Guardian Angels

Dedication:

I dedicate this story to my guardian angel. I love you, God-send. Also, I dedicate this story to anyone who has ever had doubt in God: For your thoughts are about to be changed.

Angels. Are they really real? Well, that's a question that I have an answer for. When I was young, and went to church every weekend, I believed strongly in God. I believed the Bible; and all of it's tales of great heroism and that God was always watching over us. But, since I've grown older, I began to question heaven. Was there really a place you go to when you die? That if you're good, you'll go to a place filled with happiness and light? And if you're bad, you'll burn forever in regret for your sins? Or, is it just blackness when you die. Do you simply become nothing? Despite how much I wanted to believe, I found it hard sometimes. Sometimes, I knew heaven was real: and I questioned myself as to why I even had second thoughts. Other times, I thought that heaven was a way to get people to do the right thing: a motivator. Well, one night in my life changed that. This night, with all of its irony, ended up being a perfect storm for my dilemma. Here is a true story of what happened to me one night that made me realize what a fool I had been for not believing in God. Here's the story….

"Come on Emma, let's go!" My mom shouted as she waited at the front door with my twin sister, Anna.

"Ugh! Hold on a minute!" I shouted back, as I changed into my "Angels are everywhere" T-shirt. It was just another shirt for me, but soon enough, the irony of my choice of a shirt would become clear. I stepped out into the hall, where my sister and mother stood with our two dogs, waiting for me. We were going to take the dogs for a walk to my dad's house. My sister and I had recently taken up horseback riding lessons, and both my parents were paying for it. Our lessons were every Monday, and today was Sunday, so we had to have a check ready by tomorrow. So, we were going to my dad's to pick it up. My parents are divorced, you see. And my father, for some reason, is very hard to contact by phone; he always seems to have his cell phone turned off at the worst times. So, we had to either walk or drive there; and since it was a nice evening, we were walking; although, after a busy weekend of sleepovers and going to Wild Water West for five hours, I didn't feel much like a walk.

"Are we ready to go?" My mom asked.

I sighed, "Can I at least bring my music?" I asked, irritated.

Now my mom was getting irritated, "Why don't we just leave it for tonight?"

"C'mon, mom!" I groaned.

My mom looked pretty annoyed now, "Fine, but we aren't waiting for you!"

"Fine!" I said, and turned swiftly into my bedroom as mom and my sister headed out the door. Jeez, what's her problem? I had every right to bring my music if I wanted to! But, I didn't know that going back for my mp3 would be a mistake that I regretted later. I went into my room, and picked up the music player. But, when I tried to turn it on, it didn't start. Then I realized it was out of batteries. I growled, really annoyed, and put it back on the dresser. Grabbing the plastic bags to clean up any dog accidents, I headed out the door.

When outside, I looked around for mom and Anna, but then I remembered that they weren't waiting for me. But I had gotten out pretty fast, and I should've been able to see them. I'll just catch up with them, then. I thought to myself, and began walking the usual path to my dad's house. I knew the path very well; besides horse lessons on Mondays, I had guitar lessons. Ever Monday at 6:00 I would ride my bike there, and every time I went I passed by my dad's house. My guitar lessons were only a short distance from my dad's, so I could walk the path blindfolded. I headed up the large hill towards 33rd and Cliff Avenue as the sky overhead darkens. It was about 9:30 or so, so it was dark out. I hoped I'd catch up to them soon. 33rd and Cliff was a busy street, and I didn't like crossing it alone. So, when I arrived at the top of the hill, I hit the little red button that would allow safe crossing. While I waited, I looked up and down the street. There was a lot of construction going on right now, and I didn't see a single car. So, in my haste to catch up to my family, I raced across the street.

Now I was safely on the other side, and this side of the road was a long downhill walk. I gazed down it, and didn't see my mom or sister. Anger started to boil inside of me; how did they expect me to catch up at this rate? Still mad, I stormed down the hill. That's when I saw two shapes at the bottom. I stopped; is that them? The figures had a dog in-between them. I figured that our other dog was just standing behind them. I began walking again; I couldn't wait to tell them how angry and worried I was. They started walking towards me as well. My angry still rolled inside me, and I was half tempted to shout at them. But, with it being so late, people would be trying to sleep. But, as I neared, my eyes grew wide: it wasn't them.

It was a young couple, with their large dog. I moved slowly to one side to let them pass. The disappoint in me was almost unbearable. Both the dog and the boy were big and muscular; but the girl was definitely not the same. They passed me by without a hello, and I was fine with that. I had no intention of saying hello to them right now. As I approached the next corner, something started taking the place of my anger: fear. I was becoming more and more aware of my situation. Here I was, a fourteen year old girl, walking alone and in the dark, with nothing but a handful of plastic bags to protect me. I glanced over my back, to make sure that some group of rowdy, drunken, teenage boys weren't following me. I thought about turning back. No, I couldn't. I was halfway there now, so it would be the same distance in either direction. And I didn't want to meet with the couple and their dog again. So, I began walking faster. I cleared another block quickly, still wondering when that kidnapper or pedophile that has hiding, would jump out of the shadows and throw a bag over my head. Or maybe when that car of teenage hoodlums would pullover and offer me a ride. And when I would refuse, they would jump out and drag me in. And then they'd drive back to some old stinky trailer where they lived. And then…. I didn't even want to think of what they would do to me then. I shook my head, trying to rid myself of those thoughts. Yes, I was paranoid. Paranoid of every that lurked around me, waiting. With anxiety growing quickly inside me, I flashed a glance over my shoulder. What I saw almost made me scream.

There behind me, not even a block away, were two men, jogging towards me. I almost stopped in my tracks, being straggled by raising fear. In haste, I walked even faster, hoping to reach the next street before they got close. I was not far away from it, but they were gaining, and it seemed like a long walk to the corner. Just as I heard their footfalls growing, I reached the corner. In a skip-like motion, I bounced on to the street, and scrambled across. I reached the other corner, and looked back. They jogged up to the corner, stopped for a moment, glanced at me, then turned and jogged down the street. I held my breath for every moment, until they went out of sight. I exhaled, and pulled my arms across my chest.

Were they really planning on chasing me? When they hesitated at the corner, I got a hunch that they really were after me. I walked as fast as I could down the street, arms folded tightly against my torso. I looked around me, behind me, and above me: the sky was completely black now. Even the safety that my arms provided wasn't enough to comfort me now. To think, that I traveled this very road every week; normally when I did that, it was warm, bright, and sunny. But now, this seemed like a completely new place. Here, at night, when I'm all by myself and in the dark, it seemed like I was a stranger to these streets. At least, when I ride to guitar lessons, I have a bike and a guitar for weapons and escape. But here, and now, I only had me, and a bunch of plastic baggies. I frowned; how easy of a target would I look like right now? If someone jumped out at me, would I be able to defend myself? I have the will to take on one or maybe even two crooks: and maybe even then I couldn't win. But imagine a whole group? Four, or five… maybe six or even seven? I didn't even want to think about that. Right now, I tried to focus on keeping calm. I breathed deeply, and glanced behind me again. I felt so vulnerable, so… open to attack. It made the calmness I was trying to build collapse before me. I wondered where my mom and my sister were now. Were they worrying about me? Were they looking for me? I didn't know. I just sighed, and kept walking.

I was getting closer now; I only had one more street before I was on my dad's block. I walked past the busy intersection, and down a small hill. So far, I saw no one; and that was fine by me. I walked down the hill, and the shadows of the trees made me anxious. I looked behind me twice, to make sure I wasn't being followed. Then, I rushed across the street to my dad's block.

Relief flooded through me when I saw my dad's house. I half-walked and half-ran towards it, wanting to be with my family more than ever. As I walked by the backyard, the dog, Saber, almost made me jump when she approached the fence. I gave her kisses and strokes: she was the first familiar thing I'd seen tonight. Then, I continued to the door. I rang the doorbell, and waited. But, to my surprise, it wasn't my dad who answered: it was my older sister, Kalee. Either way, I was very relieved to see her. She looked at me, surprised. "Emma? What are you doing here?" She asked, with both confusion and concern. Shock and fear struck me. If Anna and mom were here… they'd surely tell her about me coming… right? "Well…" I said, as I stepped inside, "We were going to walk the dogs here…. Anna, mom and I….. Aren't they here?"

Kalee still looked worried, "No, they're not. I just got here a couple seconds ago."

I was extremely thankful for her timing. "Well, is dad here?"

She shook her head, "Uh-uh." She said, "He's off doing something."

I wondered how he could be gone on the night I needed him most. Well, at least Kalee was here.

Kalee looked at me, worried, "How come you're here by yourself?" She asked.

I thought about that for a moment, then felt a pang of guilt wash over me as I realized my mistake. "I…. well….." I started hesitantly. I'd always had a problem with admitting my mistakes. "Well… I went back to get my music, and…. They told me they wouldn't wait for me…. So…. They just…. didn't… wait." I said, looking down. I was always so embarrassed by my wrong doings; I felt my face burning.

"Well," She said, sitting down in the living room chair, "That's gay." She commented. "Here, come sit down." She added, when she saw me gazing out the screen door. Almost reluctantly, I sat down, and stared lifelessly at the TV. How could I sit here and wait for them? What if they were out looking for me? Those thoughts made me even guiltier, and I looked out the window to check if they were there. But they weren't. Kalee looked at me, and, noticing some emotion on my face, offered me her phone. "Do you want to call mom? Maybe she has her phone?"

I look over at her, and gratefully took the phone. "Thanks." I said, as I clicked through the contact list until I found the one labeled, 'Mom'. I waited fervently for mom to pick up: the rings almost seemed endless. Then, when she picked up, it almost brought tears to my eyes. She was panting… or was that sobbing? "Hello? Kalee?" She panted… or sobbed.

"No, it's not Kalee." I said. For some reason, it sounded very cold…. colder than I would've wanted.

"…Emma?! Emma, is that you?!" She said, sobbing my name in such relief and astonishment, it made tears sting my eyes. All the worry I must have put her through… all the pain… Why did I ever do this? Why did I have to be so careless, so cruel, so… human?

I gulped back the lump that was rising in my throat, "Yeah, it's me." I said. My voice sounded so subdued… that's not what I wanted. I wanted to express to her how worried I was, but for some reason, I couldn't get the right emotion into my voice…. In fact, it didn't hold any emotion at all.

"Oh! Emma! Honey, I was so worried!" My mom sobbed. The relief in her voice made me burn up. "Sweetie, where are you?!"

"Dad's…. Where are you?" I asked my voice still flat and lifeless.

I heard mom call to someone over her shoulder, "Its okay! She's at your dad's!" Then she went back to me. "We're looking for you! We couldn't find you anywhere! Oh, I was so worried! Thank goodness we found you sweetie! We'll be there soon!"

"Okay." I said. I could feel the tears burning the corners of my eyes.

"I love you." She said.

"I love you too, mom." I didn't realize how much I did until just now. With that, she hung up. Keeping my eyes on the ground, I handed it back to Kalee. "They're coming to get me." I said. Not wanting Kalee to see me cry, I stood, "I'll wait for them outside."

"No! Why don't you sit?" Kalee said playfully. She must not have realized how I felt.

I paused for a moment, before sighing. "Okay." I said, and sat back down. I stared at the TV without much interest. It was one of the shows Kalee liked to watch: the reality shows where you win money. In this one, there were two teams, and to win the money, each team had to have all of their members produce a tear. Why were humans like that? Making a contest out of crying sounds exactly like something we'd do. Yet, the idea disgusted me. Crying is something expressed when a person is in pain, shock, or remorse, not for a contest. I looked away from the TV; thinking of that made me remember how careless I was, and how worried I made my family. At that moment, I saw someone walking up to the front door. Moments later, my mother stepped through the door. Her face was red and tear-stricken, and when she saw me she came over right away and hugged me. I hugged her back, never wanting to let go. Tears were in my eyes, and I was sure they were in hers too. "Oh, Emma! My sweetie!" She sobbed, hugging me closer, "I was so worried."

I felt embarrassed to be in her presence. I wondered if my worry even compared to hers at all. "Mom…" Was all I could say, as I also squeezed. Anna said nothing as she stood next to the door. Mom led me out the door, with a thanks to Kalee, and walked me to the car, saying how worried she was and how I must have some sort of guardian angel watching over me. I thought about that on the way home. I thought about how ironic the circumstances were. How there were no cars on the busiest street in my neighborhood, how the jogging men turned and left when they had the perfect opportunity, how Kalee got home only seconds before I arrived. It was the perfect storm, as my mom would call it.

I looked at my T-shirt. "Angels are everywhere." It read, with a big checkmark in the middle. Then I looked up at the sky through the car window. I looked at the stars, and prayed a silent prayer of thanks to whoever was watching out for me up there. I guess angels really were everywhere.

Once, my mom had told me, every night, while you're falling asleep, and you ask for the name of your guardian angel, it will be revealed to you through a dream. And that very night, as I lay in my bed, I closed my eyes, and I prayed. I prayed thankfulness and joy to the Lord above. Then, I asked for the name of my guardian angel. Amen. I finished. Then, I lay back down, and cried silent tears of gratefulness.

I still have yet to discover the name of my guardian angel, but I have a hunch on who it is. She lives here with me, and shows me all the love and compassion of any angel. Her name is Karlee, and I just wanted to tell her how much I loved her. Every day I'm grateful to have her with me. My God-send, my Holy pool of light…. My guardian angel…. I just want you to know, that I love you from heaven and back, and every night, I'll pray for the name of my guardian angel, even though I know who it is. And I'll pray every night for the safety and joy of that angel, and I'll pray for her good-fortune and my own good fortune, for having her with me. I'll pray with all my heart for my angel… for my mother. Mom, I love you.

Well, that concludes my story. What I used to question has now been confirmed: God has always been there, and he always will be there. And so will my guardians angels. Maybe, if you pray every night, for the name of guardian angel, you'll feel the same way I do. Thank you for listening.

Authors notes:

This is a true story that happened to me August 3rd, 2008. It made me believe in the stories from the Bible, and inspired me to pass it on. The things that went on in my mind and that went on around me are also all true, and I will never forget them. And, it was a struggle to write about some of this stuff; I was crying for a second time after I was finished. And to my angel, I love you. And I don't want you to ever forge it. You mean the world to me. I'm glad I can call you my guardian angel.

With love,

Emma