My first time in her car,
I noticed the angel figurine
that she had hanging
from her rear view mirror
with a thin golden thread.
“A Christmas ornament,”
when she saw my intrigue.
“I wanted to be able
to look at it
all year long.”
The decoration looked old,
its colors muted,
its paint chipped in a few places.
I was sure that placing the angel
so prominently in the sun
would do nothing but escalate
the fading in hue,
but I said nothing,
just stared at its delicate beauty
as she continued to drive us
to the park,
the one next to that cemetery.
I went with her
when she got
tattooed on her shoulder blades,
lying on her front
on that vinyl chair,
her eyes trained stoically on the wall
just to the right of where I was standing.
She had always been flighty
and oh, so ethereal,
so I figured the reasoning
behind the wings
was so that she could pretend to fly
far away from here
off to heaven
or wherever the hell
she had been planning
on escaping to.
I mentioned to her
how well this tattoo fit her personality,
the whole metaphor of it.
mumbled something about
how she just likes the way they look.
I decided not to pry.
I was not there
when she got
those angel bites
pierced into her lip,
but she told me the story after
about how the piercer
tried to talk her into
something else instead,
saying that her face was better suited
for snake bites
or maybe even a septum ring,
but she insisted that it had to be angel bites.
I complimented her,
said that her piercer was dead wrong
that she looks beautiful with her piercing of choice.
She offered me a wry smile in return.
She later started dressing in all white–
a Grecian goddess–
no concerns for the possible
red stains that come with periods
or green stains that come with
rolling around in the grass,
a preferred activity of hers–
not in a childish way,
but in a child-like way,
like she is constantly reliving
something she did growing up.
She had a particular favorite ivory dress
with a maxi-length skirt
and a low-cut back
that showed off
that beloved tattoo of hers,
and she would wear it
whenever we would go dancing.
She wore it so often, in fact,
that the hem developed a faint brown stain–
a result of the grime on those dance floors–
that never quite came out in the wash
no matter what she did.
Today, she told me that she had a secret
to share, something she rarely talks about,
and I hopped into her car
noticing once again the angel figurine,
though it was looking even worse for wear
the thread allowing it to dangle from the mirror
now replaced by a strand of brown yarn,
its face bleached to near bone-white by the sun,
its wings crumpled slightly
as if it had been crushed in a fist.
She drove us to the cemetery–
that one near the park
that we went to together
shortly after we met.
We parked and walked through the grass
to a headstone with her last name on it
and a set of feathery angel wings
carved in near the top.
The death date was nearly a decade ago,
but she had never mentioned this person to me.
Even standing there, she did not acknowledge
where we were,
what we were doing.
She only brushed her fingers across
those feather-like divots,
as tears began to stream down her cheeks.
She did not seem to notice
when her pearl top slipped off her shoulder
and her ecru skirt
whipped against her legs in the wind,
too caught up in the sadness
that I felt woefully ill-prepared
to provide comfort for.
Regaining some composure,
she turned to me and said,
“My mama said that a guardian angel
would look after me once she left,
but she has been gone a long time now
and I haven’t seen any guardian angels.”
And with one last sad, longing look
at the gravestone,
she turned and walked back to the car.
I scurried after her,
unable to form the words to tell her
that I could be her guardian angel
and that she was already mine.
On Tuesday, an explosion in Beirut, Lebanon killed over a hundred people and injured several thousand. With the corruption and inflation problems in Lebanon, it is hard to know how to help, so for this week’s resource, I would like to share this carrd about the current issues in Lebanon. It contains information about their revolution, economic crisis, and famine as well as organizations to which you can donate. I have heard that donating to the Lebanese Red Cross is especially helpful during this time.