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Chapter Twenty-seven

Randy always left the hospital at the stroke of eleven: punch the
card, and out the door. That was the universal practice of laundry
workers, kitchen workers, housekeeping, building & grounds -- all the
blue collar employees. However the nursing staff, along with x-ray
technicians, lab workers and other higher-level personnel, were
expected to stay a few minutes after quitting time. So, Randy
understood. He expected to wait a few minutes for Jill.

Pulling his car around to the lot he found a convenient space to
park. If he had thought to ask her which exit she would use, he could
have pulled up closer to the building and met her right there. But this
parking space put both employee exits within his field of vision, and
the brilliant moonlight guaranteed that she would not slip out

Still, Randy felt a bit anxious as the minutes ticked away. Was she
okay? Had she had second thoughts about riding home with him?
Aware that the Pediatrics corridor ran along that side of the building,
he directed his gaze upward to see if she could be seen moving about
near one of the windows.

But it quickly became obvious that he could hardly expect to catch
sight of her up there. The lights were out in most of the children's
rooms, and the moonlit windows offered a reflective appearance
except in one or two cases where window and door aligned to transmit
rays from the brightly lit corridor itself.

As he redirected his sight once again to the exit doors downstairs
Randy thought the corner of his eye caught some movement at one of
the windows and so he looked up again. Yes, one of the windows had
been fully opened -- strange, even on a balmy evening such as this.
Could it be that a room was being aired-out due to a foul odor or,
worse yet, a gas or chemical leak? No, there's a young boy climbing
up onto the window sill. He's dropping his robe behind him. It's
Tommy Troulson! What's he doing?

Randy sprang from the car and began running toward the building,
never taking his eyes off the slim underpants-clad boy in the window,
standing now on the outer sill. Then, realizing that Tommy was about
to jump, and that he could do no good running into the building, Randy
stopped and opened his mouth to shout.

But just then, at the final critical second, he saw flashing in the
moonlight what looked like golden angel's hair at Tommy's side, and
the youngster was sucked back into the room and out of sight.

Randy resumed running for the closest doorway. Flying up the
stairs three at a time he burst into the Pediatrics corridor just in time
to see two nurses and a policeman entering Tommy's room. He
followed them to find Tommy on the floor next to the open window
with Jill French still grasping him tight around his waist. Throwing
herself backwards after getting her arms around him, she had
slammed their combined weight against the bed, pushing it away and
knocking the wind out of herself.

Vaulting over the bed, Randy persuaded her to let go of the boy,
turning him over to the care of the other nurses. He took Tommy's
place in Jill's arms, comforting her with his own embrace.

"I . . . I had a feeling . . . ," Jill began addressing the group when she
caught her breath, "I had a feeling that I should look in on the boy one
more time before leaving for the night. And when I did I found him
standing on the window ledge like he was going to jump." She burst
into tears and buried her face in Randy's chest.

Tommy Troulson, neither crying nor uttering a word, but still
acting dazed, was being strapped into his bed by the attending nurses,
and the policeman was returning to his post at the top of the stairs.
Jill raised her lips to Randy's cheek and whispered to him.

"Randy, it was the Lord. The Holy Spirit told me to check on


Randy easily persuaded Jill to share a vanilla shake with him
before he drove her home. After all, he promised to drink most of it,
and a little sugar would help her relax.

Both were silent as they strolled hand-in-hand across the street to
McDonald's. They had a lot to think about.

Finally Jill spoke up: "You know, Randy, I expected that at least
once in my nursing career I would get to save someone's life, but I
never dreamed it would be during my first year as a student nurse --
or that it would happen quite this way."

Randy remained silent and meditative as he opened the door for
her at the restaurant and continued to appear preoccupied even while
ordering and paying for drink. It was only when they reached the
booth -- the one the Troulsons had occupied at supper -- that he
revealed what was on his mind.

"Jill, did you really mean it when you said God told you to go back
and check on Tommy?"

"Yes, of course."

Randy wrinkled his brow and leaned toward her across the table.

He was intent on hearing her answer to his next question: "How do you
know it was God?"

"Oh, I just know. In the Bible Jesus said, 'My sheep hear my

He believed her, but Randy could not get over how casual she was
about the whole thing. "Jill, what you have with God is so different
from anything I've ever experienced. I've been taught that God
doesn't speak to individuals any more. He speaks through an

"Well, I don't know much about theology. All I know is that God
speaks to me. Not all the time, but sometimes on important things like
tonight, and sometimes just to reassure me that I belong to Him."

"I try to prove everything by the Bible."

"Well . . ." Jill wasn't used to having to back up such things
biblically, "besides Jesus's saying his sheep would hear his voice,
there's a verse in Isaiah, I think, that says believers would 'hear a
voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."'"

"I remember reading that once, but we put a different application
on it. Jill, I feel that I've been studying about religion all my life, but
you've been really living it. I want what you have."

"That's easy, Randy. You just accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior,
and he takes care of the rest."

"Woah! It's not that easy for me. I've got to think about this some

"Sure. At your own time. The Lord is patient with all of us."

"Don't get me wrong. I believe that God talks to you. I saw proof
tonight. That was a miracle, the way God sent you back to pull
Tommy off the window ledge. That had to be a miracle."

"Yeah, it was. When you know God your life is full of miracles --
big ones and little ones." Jill smiled as Randy held her hand and drank
the last of the vanilla shake.

While they walked back across the street and through the hospital
parking lot toward Randy's car Jill spoke softly about the miracles she
saw in the stars and in the trees and in the night breeze. Randy was
silent again until, pausing under the moonshadow of a large maple
tree, he pulled her close to him.

"When I held you in my arms up there in Tommy's room," he told
her almost nose-to-nose, "I thought I heard someone say, 'She's the
one, the right one for you to spend your life with.' Do you think that
could have been God trying to make me listen?"

"I don't know, Randy," Jill giggled. "Sometimes it's hard to tell
God's voice from our own thoughts."

"Jill, I love you." He kissed her -- gently at first, and then

"Oh, you took my breath away," Jill gasped, "in more ways than

The rest of the way to the car Randy's arm was around Jill's waist
and hers around his shoulder. Now both were silent, communing
through touch while each wondered how far they would end up
walking together.

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