I’ve told this story before, but I can’t remember where. It’s a testament to inspiration and moreover, to seeing things for what they’re meant to be. The title of this blog is funny, but it’s the truth too. You’ll see what I mean.
As you all know I’ve written a story or two about angels and therefore, I guess they cross my mind a lot. My mom was obsessed with them. She had a curio cabinet full of her favorites, and the statue of a black winged angel, that sits on my bathtub was once hers. Perhaps because she had breast cancer, the sight of them brought her some comfort, but I can remember her talking about the winged creatures long before she was diagnosed.
After I wrote The Keepers, there seemed to emerge a theme in my life; what I considered to be guardian angel sightings. You will notice in my stories the angels are all male, and thusly all the sightings have been the same. It happens that for me, each time I have a run in with a guardian they are all drifters or maybe even homeless. Maybe, they are not celestial beings; perhaps they are mere mortals and this is all coincidence, but that is neither here nor there. The point is, if we open our eyes, there are people, and maybe even something higher, looking out for us. Enjoy their stories.
The first protector appeared in just the nick of time. I’m convinced he saved my life. I’d pulled in to the convenience store after a busy day of work and absent-mindedly dug my wallet out of my purse. I shoved it under my chin, turned the car off, pulled my keys out, and locked the door. I’ve heard you should always be aware of your surroundings, but this particular day I had my head in the clouds. I was probably thinking about the mound of laundry on the floor in my kitchen, or what we were going to eat for dinner.
I pushed through the glass door and glanced up to see a reflection behind me. A young man, perhaps in his early twenties, was standing dangerously close. I could feel his breath on my arm and smell his cologne. I glanced over my shoulder and he greeted me with a warm smile. Being a normal woman, in this day and age, I was unnerved and pushed my way inside and hurried over to fix a fountain drink, thereby putting space between me and the stranger.
I couldn’t help but watch him though. He looked like he could be my brother, with the same skin color, dark eyes, and dark hair. I fiddled with the plastic lid trying not to be obvious about the way I stared at him. His eyes were on me though, and I knew I’d been caught. I spun around glancing at the clerk, as a group of young men came in and started harassing her. Without pause, my body reacted to the scene by cutting my oxygen supply and rendering me frozen. There was something wrong, and something bad was about to go down.
Without hesitation, the young man who’d followed me in, charged across the store, grabbed my arm, and marched me to the door. He followed me to my car and said two words, “lock it.” I got in, cranked it, and then looked up to say thank you, but he was gone. I didn’t have time to peer in the store or search for him; instead, I drove off feeling sure I’d avoided something horrendous. That night my husband stopped by the same shop and was told they’d been held up earlier in the day. So here’s to the stranger who saved me.
Fast forward several years and I’m sitting at a red light on a particularly gloomy day. I was thinking of my brother. I hadn’t laid eyes on him in fifteen years. I was kind of sad, because we hadn’t had the opportunity for the relationship most siblings have, and he was weighing heavy on my heart. Two young men crossed in front of my car as I stared off into space. One crossed the street and stood waiting in a parking lot, while the other stopped by the center of my hood and smiled at me.
I remember him to this day, in detail. He had curly brown hair, which peeked out from under a brown baseball cap, blue eyes, and a wickedly perfect smile. When I glanced up at him, he spread his fingers wide and signed with one hand that I was beautiful. He stood there several seconds and then crossed the other lanes of traffic. I watched him walk away, his back pack hanging from one shoulder, and wondered who was missing him. This guy became Kasey Kibodeaux in my next release (9/7/11) – Jamais Vu.
Finally, a few weeks ago I was having one of those days. The mortgage company had taken my payment out of my account twice! I don’t know about you, but I can barely afford one payment. I’d spent the day on the phone arguing with the bank and the mortgage company, and as I exited the interstate, a stream of tears smudged mascara down my cheeks. I glanced up in the median and there stood a man. You know the one…holding the sign for money? He had a dog with him, and the dog looked happy and well fed, but my mind was not on him. It was on the music playing while I was on hold, yet again, for the mortgage company.
However, I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, and as he watched me, his face turned beautifully serene. I thought there was something to be said for the anguish I was suffering while he seemed so calm. He put his sign down and reached into his bag and pulled out a deflated mylar balloon. The balloon was yellow and adorned with a huge smiley face, and he held it for me to see. I couldn’t help but smile. Then he set the balloon down and laid his hands out flat reaching them for the sky. “God will lift you up,” he mouthed.
After turning the corner, I set the phone down and smiled. I thought about all the wonderful things I had in my life, and I let go of the anxiety I’d been carrying all day.
The purpose of my stories is not to be preachy, but just to illustrate how sometimes in my life, for sure, I find comfort in the oddest places. Maybe, that’s where the inspiration for writing angel stories comes from?
Everyday I look out for that guardian who has been placed in my life to make something that’s terribly wrong feel right. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I find them. Hope you do too!
Monique O’Connor James
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