Lessons with Angels
The town where I live is full of mystery. People claim that amazing things happen in it. Me? Well, I was never a believer. Of course, I never believed a lot of things that I do now.
Last summer, my life took a sharp turn. In a lot of ways it was for the worse. In others, it may have been good - I'm not sure yet. But I do know that I will never be the same.
Some of you reading this may recognize what I’ve been through. I don’t really know. Am I the only person that this has ever happened to? Maybe. Is it likely? No.
I’m betting that quite a few people have had experiences like mine. They just aren’t willing to admit it.
If you have no clue what I’m talking about, have fun reading. Read it like it’s a great fiction story. To you, it is.
But if you’re one of those people who know what I’m talking about, well, I’d advise you to do what you’ve probably been doing for a while – keeping quiet about it. Because if there’s one thing I know, it’s that telling the truth can be dangerous.
A gentle tug on my sleeve pulled me out of my trance. I looked down to see my little sister, Gabrielle, her pale blue eyes wide. Her blonde hair fell in cascading ringlets down her back. One curl in back was tucked under the collar of her black velvet dress. I reached down and tugged it out. “Yes, Gabby?” I asked quietly.
“When are we going to get to leave?”
I looked at her, stricken by the way she barely even knew what we were here for. “Not until we bury Mommy.”
Her round face stared up at mine. “Why are we burying Mommy?” she asked, looking confused. “Mommy wouldn’t like to be buried. She doesn’t like dirt.”
I laughed, but it came out as half a sob. “Mommy doesn’t care anymore,” I said.
“But Mommy doesn’t like dirt, Lexi.”
The tears were back, hot in my eyes. I squeezed my eyelids down, trying to hold them in. “Gabby, none of that matters anymore.”
I knelt down, so my face was equal with my sister’s. “Mommy’s gone, Gabrielle.”
Gabby shook her head. “Mommy isn’t gone.”
I sighed. “Mommy died, honey. She crashed in the car. She’s dead, Gabby. She’s dead and she’s not coming back.” The tears started to roll down my face, burning wet tracks across my cheeks. Gabby put her arms around my shoulder and hugged me.
“Mommy is dead, Lexi,” she said quietly in my ear. “But she isn’t gone.”
I pulled back from her, stunned out of my tears. “What do you mean, Gabby?”
She looked away, and pointed to the priest. “I think he’s starting.” But I didn’t look at him. All I could do was stare at my sister… Mommy is dead, Lexi. But she isn’t gone.
After the funeral, the ride home was as silent as death – appropriate, considering our circumstances.
Uncle Benjamin drove us home. He’s our dad’s brother. Our dad stayed at the graveyard. He hadn’t cried yet, but he looked pale and shaky like he was about to bowl over any second.
Gabby still wouldn’t explain to me what she had meant. Maybe she was just being a weird little kid. But she had sounded so sure of herself when she’d said that… I glanced over at her, where she sat with a cheek resting on her fist, staring out at the cloudy sky. Her blue eyes looked like orbs, huge and shiny – like they could see everything. She had not cried during the funeral. She just stared off into the distance, looking fixated on a nearby tree. I don’t know why – maybe she didn’t want to believe Mom was actually dead.
Ben pulled up at our house – it loomed cold and unfriendly above us. We got out, and Gabby hurried over to my side. She took my hand and put the thumb of her other in her mouth. I sighed and we walked up the steps. Ben followed. As I took my key out of my pocket, my uncle put a hand on my shoulder. He looked worried. “Are you going to be okay, Lex?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I lied. “We’ll be fine.”
I walked in the door, letting Gabby go in before me, and closed it, leaving my anxious uncle on the doorstep. Gabby climbed into the window seat near the door to watch him go. A little figurine was on the sill in front of her.
“Watch out for the statue, Gabby,” I warned.
She looked down and saw it. She picked it up, turning it around in her chubby little fingers. Then she held it up for me to see. “Look, Lexi,” she said.
I looked at it. “Yeah, I know, we’ve had that forever.”
“No, look closer. It looks like Mommy.”
"Gabby, it's just a statue. It's not of Mommy."
"But it changed, Lexi. Mommy changed it to look like her so we would never forget."
That was it. I snatched the figurine from her fingers and slammed it back onto the sill. Then I took Gabby and lifted her from the seat. “Gabby, I don’t know what you’re trying to do. Are you trying to creep me out? Or are you just really confused? Mommy is dead, Gabby. She is never coming back.”