The Cup Bearer
Manuel burst into laughter. "Surely you don't let your wife -."
"Of course not," Don chuckled. "Cissy was an investigator for an international insurance firm before we married; working all over the world. I couldn't have picked a better partner for what Gypsy and I have set out to do. She has lots of contacts that have come in very useful. We've already got a few leads to chase and we can't delay things for too long or the trail will grow too cold. Cissy's got a good nose for the job and I let her do the leading. She conducts the chase because she already knows the law in each country we visit. That's why she's the boss." He rose to his feet and clapped Manuel on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Manuel, we'll sort something out. You go ahead and catch your flight."
"Does your wife know what happened between you and Gypsy?"
"She knows about my affair with Gypsy, yes. And she's accepted it."
Don knew there would be a lot of listening to do while Little Bro revealed his most secret thoughts. There would be more tears as well, and tomorrow would be only the beginning of a long and painful journey for both of them. There was no way he could leave, no matter what Cissy said, until Gypsy began the road to recovery. Thankfully, Cissy agreed they should stay and came up with a plan of her own.
The following morning, at precisely nine o'clock, a life-saving operation began in one of the admission cubicles. All the attending medical staff wore full theatre greens and facemasks. The patient was wheeled in on a small trolley covered in green sterile cloths. Percy Senior gazed round at his team. "Good morning everyone, this is a rather complicated operation dealing with the repairing of several damaged internal organs and the saving of the two broken limbs, namely the right leg and the left arm. Doctor Cecilia Clooney will perform the operation and I shall assist. Are we all ready?"
There were nods all round and the visiting surgeon went to work, asking for the required instruments, which were slapped into her waiting hands. Sutures of synthetic cotton were cut to exacting lengths and replacement organs of the soft and fluffy kind soon inserted into the body of the patient. The operation took forty-one minutes precisely during which the smallest of the nurses, also wearing her nurse's uniform and a facemask, stood on a stool across the table from the surgeon, her worry filled eyes closely following everything being done to save the patient's life. At the end of the operation, the patient was gently bandaged and transferred to the trolley to be wheeled to the children's ward. The tiny nurse was lifted down from the stool and she walked solemnly beside the trolley and assisted in transferring the patient to a doll's cot in her own room. A chair was placed by the cot, and the tiny nurse sat down to begin her vigil. Doctor Clooney assured her that the patient would recover and the bandages could be removed in about a week's time, but only if Nurse Lucia took great care of him.
Doctor Clooney walked out of the ward and joined Percy Senior on his way to his office. "Thank you, Mr. Rosscroft. Our little venture worked out quite well, both for the patient and owner, don't you?"
Percy gave her a conspiratorial wink. "I never could resist a child's tears, or a request from such a beautiful surgeon."
"Flatterer; will you be attending the next surprise?"
"I rather think I will be otherwise occupied with an urgent hip replacement for a dear old lady friend of mine." Percy returned Cissy's smile. "I'm sure you and Miss Gomez can cope." With a flourish, Percy kissed Cissy's hand, and they went their separate ways.
Saturday 6th April 1996
Gypsy wandered out onto the terrace outside his suite and walked a little way along until he reached his favourite bench under the music room window. There was too much time to brood about Don and Cissy's departure which would surely come once his dad returned. His father had arrived home for the weekend but had another four days of European concerts to do. After that, Don and Cissy would leave for Germany and didn't know when they would be back. How he would cope without Don once more he did not know. It was bad enough Don and Cissy taking a weekend break while Manuel was here. He sat down on the bench and lowered his head to his hands. "If you're real, God, please help me."
"He'll do that too."
Startled, Gypsy lifted his head and stared in disbelief as a large man, in a smart grey suit and a cream hat and trench coat, approaching the bench. "Elijah!" Gypsy wondered if his eyes were troubling him, the preacher's appearance seemed to be a bit fuzzy.
"In person." The old preacher smiled and sat down beside Gypsy.
"What happened to the tramp?"
"It's a case of dressing to suit the occasion, wouldn't you say? How did I find you? I followed my nose. How did I know you wanted to talk to me again?" Gypsy pointed a finger at the sky. "Got it in one, sport." Elijah laughed and pulled out a battered Bible from the depths of his coat. He opened it and turned the pages, stopping at a much-marked page before handing the bible to Gypsy. "Psalm twenty-two, verses one to eleven. Read it to me."
Gypsy began to read aloud. " My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night and am not silent."
"Is that how you're feeling right now?" Elijah cut in. "On your own, and don't know which way to turn?"
Gypsy felt a lump come into his throat and nodded. That was exactly how he felt. Elijah indicated that Gypsy should carry on reading. "Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust, they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads; He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him, since he delights in him." Yeah! That was exactly how he had felt the day he gone back to school on that fateful Monday. "Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God." O Lord, he thought, why didn't I trust you before now? "Do not be far from me for trouble is near and there is no one to help." The last words blurred as Gypsy's eyes filled with tears.
Taking the Bible from him, Elijah said softly, "In Mathew Chapter Eleven, from verse twenty-eight, Jesus says. "Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me. for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" He placed a roughened hand on Gypsy's shoulder. "Your friend will be leaving again soon, I believe. It's time to let Jesus take Don's place. You will find Him a stronger support than anyone on earth. Give yourself totally to Him and He will heal you and never leave you."
From the depths of his heart, Gypsy felt something tug at him, and all the hurt he felt came rushing upward in a surge of anguish. In front of him the air shimmered and he thought he saw the shape of someone glowing with light. The entity held out his hand towards Gypsy and he heard a familiar voice say. "Come to me, my son." Something was lifting a heavy weight from him and he fell to his knees in wonder. With his head bowed, he heard Elijah say, "Just repeat this prayer after me. Lord Jesus Christ."
"Lord Jesus Christ." Gypsy could hardly get the words out, knowing without a doubt who he had just seen.
"I have sinned, in thought and deed."
"I have sinned in thought and deed. - You gave your life for me; that my sins may be forgiven. Please, Lord Jesus - I don't want to be a sinner any more. Come into my life and be my Saviour and my Friend; I surrender myself to you totally and unconditionally; I give myself to you. I am yours now, and you are mine forever." As he finished the prayer, he felt as if a great burden had been taken away from him, and tears flowed unchecked as he added his own simple prayer. "Please, help me, Jesus."
"He will," Elijah said gently as Gypsy rose to his feet and sat back down on the bench. "I know who you just saw, because I saw Him too. By God's Grace you have been saved, not by works or good deed lest anyone should boast, and if you accept the Bible as God's Word, and keep your promise never to sin again, you will always walk in His grace."
Gypsy reached into his jeans pocket for his handkerchief, and blew his nose and wiped his eyes. "I never thought I would ever do this. I wonder if Don ever will."
"Don is no longer your problem, except to keep him in your prayers. He'll sort himself out with the Lord. These first few weeks of your spiritual life will be hard. Many make the mistake of thinking their lives will be all rosy from now on, but Satan hates to lose someone and he'll attack you in all sorts of ways. He'll put doubts in your mind and he'll temp you into breaking God's laws. Just remember, He that is in us is greater than he who is in this world. Jesus will always be with you and will carry you in times of trouble. You have heard of the poem 'Footprints' haven't you? There is power in His blood, Gypsy, and it covers us and protects us. Read your Bible every day and learn what God is saying to you. Go to church as often as you can and take communion, and in all things give thanks to God, and trust in Him for all blessings."
Gypsy nodded. "I'll do that, thanks. Can we talk again sometime?"
"I'm afraid not, lad." Elijah's voice held a note of sadness. "I've done what my Father wanted me to do here. My work is done. You'll be all right now. Just get your life back to normal, but first of all, tell someone what you've just done. And by the way, you need to find a church with a baptismal font, but not the kind where they splash a bit of water on a baby's head. Failing that, get your dad to take you to the seaside. John, chapter three verse three. ' You bust be born again of water and of the Spirit before you can see the Father' . Get yourself dunked, boy, and as soon as possible."
Gypsy sat for a long time, thinking deeply about what he had seen and done, and didn't realise Elijah had gone till he felt someone touch him.
Manuel sat down on the bench and eyed him thoughtfully. "Something's different about you. What's happened?"
"I've given my heart to Jesus. I saw him today, and so did Elijah." Gypsy felt a welling up of pride when he said it. "I've found what I was looking for, Dad. It's something that's been missing from my life for a long time."
"So that's why Elijah came to see you. Don's been reading the Word these days, too."
"Really?" Gypsy couldn't help smiling.
"So he told me." Manuel smiled back and placed his arm round Gypsy's shoulders to give him a hug. "How do you feel about Don and Cissy getting married?"
"I think it's great."
"Good. Now do you feel up to having a visitor? Sandy's here."
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