My next mission was to set out and save Iggy. But I wasn’t sure of myself at all. There wasn’t anyone else I could talk to about it, except the nurses. (And they weren’t much for conversation.)
But I met a man the day after Iggy told me about his diagnosis. And I’m positive he was a guardian angel.
(Don’t call me crazy yet. I still haven’t gotten to the story!)
I was sitting in the lobby, trying to get away from my stuffy room, and was in the process of deciding whether to read a Time magazine or a Nick when this guy sat beside me.
At first, I didn’t look up, but something didn’t feel right. Everything was too . . . calm. When I finally looked up, I came face-to-face with the most peaceful looking man I’ve ever seen. Don’t get me wrong. He sure didn’t look like what I’d imagined an angel would, maybe the exact opposite of that actually.
His hair was black—about shoulder-length—and pulled back into a ponytail. Eyes of the lightest gray made his face seem paler than it would have been had they been a more vibrant color. A small scar fell just below his left earlobe and stretched to the bottom of his jaw. And he was smiling slightly at something he was reading in the National Geographic he’d picked up.
When he noticed my eyes on his face, his lips twitched into a smile and he gave me a side-glance.
I wasn’t sure what to say, and I was so shocked that he’d spoken to me the two magazines in my hands fell to the floor with a plomp.
He set NG down and turned in his chair to face me. “Something wrong?”
“Course not,” I said as I fumbled for the magazines, trying to regain my thoughts.
“You’re a patient here, aren’t you?” The man glanced over my clothes and I nodded. But how could he know so easily if I was wearing loose jeans and a hoodie?
He must have seen the question in my eyes, because he nodded at the cap. “The hat, kid. Covers the bald head, keeps people from staring.”
“Oh, yeah.” I nodded. “You’ve got that down, alright.”
His smile disappeared and he leaned back in the chair, head no resting on the wall. “Someone gave that to you.”
“Statement. And yes.”
I looked him over a little more and realized he couldn’t be much older than in his mid-twenties. And his eyes gave nothing away. Unlike most people, I couldn’t read them.
“Who?” He still stared at the opposite wall as he spoke, eyebrows wrinkling together as he thought something through.
He got a funny grin on his face at that. “Girlfriend?”
“Heck no!” Why was I telling this guy the details of my life anyway? “A girl and only a friend.”
“Why so defensive?” He glanced at me again. It was unnerving the way he did that.
I couldn’t help but give him the evil-eye. “She died.”
The smile dropped from his face and his eyes fell away from mine. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“That’s what everybody says, you know. After someone dies and they didn’t really know the person.”
“Glad to be informed I’m part of a majority.”
I glared at him and turned away. “No you aren’t. What makes you different than all the others who’ve told me they were sorry to hear my best friend died—but didn’t know her?”
“I’m here talking to you.”
That stopped my sudden anger towards the man in its tracks. “Very true,” I managed to choke from my throat. A lump had formed unexpectedly and I hated the thought that I might actually cry in front of this man.
“Something else is bothering you.” Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him lean forward in his chair and prop his head up with his fists, elbows on knees. He was looking at me from the side again.
“Yeah,” I said, looking away from him. “A friend of mine . . . he lost both legs from Osteosarcoma. He can’t walk.”
“As would be the normal prognosis for ‘no legs’.”
His hint at humor fell to deaf ears and I continued. “And he’s stopped believing in life.”
“He . . . doesn’t see anything worth living for, then?”
Prolonged silence ensued, but I kept hopeful that he would just understand that I needed answers.
And he did.
“Just because he has lost sight of that which is good does not mean he cannot be brought back to the light.”
I wasn’t really looking for an answer like that, so I said, “English, please".
He laughed softly and said, “A life lost has yet to be regained. You can do it, Jove.”
When I realized he’d said my name and looked over at him, he wasn’t there anymore. It was all I could do to scramble from the chair and stumble to the hall. He wasn’t there either.
Where could he have gone in two seconds?
I hurried to the front desk and asked the secretary if she’d seen the man I was talking to leave. She only shook her head. “You were talking to someone? I never saw him . . .”
I stumbled away, confused. Had it all been in my head?
When I got back to my room, I opened the window shade to look down at the parking lot and there he was, head tilted to the sky, eyes closed as the sun fell on his seemingly statue-like chiseled features.
With no regard for what he might be doing, I flung the window open and yelled, “Hey!”
His eyes opened slowly and found me after a moment of searching. His lips twitched into a smile.
“What’s your name?”
Something struck me. “As in Gabriel?”
Gabe nodded and called in farewell, “good luck, Jove!”
“Wait!” I waved frantically as I tried to keep him in one place. “How’d you know my name?”
But he’d already turned and started down the lot, disappearing before he had a chance to see my waving arms.
And that is how I met an angel.