some of it into the toilet bowl to flush down his pee. He then rinses his hands in the sink that’s already filled with a little water, and thinks to himself, he doesn’t want to know if it could get
any worse than this. He goes to the kitchen and pulls out some bread to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He’s been eating a lot of these lately, and now he’s getting tired of it. Some of the fast food restaurants have opened back up, but he has to save money so they had to cut back on buying unnecessary junk. He could not remember being so hungry in a long time. Once when he was a little boy and his mother ran out of food stamps, they didn’t have anything to eat for two days. He remembers being hungry then, but that was a long time ago. As an adult, when he’s hungry, he eats. And everyone that knows him knows he can put away some food. He’s used to eating stuff like four eggs, six pieces of bacon, and four slices of toast with two cups of coffee to gulp it down for breakfast, not peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He hears his wife behind him and knows she had to go through the same bathroom routine as him.
When Chasity enters the kitchen, Harry is already eating at the table in the living room. He sees her and begins getting up, “Chas, I didn’t know that you were right behind me, I’ll fix you a sandwich”. She waves her hand in the air and says, “no, Harry, I’ll make some for me and the kids. You finish eating”. He drops his large bulk back in the chair as he hears one of his children use the bathroom. It’s their daughter, Caitlin who’s up first. She says, “good morning mommy and daddy”. “Good morning, sugar”, Chasity replies back to her daughter and hugs her as Caitlin hugs her back. “Good morning, Cait”, Harry greets his daughter by using her abbreviated nickname. He abbreviates the names of all his family members. “Where’s your brother Jake?” “Here I am Dad”, says Jacob sneaking up behind their backs and surprising everyone. Chasity turns around and sees her son and says, “good morning. I’m making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for you and your sister”. “Thanks mommy”, they both reply. Jacob sits down at the table with his father while Caitlin helps her mother by pouring she and her brother some room temperature apple juice. Chasity hands her a sandwich and tells Jacob to come get his own sandwich and juice.
The three of them join Harry at the table to eat and after saying grace, no one speaks until everyone is finished eating.
This time, Harry breaks the food silence and says, “kids, your mom’s finally gotten a hold of and spoken to her friend, Ms. Asia”. He refers to Asia as Ms. because he’s talking to his children. Caitlin’s head whips around extremely fast to look directly at her mom and squeals, “when mom?” “I spoke to her this morning, Cait, and I got her number now. She and her family are in the city for a funeral. I’m sorry to say that her parents just passed away”. “Oh, mommy, I’m sorry too”, Caitlin replies with a sad look on her face. Jacob chimes in, “I’m sorry too”. Chasity continues with, “we’ll all be going to the funeral probably by the end of the week. I’m not going to say anything else to Asia until after she buries her folks”. Harry jumps in with, “I think that’s a good idea, but you need to tell her about your intentions and our needs soon”. “I know, Harry, I will as soon as it’s permissible”, Chasity replies with a sigh. She knows that she and her family are desperate to get out of the city and Asia is her only hope. She just wishes, no, not just wishes, but hope and prays that Asia and her family will take in hers. This is what’s on her mind as the Cromwells prepare to leave their apartment and go out and practically beg, plead and fight for the supplies they need to survive.
Going outside is a challenge for Chasity and Harry with the elevators still not running. They are both so overweight that by the time they reach the lobby of their building, they are out of breath. They are huffing and puffing and this is only going down the stairs. Chasity’s bad leg is aching so much that she immediately makes her way to the benches on the walkway and sits down. This is the third day that they are being forced to venture out and deal with these trying conditions. They have now become scavengers like many others who are desperately scrounging around for water and needed supplies. Catching her breath and apologizing to her family, Chasity says, “I’m sorry guys, but my leg is acting up”. “That’s okay mommy”, Caitlin says as she goes over to her mother and rubs her leg trying to soothe her.
Harry and Jacob stand in front of them and impatiently wait for no one wants to be outside.
And just as predicted, Chasity’s neighborhood is in turmoil as is almost every neighborhood in the city. Some people are walking around in a daze, some are waiting in long lines to get money from the ATM’s and banks that are open, some are in line to get into stores that barely have any merchandise left, while others are on line to get either gas or water. Many gas stations have already run out of gas, so the ones that do have some, have lines two to three blocks long. Soon they will be out of gas too. Harry hasn’t even thought about getting gas because alternate sides of the street parking rules have been suspended due to the hurricane damage, so he hasn’t touched his car for several days. It’s parked around the corner from his building and he goes to check on it. He looks at it and everything seems to be okay. He thinks he should buy a gas canister and stand on the gas line today, and Chasity should wait on the water line instead of preaching, and he says this to Chasity. “Chas, I’m gonna buy a gas canister and try to get some gas”. “I didn’t know you don’t have any gas?” “I do, but I think I should get more and you should stand on the water line today”. “Okay, I’ll have Caitlin and Jacob stand on the line while I sit on the bench watching them because it’s becoming more hectic out here”, Chasity replies with a sigh. Harry dreads to think what will happen if the fire hydrants run out of water.
Even though it seems like there are five cops at every corner, crime is still rampant. Fights are breaking out all over. The cops have to break up a fight where two men are fighting over who jumped who in line for the gas. A lady tries to take a bucket of water from a child. Three teenagers are beating up a man who supposedly attacked their mother. Chasity forgets the pain in her leg for a moment and runs over to defend Caitlin when a crazed out woman tries to push her off the water line and take her place. “What do you think you’re doing?!” Chasity screams at the woman, “my daughter was here first!” Chasity, Caitlin, Jacob and the woman get into a tussle and the woman ends up on the ground. Some of the neighbors who know the Cromwells help Chasity and her
children by pinning the woman to the ground and waiting for one of the officers to arrive. But an officer never comes because they are too busy with other more serious incidents like a man who is waving a gun around. So the woman is just forced to leave by the crowd.
Chasity looks around at the horribly, volatile and dangerous environment and begins preaching right where she stands, shouting Ephesians 6:10-19, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel”. Chasity recites these verses from memory for she doesn’t even open up the Bible which remains clutched tightly in her hand. It was there when she was struggling with the woman. This time, no one tells her to shut up. Everyone instead listens intently to her preaching because they realize these are the words they need to hear and some of them recite out loud along with her as she finishes, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. A-men”!
Chasity stays standing on line now with her kids until it’s their time to get water. She doesn’t continue preaching loudly but nevertheless, she still prays softly for she and some people around her to hear. They
fill up two buckets and head towards the building to wait for Harry to return. Harry returns, but this time empty handed. He explains that he wasn’t able to get a gas canister and that there were too many dangerous occurrences for him to get any more supplies. “I guess we’re going to have to do with what we have”, says Chasity with a kind of worried look on her face. Caitlin and Jacob look worried too after hearing their dad and seeing their mother. Harry sighs, takes a bucket from Chasity, and they all head upstairs with Jacob carrying the other bucket of water. “Well”, says Harry with another heavy sigh, “at least we have some fresh water”. Caitlin and Jacob walk in front, Harry behind them, and Chasity takes up the rear as they trudge up the five flight of stairs to their apartment.
As soon as Chasity puts the key in their apartment door, Gladys opens up her front door to catch the Cromwells before they could enter their apartment. “Hi guys”, she says as she looks at the two water buckets. “Hi Gladys”, Chasity greets her neighbor, then Harry says, “what’s up?”, and finally the kids say, “hi, Ms. Gladys”. “How did it go out there today?”, she speaks directly to Chasity who responds with, “I’m sorry to say, not so good. We weren’t able to get any more supplies nor food. We only got water”. “Oh, I’m so sorry”, Gladys says with her hand out waiting for either Jacob or Harry to give her a bucket. Harry mumbles something to himself as he hands Gladys his bucket. “Thanks”, she says, then goes back to her apartment and closes the door. Harry is furious and says, “you know Chas, that friend of yours takes advantage of our generosity because she knows we’re Christians”. “I know, Harry, but one day soon she’s going to be sorry, and that day is coming sooner than we think”, Chasity says this with a heavy heart for she feels sad for her friend. She thinks something is going on because Gladys’ children don’t come to the door and speak anymore. They stay inside now every time Gladys comes with her hand out for whatever she and Harry can give. And this is what she’s thinking as they enter the apartment and she closes her door on her friend for hopefully one of the last times there.