Finding My Angel

“Ahhhhhhhh!”
George leapt to awareness in a cold sweat. Gasping for breath, his eyes stung with hot tears and his whole body was buzzing with tangible horror. With his joints locked and his muscles taking to rigor mortis, his mind grappled with reality and memory.
Suddenly, out of the frigid grasp of despair, came Anna’s familiar warm hand and soothing voice. “George? My love… what is it? Is it that dream again? Hush my love; I am here and you are home. It’s all over now. Come, lay with me. Yes, that’s it, lay back. No, no, George. Put your arm around me. Yes, that’s right. See? There now. Don’t hold your breath; you’re turning blue. Just relax. Calm yourself; it’s all over. There now, see?”
He melted into her. Anna had this way of talking to him, or rather, talking him out of himself. She pressed her soft mouth to the inside of his arm and his terror dissolved into a nudging dread. Though the tears streamed down his cold cheeks, having Anna so close and clutched so tightly in his arms, made his racing heart sluggish and heavy in his hollow chest. Then it began: Anna’s slow rhythmic hum. The tune was not familiar, something she pulled from her own imagination. Yet, for him, it was the sound of peace.
George fought with his mind and his eye lids. “Close”, he ordered both, silently. His eyes closed, but his mind did not. As soon as the shutters of his vision were down, he felt the memory tug at him.
The deafening sound of shell explosions, men, boys, screaming in agony and pain. Up to his ankles in cold mud; his toes and feet numbed beyond pain. The muscles of his neck twisted and rock solid with the constant need to contort his head under the brim of the trench line. The beyond comprehension, nauseating stench of the dead, bloodied and decaying flesh
George leapt from Anna’s side and grabbed the wastebasket he kept on the floor near his pillow. Thrusting his head into the familiar blue bin, he emptied his stomach in disgust.
“Shhhh,” Anna crooned, rubbing his back in comfort and support. “It’s alright baby. Breathe, just breathe.” She kissed the backs of his shoulders. His heaving sobs shook his body. Convulsing, he broke down into her small body; his cheek fell to her shoulder.
“They’re getting worse,” he said.
“I know, love, I know.”
“I don’t know what to do.”
“Speak,” she said.
“I- I haven’t slept since I got home.”
“2 months is a long time to stay awake,” she said.
“I love you, you know I do,” he stammered.
“I know, I know.”
“This isn’t the life for you. You deserve so much more.”
“George,” she said softly.
“If I kept you, the guilt would kill me. Finally kill me.”
“George?”
“You have always been here for me… with me.”
“George?”
“They’re dead. They’re all dead. Peter and John and Marcus and Timothy, and-“
“George.” Anna’s tiny hand touched his cheek and he was pulled from his hysteria. He looked up and her warm whiskey eyes fell on him. “George, I love you. Peter and John and Timothy and Marcus died for the same reasons countless of others did. Even though, now, we know it was pointless and regret clouds our minds, at the time, they were fighting for something they believed in. They died quickly and they died together.”
“But I was right there. I couldn’t save them. I can still hear they’re screams. I was right there! I was a second too late.”
“Sacrifice, George. They sacrificed for something they believed in, No progress can be made without sacrifice. No good can be achieved without sacrifice. People had to die, in order for the world to live. Peter and John and Mark and Tim had to die in order for you to live.
“But why couldn’t they have taken me with them? Why did God choose me to live?”
“Because, my love,” she said, smiling down at him, “he knew that I needed you. I still do, and I always will. I love you George; Peter and Timothy and John and Marcus are all shining down on you, and one day, far from now, you’ll see them again. No matter what you went through. No matter whom you are or what you will become: I will never leave you!”
For the first time in four years, George’s mind and body were quiet. It was then that he realized that he was looking up at an angel. “Anna,” he breathed. “For many, many long, cold, dark days, I have doubted the existence of God. Can you blame me? The things I have seen and heard and done… it would make even a solemn devout question, but now… now I know He is up there.”
Amusement skipped across her features. “Why?”
“Because only God could have created an angel as perfect as you,” he said. He watched tears well up and rush from her liquid eyes. He saw her sniffle back a smile. “Oh, George,” she said.
For the first time in over six years, he felt something other than pain and emptiness. He felt love, and he felt happiness return after a dark age. He smiled as he bent Anna’s head down and kissed her. He smiled as his hollow chest filled with a beating heart after a long hibernation. He smiled because he knew that his life started then. He smiled because he had a reason to.

Finding My Angel

rayy

Joined March 2008

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