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Angel of Mine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     The green mush fell off the fork and hit the old gray bowl with a splat. I cringed as the smell of asparagus and spinach hit my nostrils, igniting all my senses. Here I was, stuck in a lousy, beaten-down soup kitchen in the middle of a perfectly good Friday night, wondering how these people could stand to eat this sad attempt at food. I sat down on a creaky stool and put my head in my hands. How could my parents be so cruel as to make me miss the most important social event of the year?

"Sara!" screamed my mother from the other side of the kitchen. "Get up right this instant and start serving these lovely people their dinner!"

Boy, was she in for it. I stood and dragged my sorry self over to the buffet table. I picked up an oversized fork and waited for people to ask for vegetables.

A group of women wearing matching, baggy purple and orange dresses stood at the beginning of the line chatting about someone named Mr. Biggelstein. On and on they gossiped, holding up the line. I wanted to scream to make them start walking, but I controlled my urges. Didn't they realize the longer they took, the more of my party I would miss? Finally, after what must have been an hour of contemplating Mr. Biggelstein's lovely little flower garden on the corner of Fifth and Asylum, they began to move. Just my luck, they all asked for extra vegetables.

Once the orange and purple dresses faded into the crowd of diners, I walked away and sat back on the stool, feeling sorry for myself.

Suddenly I heard a squeaky little voice.

"Why are you sad?" asked a curly, blonde-haired girl with rosy cheeks. "Is it because you don't like spinach?" she continued without even waiting for my answer. "Sometimes I get sad when they have spinach here, too. I get all excited for spaghetti and meatballs, and I see this icky spinach - yuck!" I chuckled at her bubbly comments and simply nodded.

"What's your name?" I asked the girl as she fixed her pink shirt.

"Angel," she replied. "Daddy gave it to me. My mommy passed away an hour after I was born. Daddy says the doctors told him I wasn't supposed to make it either but Jesus was on my side, and he sent me down from heaven as an angel. Sometimes Daddy cries and tells me he misses Mommy but that he loves me so much, and I remind him of her. Do you know what an angel is?" she asked, glancing up at me from her three-and-a-half foot viewpoint.

Stunned, I leaned back on my stool. "An angel? Umm," I stalled. "An angel is a beautiful little girl whom God created to make everyone smile."

"Oh," she said with a grin from ear to ear, "Well, I better get going. I need to get some spinach before it's all gone! Got to take what I can get." And with that, she was off.

I sat there in the lousy, beaten-down soup kitchen in the middle of a perfectly good Friday night. And suddenly, the soup kitchen didn't seem so lousy and beaten-down anymore; the food, not so nasty; and the orange and purple dress ladies really weren't that rude. I put my head back down into my hands.

I had come to the soup kitchen with a negative attitude because I was forced to be there. Helping others just had not seemed to fit into my weekend's agenda, but I do not think I could ever have been so wrong in my entire life. I never did make it to that party, and honestly, I'm pretty glad I didn't. An angel was sent to me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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