Angels

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Love is a lot like summer rain. It’s a sudden downpour that can stop as quickly as it starts; I just hope that sometimes, it can be a lot more than that too. I met Chloe for the first time in fourth grade. I was crying by the old swings of the elementary school playground during recess. I cried a lot as a kid. I missed my mother which was definitely a pretty lame reason for a fourth grader to cry. I remember how my square-framed glasses kept on fogging up because of my hot tears, but even with the mist and in between sobs: I saw her approach. She was beautiful even then; her waist-length blonde hair danced in the wind and her emerald eyes twinkled in the afternoon sun. I swore she was an angel coming to save me; only angels are that beautiful.
She introduced herself as Chloe and said she had just moved here over the summer from Ohio. She was bubbly. I was painfully shy. I did muster up the courage to tell her my name was Rob though, and she sat next to me on the woodchips. She told me about how she missed her friends back in Ohio, but she was excited to meet new ones. She told me about how she loved to paint and how she was going to be a famous artist when she grew up. Chloe told me more in those ten minutes than I had ever told anybody in my life. I was mesmerized by her: everything was like a dream.
“Can we be best friends? Can you promise you’ll always be there?” I could have sworn Chloe was in a Hollywood movie by her dramatic tone. I had no idea what it meant to be best friends with someone. Truth is I didn’t have any friends. I was too weird and gawky and I wasn’t good at sports. So I quickly decided I couldn’t pass up a chance like this.
“I swear,” I answered proudly and we sealed the deal with a sacred pinky promise. She flew back to class: I followed the angel.

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There wasn’t any sunlight passing through the hospital windows. So we were dependent on the dreadful fluorescent lighting to illuminate the room. I admired the strikingly meticulous mural on the wall, all done by Chloe. The colors jumped from the concrete almost seducing me to become part of the image. The painting was of a charming fairytale forest. There were frolicking fawns and lovely lakes and fields of wildflowers all beneath a looking-glass sky and vibrant sun. I wish Chloe and I lived there, instead of here. In the mural the grass was greener because here the grass was dying under layers of autumn frost. Here people were dying in hospital beds even if they weren’t old enough yet.
Chloe and I had not grown gray and happy together. In fact, we had barely grown at all and we were rather sad. We were both just starting our junior year in high school. At least, I was. Chloe was being drowned in fluids which were constantly being pumped into her fragile veins through an IV while the Chemotherapy (which was not so therapeutic) was stealing her once long hair. I had already fallen behind on schoolwork because I spent most of my time with Chloe: at the hospital. It seemed like everything I had always found important: school and appearance and popularity; had been losing their significance since Chloe was diagnosed with Leukemia over the summer.
It rained a lot this summer. Not that Chloe and I had a lot of time to go to the beach anyways. It would rain down Chloe’s face even more-regardless of whether the sun was shining. I cried a lot when I was little. I couldn’t cry now because I had to be strong for Chloe. That’s what people do when they love each other; they pretend everything is going to be alright; even if it’s not. My mother and Chloe’s mother were close friends, and so my mother learned Chloe’s true prognosis: Chloe wasn’t aware of it. My mother, against my wishes, told me. Chloe had anywhere from 5 to 8 months to live. When my mother told me, I sobbed. I shed tears for Chloe: she would never become a famous artist. I cried for her mother because Chloe was all she had. And I cried for me even though that may be selfish, I cried because Chloe would never know how much I loved her.
Chloe hasn’t been doing well the past few days. She’s been sleeping without even waking up once. The doctors don’t know why. They don’t know why little girls die of cancer and they don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know why they get paid so much. Chloe was sleeping peacefully and I was watching how her chest rose and fell with each shallow breath. She was just as beautiful as the first day I met her. Her eyes still twinkled, although they seemed to be growing dull and her hair was completely gone now. Every so often I would talk to her in her sleep and tell her stories about angels and love and how a little boy fell in love with a perfect angel. I knew Chloe couldn’t hear me, but for some reason I felt like her heart and soul could.

I thought that maybe soul mates really did have a deep connection breaking laws of physics and math and-and death. I looked down upon Chloe, my soul mate, and begged God that we could change places because Chloe was meant to be a famous artist when she grew up and I didn’t even know why I was put on earth besides for the purpose of loving her. Nothing seemed right anymore. Nothing makes sense as your heart is breaking and filling with excess blood (or wasted love.) I choked back tears as I noticed Chloe was waking up from her slumber.

“Chloe, how are you doing? It’s Rob.”

“I know it’s you stupid,” she laughed weakly, “Shouldn’t you be in school?”

“I didn’t want to leave you alone today. I just- I felt like I should be here.” Chloe awkwardly tried to shift her position in the bed. I hated that she was in pain. I hated that there was not a single thing I could do to make it all go away.

After a minute of struggling with the scratchy paper sheets, Chloe had succeeded in facing her mural. She had a faraway look in her eyes as if she wasn’t fully there. She wasn’t sad, she was just pensive. I couldn’t speak.

“Do you think heaven is like a fairytale?” Chloe whispered with tears pooling beneath her eyes.

My trembling hands moved to cover my eyes. I couldn’t face her without crying because when you love someone so much it can hurt so badly. I responded, “I think heaven is what you make it Chloe,” my voice cracked, “I think you’ll make it a rather beautiful place.”

Chloe smiled and motioned for me to sit beside her on the bed which always made me so uneasy. “Rob,” the rain had started dripping down her face and I knew a downpour would be coming. “Thank you for keeping your promise.” The rain rolled down my cheeks like water droplets on a car window. I didn’t have to ask her what promise she meant, I knew. “I wouldn’t have blamed you for leaving me, but you were always there,” her crying became louder. Then, as the stars in every galaxy aligned for a brief moment, (these moments are never long enough) Chloe looked into my teary eyes and said, “I love you Rob.”


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I never needed to wonder how Chloe meant she loved me because in the end that never really matters. All that matters is that the person you love with your whole mind and soul, knows how you feel. If they depart for a very long time, you shouldn’t leave them with a goodbye, but rather with, “We’ll meet again,” because you always do meet again if your willpower is strong enough.
Chloe died the day after she told me she loved me. She died on a rainy day. There were no rainbows or doves afterword, but there didn’t have to be for me to know it would be okay. I realized after she died that maybe love wasn’t really like a summer rain, but rather life was. Death is the senseless promise we’re all assured from the day we’re born. Life comes on so rapidly from our first breath and ends even quicker with our last. However, love never ceases to exist; never faces extinction. Love is like the sun, it remains forever: even when you can’t see it.
The mural that Chloe painted is still on the wall of room 33 of the children’s hospital. It’s there for another little boy or girl to look into and most importantly give them hope that when they grow up they’ll become famous artists or doctors or policemen. And if their ending isn’t so happy, they can add on to Chloe’s painting with their idea of heaven and maybe they’ll find peace with that.
It has been many years later and I can’t say I’ve moved on or gotten married or forgotten about Chloe because she was my soul mate and just because she’s gone to heaven doesn’t mean we won’t meet again. I know we will because soul mates can always find each other even through foggy glasses and through the veil between life and death. I believe that when it’s my time to cross over into the fairytale portal, Chloe will come back for me. She’ll be an angel, she always was. Chloe will be illuminated in her beauty and show me the way to summer rainstorms and happiness: I’ll hold her hand tight as I don’t want to lose her again, and follow.





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