41: And She Walks With Me

41: And She Walks With Me

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

And She Walks With Me

Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.

~Barbara Kingsolver

Did I believe psychics could communicate with those who had passed into “the great beyond”? I wasn’t sure but I certainly did hope so. In fact, I so wanted to hear from my mother after her passing that I sought the services of a self-proclaimed psychic named Michelle.

Initially, I felt hopeful since Psychic Michelle had come highly recommended by an acquaintance who claimed to have received an amazing message from her dad through Michelle. Yet visiting in the home of this lovely lady now had me feeling more skeptical than anything else. I had to admit that what the woman sitting across the table was telling me didn’t make a lot of sense.

After some friendly chitchat, Michelle had begun our session simply enough.

“You do a lot of walking, don’t you?” she asked.

That was true. I did prefer to walk to errands in my neighborhood instead driving. I found the activity a relaxing respite from the demands of my day. And as such, walking became my exercise for both mind and body. I nodded, yes.

“Sometimes you walk late at night, too,” Michelle continued. “Really late.”

I nodded again.

Michelle doodled on the yellow pad in front of her as she continued to deliver her message. “Your mother is worried about you being so fearless. She’s telling me that she walks with you to keep you safe.”

That came as news to me. I always thought I walked alone. “Uh, really?”

“Yes. Don’t you hear her footsteps?”

“Actually, no.”

Michelle looked up from her yellow pad and straight into my eyes. “Don’t you feel her presence? A cool breeze perhaps?”

I shook my head, no.

“Well, she’s there,” Michelle stated with confidence. “Check for signs of your mother next time you’re walking.”

The highly recommended psychic then tossed a few more tidbits my way. To further confirm her abilities, she gave me the names of some other family members, both living and deceased, with what seemed to be a generic fact about each. Then, from her kitchen, I heard a timer bell ring. End of session.

“Well, that was disappointing,” I thought as I drove home that May afternoon. I had expected a different type of message than the one I received. I had hoped to hear about what a devoted daughter I had been or maybe a “thank you” for taking such good care of my mother during her many years of illness. But that she walked with me? Now, that just sounded like baloney, plain and simple.

Still, holding on to one remaining shred of hope, I listened carefully that night for the sound of my mother’s heels hitting the pavement next to mine. Silence. I looked for her shadow, sniffed for her perfume, and braced myself for the breeze of her spirit passing next to me. None of my senses cooperated. Furthermore, I had the same sense I had each night when I walked in the dark — feeling completely and utterly alone.

Weeks passed and summer arrived, bringing with it my favorite walking conditions: clear, star-filled skies and the lingering warmth of balmy nights. I had already taken my evening constitutional when I realized I had neglected to mail an important letter. I checked the clock — almost midnight. No matter, I thought, the mailbox is just a quick four blocks away on the well-lit corner behind the library. I’d be there and back in a flash. I grabbed the envelope, my house keys and my cell phone and was on my way.

Feeling particularly brave, I decided to cross through the library parking lot instead of staying on the sidewalk. Though the lot was dark, it was still, with no one else in sight. Yet I wasn’t halfway through my shortcut when I realized how mistaken I’d been. From behind a nearby hedge I heard the low rumble of male voices. Then I heard the crack of a bottle against the pavement. I quickened my step and snapped open my cell phone. A tall young man stepped toward me, broken bottle in hand. Ha, I thought, as light glinted off the bottle’s sharp edge, a lot of good a cell phone will do me now.

The young man stepped into my path. “Hi there,” he slurred.

I answered, “Hi,” prepared to barrel past him.

“Where ya goin’?” he asked, raising the bottle.

I didn’t answer, but kept on walking. My back was straight and rigid, yet inside my guts had turned to mush. I continued walking anyhow, keeping my steps determined and forceful.

Now the young man and I were just inches from each other. I could see a rip in his T-shirt and smell the beer on his breath. This is it, I thought. I pushed my luck too far this time. Yet just as I was about to plot my next move, the young man dropped the bottle to the ground.

“Aw, just forget it,” he said. Then he returned to his drunken buddies as they waited behind the hedgerow.

I quick-stepped through the lot and from somewhere past the bushes, I heard one of his pals snicker. “Ha ha, man, what’s wrong with you? You afraid of her?”

Needless to say, I made it home that night in record time despite my shaking legs. Once I climbed up my steps and locked the front door behind me, I relayed the details of my close call to my husband Bill.

He could only shake his head. “Someone must have been looking out for you tonight.”

Yes, someone had been looking out for me that night. And I knew exactly who that someone was.

~Monica A. Andermann

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