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If You Honestly Believe
"Pstt, Are you here....?"
"Where are you?"
"Come back to me.....Please”
I know, I know. I probably look like a wierdo. Whispering to myself in the middle of a lecture about 'American Revolution' given by our very own ancient historian Miss... Umm... well her name isn’t important right now. Anyways, I don’t really care what people think of me. I stopped caring when Ethan became the only person I can talk to, the only person who cared to listen.
Ok, to make things less confusing, Ill share my story with you. Now, I assure you, I am not crazy, nor have I lost my mind. The facts are simple, if you honestly believe. And whether you have an open mind or not, this is the story of how I fell in love with an angel. My angel. Ethan. I’ll start off by telling you a little about myself. My name is Bell, short for Annabelle. I've always hated it; I mean what kind of name is bell? But Ethan has this habit of ringing bells whenever he's near. I've grown use to it by now. It’s one of the things I love about him. I live in San Antonio, Texas with my grandparents. I’m a junior in High School and I can’t wait to get the hell out of here. I don’t do the whole 'school involvement' scene. Mostly because I suck at just about anything and everything I do. I get pretty descent grades, a solid C average. I was never an over achiever. My parents are divorced; they have been since I was 11, for the one reason that haunts us all.
This is where Ethan comes in.
I remember it clearly. June 20th, 2005. I was 10 years old. My brother was 15. My family decided to go on a joy ride. We had bought quads the previous summer. What a brilliant idea that was. Kyle was hooked on them. We couldn't get him off. But for someone who had that death trap for less than a year, he was a pro. He could ride on any mountain, jump any hill. Damn he was good. He would always take me on rides with him and his friends when ever I was bored and had nothing else to do. We were really close, hardly ever fought, unless you count those T.V remote wrestling match we so often had. There was one time where he elbowed me right in the... sorry, getting off topic. Back to the main story.
That day, it was blazing. Maybe 105 degrees. I was running around throwing water balloons at anyone in sight. Of course, they would get mad at me, when I was actually trying to cool them off. Kyle was out riding with some of his buddies. We were waiting for them to get back to eat lunch, sneaky me, I stole a sandwich or two, and I was very stingy back then. I finally hear the roar of the motors in the distance. I turn and see them speeding towards us. I start freaking out, running for my life and screaming like a lunatic, only to look like a fool in front of my brother and his friend, who stopped far away from any of us. We all gathered around the table, passing sandwiches and chips around. Since I had finished all of my food before everyone, I was dying of boredom. I guess Kyle knew me well enough to figure it out on his own. "Hey bells, you wanna go for a ride?" he asked, finishing off his lunch. Before he can even get his helmet on, I was already on his bike ready to go.
I've driven with him before, so I already knew the drill. Sit in back and hold on tight, lean forward when going up a hill, and lean back when going down. But that day was different. "I'll teach you how do drive if you want.” I was amazed that he would even consider it. So I jumped in the front seat and started up the beast. "Ok, you've seen me do this thousand of times. Put it in first gear and slowly press the gas." Slowly wasn’t what I had in mind. As the quad leaped forward, it died out. So the next time I tried, I did exactly what Kyle said. Everything was going fine. But up ahead, was trouble.
We rode up small hills. Every now and then there would be a medium sized one, but mostly small. Until we fell upon a huge hill. Kyle suggested that he should go in front, since I have never done one on my own, but I refused. I wanted to show my brother that I was just as good as him. I wanted to make him proud of me. So, I ride up the hill, leaning forward, and we reach the top. What came next was unexpected. I didn’t see exactly what happened, and I don’t know exactly what went wrong. My guess is that I pressed the gas too much, and didn’t lean back while going down.
I remember flipping over and over again.
I remember a huge amount of pressure on top of me.
I remember the pain I felt on my leg.
But most of all, I remember my brother, holding on to me. Telling me not to worry, that everything’s going to be fine, and to never forget that he loved me
After that, I blacked out. I’m not sure how long. When I regained consciousness, I was afraid to open my eyes. I had a throbbing pain in my left leg. My ribs were killing me, which scared me to death. But what scared me more were the voices I heard. I can hear my mother’s voice, shaky and lifeless. I knew she had been crying. She was talking to someone whose voice I did not recognize. I can hear her talking about a cat scan. Something about Acoma.......Internal bleeding...... maybe a day left......... and then cries. Was she talking about me? No, it wasn’t possible. Then I wouldn’t be able to hear what they were saying. Or could I? I was very confused and paranoid at the moment that I didn’t realize my mom’s voice getting closer. "Look, she’s crying. That good right? Well not good, But that means she's going to be okay right? I can’t lose her too. I wouldn’t know what I would do." Loose me too? What did she mean? Then reality punched me in the face. She was talking about my brother. She was talking about Kyle. I wanted to know what happened, wanted to know what was going on. Slowly, I opened my eyes. My vision was blurry at first. But then everything came into view. I saw my mom, by the door, back turned to be. She was dressed in Pajamas, hair in a sloppy bun. I was surprised; I've never seen her like that. I was just about to call out to her. But I couldn’t find my voice. It’s like it was trapped inside my throat. I tried several times, until finally, it came out. "Momma?" It was barely a whisper, but she heard it. And when she turned to see my staring at her, she cried. She ran to me and started kissing my forehead repeatedly. After she was dried of all the tears left in her system, she told me everything. “You rode into a small ditch. The quad flipped forward and you guys just kept rolling and rolling. You held onto the handle bars for some reason. But Kyle covered you with his whole body. I don’t know how he did it, no one knows how. But he did. Finally, the quad stopped, but it landed on top of you. When we were able to pull it off, Kyle wouldn’t let go to you, He seemed fine at first, but he wouldn’t let us help him until they got to you first. And when the paramedics got there, they loaded you into the ambulance. Kyle passed out after a while, has been in a coma since then. They found internal bleeding, but they're not sure where it’s coming from yet. With the amount of blood loss, they think he won’t last another day. You broke your leg, and several ribs. You needed stitches above your eye from where the goggles cut you, but that’s it. Your father would be here too, but he can’t miss work, he's already missed a lot just to be here." “What day is it?" I asked slowly. She hesitated at first, "The 26th," she said softly. I couldn’t believe it. My head was spinning. This was all too much information to process. "Can I have something to eat?" I was starving. "Okay, I'll head to the cafeteria right now." She got up but I stopped her. "Can I have McDonalds?" I was scared she was going to freak out for even thinking about a happy meal at a time like this. But she just looked at me, smiled, and nodded her head. While she was gone, I slept.
I remember having this dream. I was walking to the river by our house, to my favorite spot. It just underneath a giant willow tree, and had a perfect view of the sunset. As I approach it, however, I saw that someone had already gotten there. I was just about to turn around and head back home, until a realized this is my dream, and that was my tree. I could kick anyone out if a wanted to. I slowly creep up behind the strange boy sitting in my spot. He was about my age, brown hair that curved behind his ear. He was wearing jeans and a blue T-shirt.
"I was wondering when you would show up" Immediately, I jumped and ran behind the tree, which was pretty dumb, considering the fact that he already knows I’m here. "Who are you? And what are you doing in my dream?" I asked. He patted the spot next to him and I slowly walked over and sat down. He didn’t look over. Just kept looking straight, “My name is Ethan. I was sent by your brother."
"My brother? What are you talking about?" Finally, he turned to face me. I was breathless. His eyes were ocean blue, I was drowning just be looking at them. He had light skin; a small mole on the left side of his cheek, his hair fell just above his eye. He smiled wide, revealing his dimples.
“I met your brother on his way to heaven. He asked me to watch over you. You may not believe it, but I’m your Guardian angel. After this dream, I’ll be watching over you until you desire me to leave. I'll be there when you need me, when you need a friend or when you need guidance. However, I cannot stay forever."
Fear struck me like lightning. "But what do you mean you met my brother in heaven. He’s still here. He can’t leave yet. I haven’t seen him yet."
Sorrow filled Ethan’s eyes. "He died about an hour ago. He told me to tell you he’s sorry for not saying good bye, that it was his time to go; he said everything he did was so you can have a chance to live your life. I could see in his eyes that he really loves you. So I promised him I would look out for you." Ethan lifted my chin towards him, and whipped away the fresh tears of pain that had fallen. "Please don't cry. You'll never be alone. I promise you that. Whenever you need me, just call out to me, and I’ll come." He Whispered. He wrapped his arms around me and held me until the tears stopped. Then he lightly kissed my cheek and disappeared.
When I woke up, it was raining. No one was in my room. I looked around for one of those magic buttons you press to get a nurse. I pressed that thing about 50 times before someone came to see me. "What’s wrong sweetie?" The gentle nurse lady asked.
"I want to see my brother" I said. Her face dropped. "I’m so sorry honey, but your brother passed away last night" She couldn’t even look me in the eyes. "I want to see him. Please."
She stood there a while, thinking. Finally, she agreed to take me. She helped me into a wheel chair and pushed me to down the hall to the elevators. We went all the way to the 1st floor, she steered my left and right, until finally we came to a huge door. "You sure you want to go in there? We can turn back around if you want." I was certain. I gave her the okay and she wheeled me in. Inside this room was very dark. I can see what looked like a metal bed. There was a white blanket covering something. I knew who it was. Obviously, I mean I wasn’t going to visit Santa clause. But I still couldn’t believe it was true. The nurse pulled back the sheets, and all I could do was staring. Kyle lied there motionless. A purple bruise on his forehead, scratches all over his face. He had stitches in the same spot I did. I reached up to feel the only thing we shared. His lips were a light blue color. I reached up to touch them, but being the little elf I was, I couldn’t reach. Silent tears danced down my face. There was nothing I could do now but say goodbye to my only brother. "I love you too" I whispered. Low enough that the nurse wouldn’t hear me. We went back up to my room, not a word escaped my lips. The next couple of days were a blur of pain and sorrow. After a week or so, the hospital released me. Every now and the Ethan would visit me, to see how I was. I never knew angels can look like regular people, at least to me. Ethan said I was the only person who could see him. I was okay with that. For the next year, my parents had completely lost it. They always fight. About everything. They both blame me for their problems; they blame me for Kyle’s death. I was lost. If it wasn’t for Ethan, I would have ended all of the pain with a couple of slice. Can you imagine that? A 14 year old, trying to end her life. Yea, that’s how bad it was. Ethan convinced me that there is nothing in the world that is worth taking your life.
I was home one day by myself. School had let out early, so I walked home, to an empty house. Ethan comforted me, so I wouldn’t be alone too long. My dad came home drunk that day. "Why did you get to live and not my boy?" he slurped. "The accident was your fault! Iff it...if it wasn’t for you! My SON would still be here! I hate you for living!" He raised his fist to my face and punched me right in the jaw. I flew back and slammed onto the floor. I could taste the blood in my mouth from the busted lip, as I wiped it off; I quickly crawled behind the couch and cried for what seemed like hours. I felt arms around me; I turned and cried into Ethan’s shoulder. He guided my face to his. "You don’t have to deal with this. Your brother wanted you to live. Your parents should be happy that you did. You don’t deserve to be treated like this. I want you to call your grandma. Tell her everything that happened. I know she will never allow you to stay here any longer. Go pack your things, everything you need. I think you should move in with your grandparents." He looked me straight in the eyes. "I promised to keep you safe, and I intend to keep it" he gently kissed my lips and urged me to do as instructed. It was then that I realized that I was in love with him. And he loved me too.
That night I called my grandma to pick me up. By morning I was unpacked, set up in my new home. Of course we I didn’t tell my parents where I was going, or who with. I figured they could do without me. A couple of months later they found out that I was staying somewhere else. They didn’t bother to come get me. The following week they got a divorce. My mother actually sends me thank you cards for helping her leave my father by running away. I haven’t heard from her since then. Now, back to the present.
As of right this moment I am in history, my last period of the school day, thank god. My grandma ask me to rush home after school. I still don’t know why. But she said it was urgent. I have to walk 5 miles from my school all the way to my house, and since my grandma told me I have to hurry, I decide to run.
2 Minutes later, I’m leaning over the side of the road, gasping for air, and about to pass out. I never realized I was this out of shape. I look around to find a nice shady tree to sit under. Slower than a turtle, I find my way to the cool wet grass and lie down. It isn’t long before Ethan joins me.
"What are you doing here Love, aren’t you suppose to be getting home?" he asks, avoiding my eyes.
"I know, but you see, I almost passed out. I hate running. Did I ever tell you that? I don’t think I did. But now you know," I say as I put my feet on my backpack. "I think you should really be getting home." He whispers, turning his head away from me. "What’s the rush? I just got comfortable." Suddenly, thunder shouts down to us. It starts pouring rain and I immediately know something is wrong. "Ethan, what’s going on? Why did you make it rain?" Finally, he turns to face me, eyes bloodshot red, tears racing down his perfect cheeks. "Please just get home. I can’t be the one to tell you." Then, he's gone, and I don’t waste time. I quickly gather all of my stuff and charge down the street. I don’t care about the sharp pain I feel in my right side. I don’t care that I can barely breathe. All I can think about is that my family needs me, and I’m going to be there for them. My grandma is waiting for me on the porch, and when she sees me hauling butt down the street, she disappears inside. Once I get to the front door, she hands me a glass of water, and leads me to the living room.
There, I find my grandpa sitting in the love seat near the fireplace. He looks straight at me, and as I study his face, I can’t tell what he's feeling. He’s giving me a blank expression. How rude. My grandma takes the seat next to him and takes his hand. I take my usual seat on the floor by the big clock. An awkward silence creeps into the room. No one jumps to be the first to break it, as if talking would ruin the suspense of what this whole meeting is about. My grandma takes a deep breath, holds it, and lets it out slowly. "Annabelle, we have some bad news to share with you" she said quietly. I turn to my grandpa to see the blank expression has been replaced with a look of sorrow.
At that moment, I feel Ethan next to me, but I keep my eyes only on my grandpa. "Bell," he says "I have a heart murmur. I am going to be under a lot of monitors from now until the doctors are able to find me a better heart. But I don’t have that much time." A small smile sneaks onto his face "But we'll be alright, we'll be strong. You'll have to be strong for me. I need you to be strong for me. Can you do that?" His face fills with hope and love. I couldn't help but cry. This at that moment is really stupid, considering the fact that he just asked me to be strong for him. How could I say no? I sucked it up, wiped my tears away, walked up to my loving grandfather and took his hand in mine. "Whatever you need, I’m here." Now his eyes filled with tears, and we both cried together.
Later that night, I was up in my room by myself, when I heard familiar bells ringing. "Why couldn’t you have warned me?" I asked, looking around for Ethan.
"I couldn't be the one to tell you, it didn’t feel right," he said, appearing on my bed. "But you didn’t have to actually tell me, just warn me to be prepared for some unexpected bad news." He just stared at me. Eventually, he got up and slowly walked towards me. He placed his hand on the side of my face and gently rubbed my cheek with his thumb. "Something bad is going to happen, I can't prevent it, I can’t do anything to help. I can only wait, and guide you down the right path. This is your destiny, I can’t change it." He gently tugged my face to his and kissed me so passionately, I melted right into his arms. He led me back to my bed, and held me until I fell asleep in his arms. That morning I woke up to the screaming of the phone ringing nonstop. The first couple of rings I figured grandma would answer it, and on the fourth call I realized that she wasn’t planning to. So I dragged myself out of bed to find a note taped to the fridge: "off to the doctor’s appointment. Didn’t want to wake you. There’s money in the cookie jar if you want to go out and get breakfast. Be back after noon. Love- Grams and Gramps. The phone rang for a sixth time before I answered it. "Who is this?" Pshh I didn’t even bother with a good morning. I meant business. "Bell, this is your father. I want to....." CLICK. There’s no way in hell I’m talking to that creep. Before he could call again, I threw on some clothes and ran out the door, not knowing for sure where I was going, but knowing that I didn’t want to be home was enough for me. I started walking down Bethany home road when Ethan joined me. "Why did you hang up on him?" he asked, staring at the sidewalk. "Because he isn’t my dad, he’s nothing to me; I want nothing to do with him. He can kiss my..."
"Okay I get it; you don’t want to talk to him. But you can at least give him a chance to explain himself. He wants to make things right with you. I know you still hate him for what he put you through, but he’s still your father, you can’t change that."
I looked him straight in the eye, stuck my tongue out and walked away. He acts like I don’t know that monster is my dad, that doesn’t mean I have to talk to him. I don’t care if he is trying to 'make things right,' I don’t need him. I walk into Jack in the Box and order French toast sticks. Extra syrup. Ughh, I don’t want to have to deal with this right now. My only worry is my grandpa’s health. I sit down at a booth near the window and devour my food in less than two minutes. Once it’s all gone, I get this overwhelming sense of loneliness. I have nothing to do but snuggle with my pillow and read a good book. I’m not looking forward to that. All of a sudden my phone starts buzzing like crazy. It’s a number I don’t recognize, but I answer it anyways. "Hello?"
“Annabelle. We have some news. I don’t know whether to consider it good or bad."
"Grandma, what are you talking about?" "Your father has been trying to reach you for months. We got a call from the police. Someone heard gun shots coming from his apartment. The door was unlocked, they found him dead. A suicide note by his side. They are transferring him here. They decided to give his heart to your grandpa, its healthy enough. We need you now." "I’ll be right there” I found my grandma in the waiting room, black coffee in one hand, 'A Walk To Remember' in the other. When she saw me running to her, she stood, opened her arms wide, and scooped me up in a bear hug. "They just took him in right now. They said the operation will take a couple of hours. We can choose to stay here or go home and rest for a while. I decided to stay here. You don’t have to stay, but I wanted to give you this...” She handed me a piece of paper covered in red spots. I opened it to find my father’s hand writing.
"Hello. For those of you who are reading this, obviously my mind was made up. Throughout these couple of years, my life went up in flames. I lost my only son, I lost my family, and I lost my life to boozes and alcohol. These past couple of months, however, I challenged myself. I would try to fix my life, make things right with my loved ones. I started with my wife. Well, ex wife. After I found out she is now engaged to someone else, I figured there was nothing I could do to win her back. I wish all the happiness to her and her future husband. So I tried my loving daughter, Annabelle. After her brother died, I treated her like nothing. I hate myself for doing that. She did nothing but love her older brother. I was so angry for so long that I lost sight of what was truly important at that moment, my only child left. I’ve tried reaching her through her grandparents, but they refused to even let me say Hi. Today I called and she answered. Her voice, so grown up, I couldn’t believe it. In a way, I am happy that she was taken away from me, for I would have dragged her down with me. She deserves better that that. Once I started talking, trying to explain myself, she hung up. I knew then that my decision was final. At least something good will come out of my death. I want my father to have my heart. I know he needs a new one; hopefully mine will be good enough. So he will be healthy enough to be the father I never was. I just hope that my beautiful daughter will one day find it in her loving heart to forgive me. I love you Annabelle." Tears drowned out the words on the note. Thought he wasn’t the best father, I realize that I do forgive him. Hopefully that will be enough to set him free.