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It’s all cold and unmoving. Everything. Everything, except the people who breath and move and talk, but even then, most of them are cold too. The room stifles happiness, and once it shows through it is moved to a private room to make space for more coldness. An ER should be alive with activity and energy; at least that was my assumption. But looking at Glory I feel the coldness too. It scares me.
“Do you have a minute?”
“Of course, Father.”
I turn around to find a replacement for me. A few wandering angels walk close to me and I enlist them to greet the new brothers and sisters. The gates can be intimidating when no one is there to say hello. They gladly take post and begin welcoming people: “Welcome to Heaven, we’ve been expecting you!”
“Care to take a stroll?” he asks me, putting his arm around my shoulder. I’m glad to, and fall into stride with him. We wander past other angels, some going, some coming. I look on in envy; I am one of the few who has yet to go to Earth.
“I have a job for you Gabriel,” he begins, “nothing too large, but just as important.”
“Father I’m always happy to aid,” I respond eagerly. I want to visit the world again. It has been 200 years since I last was on it.
“Good, good. I know you are,” he smiles. A warm breeze washes over us, growing stronger as his smile widens. The breezes rushes through me and calms my agitation. I take a deep breath and try to focus on his task.
“It has to do with a young girl, Glory, who’s about to come to us before her time.”
“Mm hmm,” he nodded. “It’s sad but true. I need you to help her find my plan for her. She needs guidance.”
“Me sir?” I repeat excitedly.
He chuckles. “Yes you, Gabriel. I know you are always eager to help, I just hadn’t found the right thing for you yet.” He nods with a knowing look. “I’m sure you will do great things for Glory.”
“Like what Father?”
“Well, mostly she just needs a friend right now,” he smiles. “Someone to love her.”
I take a moment and look around at all the other people gathered in the hospital. Some look like me, frightened and worried. Others pray or pace. But mostly people cry. They hold the hand of the person lying in bed, protected with scratchy sheets, and they cry. Following in suit, I take Glory’s hand and look at her.
Her bruises are darker, but the color is beginning to return to her cheeks. Her hands feel warmer than they did a few hours ago. I turn them over in my own and look at her wrists, where the cuts marks have begun to fade. It wasn’t too long ago when they were fresh and newly-healing. Like the day I met her…
“Eeep!” She shrieks.
I look around the small room, covered in rotting moldy wallpaper. The floor was coated in dust and hair, barely covered by a shabby rug. She stares at me with her mouth open, razor blade on the floor where it had dropped. Most of her arm is now a violent red. The shock had startled her and the cut was deeper than intended.
“Oh Dear Lord, you’re bleeding!” I exclaim, hopping out of the bathtub where I had appeared.
“Don’t touch me!” she gasps, finding her voice. She scrambles away and backs herself against the wall. “I’ll scream!” She grabs the razor and holds it towards me like a weapon. The action sprinkles blood on the carpet.
“Please let me help you,” I say softly, reaching for her. “You’re losing blood.”
“I’m fine,” she snaps.
Startled, she pushes closer to the wall. “How do you know my name, you creep!?”
“I know everything about you.”
“What??” Apparently the idea was not reassuring.
I try again: ”God sent me to help you, I’m an angel.”
“Excuse me,” the doctor interrupts my thoughts.
She stands with a straight spine, chin up, well-trained and self-assured, a sight comforting to worried families and friends; something stable.
“She’s stabilized enough for us to move her into a private room.” I stand and touch the bed protectively. “You can come of course. She just needs rest.”
The doctor has been sympathetic. Accepting of the fact that Glory’s parents weren’t going to come and understanding that I was the only one here for her. I suppose Glory is not the first case she has seen like this.
“Thank you.” I say to her before following the moving bed down the hall.
She had finally calmed down enough for me to help her. Hand holding a washcloth over the cut; she stares at me with eyes wide. I squirm under her gaze and try think of a way to help.
“We need to bandage this cut,” I decide, standing and moving for the door. “We should go to a doctor.”
“Uh uh,” she shakes her head. “No doctors.” She lifts the washcloth off of the cut and inspects it. The bleeding has finally stopped.
“Here, I’ve got it covered.” She walks to her room, plops herself on the grimy floor and pulls a box from underneath her bed. It’s labeled in big letters BAND-AIDS.
She pulls out three large ones and places them tenderly over the cut. Seeing the confused expression on my face she explains: “They fix everything.”
“Mhmm,” her head begins to move slowly back and forth, gathering its bearings. The eyelids flutter, lightly at first then more furiously as they open. The bright light of the room blinds her, and she closes her eyes until they slowly adjust. She finally opens them enough to see me.
“So, um, was getting hit by a bus a part of God’s plan?” she quips wryly, still adjusting to the new lighting.
I chuckle. “Nope, that’s just life.”
“Damn,” she smiles and relaxes further into the pillows, gently squeezing my hand for comfort.
“I brought you something.”
“Oh yeah?” she raises an eyebrow. “What kind of something?”
I pull out the box, holding it at her eye level. She laughs a throaty laugh, and begins to cough. I choose a Band-Aid decorated with Superman and put it gently over a small scar on her arm.
“I hear these fix everything.”
She smiles and squeezes my hand tighter.