45: Always Watching Over Me

45: Always Watching Over Me

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

Always Watching Over Me

We all have a guardian angel, sent down from above. To keep us safe from harm and surround us with their love.

~Author Unknown

During the two years I was a kindergartner, I lived with my maternal grandmother. At that time, my mother, who’d had me when she was a student at university, was finishing her degree after a long illness.

Because she could not be with me, she told me that I had a guardian angel who was always present, always watching over me. I imagined him looking like a man with cropped hair and filled completely with yellow, bright light. Always a few steps ahead of me, never out of reach. Only I could see him.

On my way home, I would often have long conversations with him, changing my route so I’d be able to talk to him longer without anyone interfering. He always listened patiently, gently nodding his head at whatever I was saying. His presence made me feel secure. Sometimes, when I was concentrating or playing with other children, I would forget that he was there. But he never left my side, whether I was aware of him or not.

When my vivid imagination took over and transformed my short walk to kindergarten into an adventurous voyage, he would watch me with an amused glimmer in his eyes. He’d stand by calmly while gnomes hiding in the shrubbery lining the sidewalks jumped out and tried to untie my shoelaces. He’d wink at the butterflies dancing around my head, turning into tiny fairies who whispered stories in my ear and tickled me under my chin. And there were the cats and squirrels who loved him and begged him to pet them while reporting the latest gossip about teachers and students. Then they would go on fighting with each other over who had the bushier tail.

There was only one place on my way to and from kindergarten where I had to snap out of my reverie: the crosswalk. It did not have a traffic light. We had been taught early on that it was important to look left and right before crossing the road at that spot.

One sunny afternoon on my way home, I reached the crosswalk, eager to go play with my neighbors. I was alone, having been held back by one of my teachers. The other children had already gone home, and the streets and sidewalks were empty. Well, almost. To my left, a lone minivan approached, but it still seemed far away. I confidently stepped into the crosswalk and started traversing the road.

In the middle of it, the sound of the minivan’s engine caught my attention. Turning my head, I saw the van was much closer than I had thought. It was driving straight towards me without slowing down, only a few feet away. Puzzled, I looked at the driver to check if he had not seen me. A burly man with a cold expression on his face, he held my gaze. In my terror, I froze. I did not understand why the driver would not slow down when he had clearly noticed me in his way. He made no motion to swerve around me.

Suddenly, two strong hands gripped my upper arms and yanked me back. Flying through the air, my feet did not even touch the ground. In the blink of an eye, I found myself back on the sidewalk, standing securely as if I had been waiting there all along. No one was near me. My mind whirred.

The minivan rushed by me and over the spot where I had paused just a heartbeat ago, seven feet from where I stood now. It did not stop. The driver did not even look back to check whether I was okay. Uncomprehendingly, I watched him disappear around a bend in the distance. Cold shivers crept over my skin.

Still, no child or adult was to be seen anywhere. Nobody had witnessed what had happened. The sun blazed down on the asphalt, unchanged. I stood motionless at the edge of the road, staring into the distance.

And then, warmth came over me. Slowly, it seeped through every muscle and every bone, filling my body completely, until the shock had melted away. Bright, yellow light flooded through me and made the air around me shimmer.

My stupor vanished, replaced by a calm sense of clarity. With the kind of faith and certitude you only find in small children, I knew this had been the work of my guardian angel. For once, I could not see him, but I felt his presence. I felt his love reach out for me.

Gradually, the warmth and light faded away. I smiled and gave a silent “thank you” to my guardian angel.

My mother had been right: He was always watching over me.

~Gina Gutzwiller

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