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The Dandelion

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I sit on the cold ground, the dew dipped grass soaking my black lace skirt. In my hands is a dandelion, those pretty things that blow seeds away on windy days. You’re supposed to make a wish and then blow on then, like birthday candles, but probably less hazardous. But the one I’m holding, it’s different from the countless other I’ve wished on. This one is the colors of the rainbow, and it glows, faintly. My guardian angel gave it to me the last time I saw him. He told me not to lose it and not to wish on it till I was sure of what I wanted.

“Of course,” I remember he said, “You can’t wish for something impossible like world peace, or as such. It has to be for you.” He traced my cheekbones with the tips of his cool fingers, such a restrained caress. Then he said, “And please don’t wish for beauty, since your already a rose in so many eyes.” Then he smiled a smile so filled with sadness it still makes my heart ache to remember, and gripped my hands tightly in his, and leaned his radiant face closer to mine. I knew better than to expect anything but a chaste kiss on my forehead or cheek, so when his lips met mine, I couldn’t stop myself from flinching away. I remember the immeasurable sorrow in his eyes as he pulled away and with one final brush of skin against skin, our hands unclasped. I turned my head and closed my eyes, to stop myself from crying, and when I opened them, he was out of sight, gone.

I am brought back to the present as a cool wind blows against me, lifting stands of my hair around me…and I carefully cup the dandelion, making sure not one seed blows away. I look down at it and think of all the days I spent wondering what to wish for, that I didn’t even notice when the one that gave it to me didn’t appear for weeks. It’s not like he was with me everyday, at least not after he fell, but a presence is missed.

And questions have been left unanswered, like how he never explains to me why he was fallen. All I know is that before he was banished from heaven, he was my guardian angel. He was assigned to me from the first time my heart beat in my mothers’ womb for the first time. He protected me then, subtly, making sure my mother didn’t drink excess alcohol, and even protecting me from my father blows, when he beat her. I guess you could say I owe him my life, my every breath, but when I tried to thank him for this once, he just waved away my gratitude with a small smile, telling me that it was his duty, the only purpose he had besides exemplifying the Creator.

Before he came to me I didn’t believe in god. Why should I? My life being one small tragedy followed by catastrophes, with small glimpse of happiness eroded by pain…why should I believe in a being that willed me into existence? It’s not that I was bitter, just faithless. But then he came, and even though I still find it hard to believe in the Creator, for him, I try. I remember it physically hurt him if I said I didn’t believe. Even after being stripped of his wings, having them forcibly torn from his flesh, leaving gaping wounds that’ll never heal completely, not to mention the eternal ache of losing paradise….and he still has not abandoned god in his heart.

I still remember when I found him, the moment as fresh as if it were yesterday. I was wandering the cemetery as was my usual, on my way to my mothers’ grave. It s the only was to while away the night, unless you like lying in bed watching shadows lengthen till morning night brings you back. I prefer the cemetery over that any day. It’s not that I’m a morbid person who likes to spend her time with the dead, but I guess you could say the cemetery is like my sanctuary. Some people have the church, I have the cemetery. I choose the dead over the living.

No one bothers me here, since the grounds keepers know me from the times I’ve come with flowers, to leave at my mothers’ tomb. He’s such a hypocrite, my father. He basically killed my mother, though the official cause of death was O.D/Suicide. The point is, my mother always wanted to be cremated, instead of spending eternity rotting on earth. So what does my father do when she dies? That’s right. He builds her a mausoleum, just for her, so people who would think he was honoring her, a sign of his “love”. Only I know it was his way of getting back at her defying him, for having me.

So I was coming to visit my mother, though in reality that’s just an excuse, since I was never close to her. How can you be close to someone who was almost always sloshed on wince and anti depressants? By the last few months she couldn’t remember who I was. But still, I come to visit, just to get away from the man she herself couldn’t escape.

I was here, a new glass vase in my hands filled to the brim with luminous sunflowers, her favorite kind, and a few dandelions, my favorites. I remember I pushed the mausoleum doors open, after unlocking them, and going inside, fumbling with the matches in my pocket. I remember I finally got them out and lit the nearest lantern to me, then turned to my mothers white marble coffin. That’s when I saw him.

The vase tumbled out of my hands and shattered on the hard concrete floor, spilling water, glass and flowers everywhere. But all I could focus on was him.

Hair as golden as purest suns rays, skin that glowed with an inner light, porcelain white as if the sun had never touched such virgin white skin. And he was lying sprawled, without dignity, on my mothers’ tomb.

I don’t know why I didn’t run screaming out of there. I mean think about it, there I was, sleep deprived and weak, in a cemetery, in the middle of the night with a strange man lying on my mothers tomb. Anyone else would have left and called the cops or something. But I didn’t.

I remember I moved closer, slowly. Not out of fear or anything, just …out of reverence. All I felt was concern for him, since I could see he was bleeding, hurt. I reached out to touch him, to see if he was alive, or maybe just to see if he was real, and he shifted slightly, and looked straight at me. I froze then, caught in his eyes. Such eyes. It wasn’t the beauty of him, but the gaze itself that spell bound me. It was so trusting, so open, like he knew me from forever, and knew I would never hurt him. There was something else too, but he looked away before I could figure out what it was. He moved, in an attempt to get up, and then spoke to me. His first words to me were an apology.

“Forgive me, I seem to have gotten blood on your mothers’ tomb.”

Lilting musical notes, as could never be created by mere earthy instruments. All I could do was shake my head and open my mouth slightly, words not getting out.

“I see you don’t recognize me.”

“Should I?” Words finally dislodged themselves from my dry throat and came out half rasp, half squeak.

“Don’t’ I feel familiar to you?”

Ready to say “No”, I paused, because, yes, he did. It was like he could sense my hesitation, because he somehow got him self upright and beckoned me closer. I took one hesitant step, then two, there I was there, so near him that his beauty was almost heart aching. I faced him, then stepped on one the small steps next to the tomb. Now I was eyelevel to him. He reached out towards me and I didn’t know what to think. I’d never been bestowed affection, except for once, and the person who ever touched me with love, not violence, was lying in that tomb, the one that this…presence was sitting atop of. So when he gently rested his hands on my shoulders and pulled me to him, my mind went blank. He pulled me into an embrace, hands firmly on my shoulder blades. I didn’t know what to think and for a second I felt genuine panic. But then he began to stroke my hair, and I felt such immense sadness in me, coming from him. And then I remembered. The same touch, years ago. As a child whenever I would cry myself to sleep, right before unconsciousness, that moment when you can’t tell between dreams or reality, I felt hands stroking my head, carefully, lovingly. I never questioned it. It just was. And here it was again, the same caress. I hugged him back, harder than he had, and I cried, silently. He held me, not saying anything, just a comfort to be, as he had always been.

“You have always been there for me, haven’t you?”

“Yes.” He stroked my head one last time, then pulled me away gently to look me in the face and said “and I always will be.”

My tears flowed down my face and he wiped them away. An eternity could have passed, but neither one of us would have acknowledged it.



***********************

And so, that’s how I came to know my guardian angel. I catch myself not believing it sometimes. My minds still riddled with unanswered questions, but then, I look inside myself, and I feel comfort, even joy, so why should anything else matter?

But now he’s been gone completely, for almost 3 weeks, and though I’ve tried to not be miserable, I can’t help it. He’s always been there for me, in some way, and to not have him …I’d rather breathe glass shards. I feel alone. For the first time in my life, I feel truly alone.

And there’s also the fact that I love him. I don’t know yet how I love him, if it’s just in a simple devotional way, or…more, but I know that it’s there. And maybe he could sense it, so he left? I don’t even want to think about it, I just want him back.

I sigh and notice the sky has turned that pure azure blue color, the one that tells you that the sun is soon to rise. That’s why I’m here now. “It’s the closest to heaven I’ll ever be again.” That’s what he told me as we watched the sun rise once, after having spent the whole night just talking, contemplating life.

I know this is where I have to be, that the time is now, to make my wish. It will be for me, yes, but almost, in a way, for him.

I close my eyes, inhale, and picture his face in my mind. I bring the dandelion closer and then I whisper my wish so only the breeze can hear it. Eye’s still closed, I exhale softly, and open my eyes in time to see the rainbow seeds go flying in the wind, towards the heavens. I cry, silently, just tears, to know that this last bit of him is gone.

I watch the seeds till the last one has faded from sight, then close my eyes to the world. An eternity passes. Then…I feel him. Hands softly touch my face, bringing me back to the world. I open my eyes and fresh tears well up and threaten to spill over. He embraces me gently and I can breathe again.

“Don’t cry…I’m here.”

“I know, that’s why I cry. I didn’t …I didn’t know if you’d come back.”

“I’ll always be with you, in some way, always.”

“But you left, and I couldn’t feel you…”

“You had me still. The dandelion. My essence and the only way to save you from my ever sinning ways.”

I pull away from him, and look him in the eyes, wanting to understand, asking him to explain.

“You could have wished for anything, and it would have been granted to you, but you chose…me. And so you will have me,” He pauses, off balance for once, and then says “Will you have me?”

I look into his eyes, such eyes, filled with uncertainty but always hopeful, and say, “I will have you.” I smile slightly, then look down, suddenly self-conscious. He takes my hand in his, and I look up. This will not be easy, his eyes tell me. I know, but we will make it mine say back. We will survive, I know this, more than I know my own name.

I kiss him, a sweet surrender, soft rain on green meadows. I feel need and am surprised slightly as I feel him pull me closer, tighter against him. But there is no rush. We have eternity. We will find many more dandelions to wish upon, though we won’t need to.

The sun rises, triumphantly, finally, bathing us in sweet pink gold red light. We need no other paradise than this.





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