Earthbound Angel

Short Story Written By: Kirsti Rudolph

The woman collapsed on the threadbare couch, filled with self-loathing, grief and accusations aimed at the all knowing. She felt like an inexperienced soldier facing a battle alone where the odds were against her. A fresh wave of pain and exhaustion hit her as she thought of the enemy in which she was fighting. Three stepchildren, two children of her own, a new husband and one of theirs. Like two squares of a patchwork quilt, she felt as if the family was being ripped apart with no needle or thread to mend them.

With three sets of children-, each set from a previous marriage- it was hard to feel like one family. The mother's two girls, from her previous marriage, found it hard to connect with their newfound older siblings. Her husband's three children found it hard to trust her, and get along with their new younger sisters. The newest member of the family, their little girl, had it even harder. She only had step- siblings. Unlike her the rest of the children, the little girl did not have a square on the patchwork quilt that was her family. The mother was at a loss.

Fresh tears began to cascade down the pale hallowed skin, passing the seemingly permanent dark circles. Nights of urgent prayer, wretched tears and sleepless nights of worry had created the striking, but not attractive features. She felt as if all the choices she had made were the wrong ones, and everything was out of control. Her beautiful little daughter with piercing dark brown eyes and a rambunctious personality made the mother feel inadequate and unprepared. She was not a master seamstress; how was she supposed to sew her family together with no thread or needle?

The mother sighed, suddenly wondering where the youngster was. It had been quiet for much too long- which usually meant the little one was in the bathroom flushing her sister's fish down the toilet, or squirting the shaving cream and shampoo in the bathtub. Just as she was about to get up off the couch the little girl appeared in the living room, her hair concealing her face. The mother smiled and beckoned her daughter onto her lap. The little girls' face lit up, which in turn brightened the entire room. With bouncing curls of dark chocolate flying from her face as she skipped over into her mother's warm embrace, the child's expression became sombre.

The mother examined her daughter as she climbed onto her lap. The little girl did not squirm. She always squirmed. Her little girl turned to her, with two brown orbs gazing at every new wrinkle, dark circle and hallowed cheeks of her mother's face. The mother was speechless. She had to look away from the prying eyes of her daughter, because tears of guilt were building up behind her wary eyes. Two little hands were placed on either side of her face, turning her head towards the spectrum of the little girl's gaze.

"Mummy, your wedding was beautiful." The mother looked at her daughter in disbelief. Her little angel was born after she and her husband were married. Shaken, she pulled a lock of brown hair that had fallen in front of the toddler's eyes out of the way.

"It was, was it? How would you know? You weren't born yet." She replied with an attempt to sound light hearted, but still a dreary undertone managed to seep into the sentence. The little girl rolled her eyes, ignoring her mother's sad undertone, as if her mother had missed an obvious answer.

"Of course I wasn't born yet. But I still was there. I remember the ducks, and that pretty room that seemed to go on forever. The man said that the mirrors did that. You and daddy were so happy, all dressed in white. I felt very happy and peaceful." The mother gaped at her daughter as she continued to describe in detail the appearance of the temple, and temple grounds where she and her husband were married. She continued to listen, and a warming sense of peace settled over her troubled heart.

"The ducks were so funny; they kept splashing in the pool. The man held my hand as we watched from above on my favourite cloud. He told me all about you and daddy and that you were going to be my parents. He also explained what life would be like for me. He said I was like super glue, or thread. I didn't understand then, but I do now. He told me that he loves us all more than we could ever imagine." The little girl's eyes opened as wide as saucers.

"He said He even loved us more than the moon, and the stars, and even the sun. Isn't that great?" The little girl seemed to be radiating light and joy the way only a toddler could.

"What man was with you? A stranger?" The mother responded. Her little girl rolled her eyes once again at her mother for her obliviousness.

"Mummy. We know him, we all know him. He's my bestest friend! We even have a picture of him. This morning, before you woke up, he told me to tell you. He said you should know. I agreed. You are my mummy." As the little girl said the words, she pointed to the painting of the Savior that hung over the fireplace mantle and placed a tender kiss on her mother's rough skin.

As if breaking out of a trance, the little girl started to squirm out of the mother's embrace, and walked away as if she had said nothing of significance. All the mother could do was sit back in awe with the feeling of strong, warm arms wrapping around her, clothing her with reassurance, love, and hope.

She lay back down on the threadbare sofa with a sigh. Suddenly her eyes no longer saw herself as an inexperienced soldier all alone, but a soldier with a strong and powerful leader. The mother cried tears of joy. Feelings of anguish, all accusations, and anger were washed away and were replaced with forgiveness, love, and admiration for the one who knew all. She felt weightless, knowing that her great burden had been lifted off her aching shoulders. Her little angel was supposed to be here. It was part of his great plan for her family and her little girl, and without a doubt, she knew that they could follow through. The patchwork quilt, in need of dire repair suddenly had the thread to sew the two squares together thanks to the family's own earthbound angel.