It was 1983. It was the year I started to go to Francis Parker, a private school in the city of Chicago. It was an ivy league prep school that had a reputable drama department and recent graduates included Daryl Hannah and Jennifer Beals. In fact, Jennifer’s brother was in my grade and I distinctly remember him telling me that I was a dead ringer for his sister.
One afternoon I was cramming for my Western Civ class and I heard some girls talking smack about another girl. It was just so darn salacious I couldn’t stop listening. At first I had to laugh under my breath – they couldn’t see me because I was sitting unseen behind a locker.
Then it dawned on me. They weren’t talking about some random girl. They were gossiping about me. They didn’t mention my name, but they distinctly described the t-shirt I was wearing that day. (It was either a Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath tee. I was a rocker chick after all.)
My face paled and I lost my breath completely. Should I come out and reveal myself – face these bitches down? I stood up, knees shaking, feeling enraged and shocked.
I walked around the lockers and looked right at them. The two girls, whose names I never knew, stopped mid-sentence. We just stared at each other. “See I told you she was a weirdo.” Then they walked off.
The tears flowed without any effort. I ran out of the school and down the busy street. I was invisible and miserable. I soon lost my sight because I was full out sobbing and just pretty much collapsed on the sidewalk.
I felt a hand on my shoulder.
I looked up at an African-American man, about 30 years old or so. He looked like a homeless guy because his clothes seemed too baggy and dirty. Not sure why but I wrapped my arms around his neck and he carried me down the street…still sobbing.
He called me by name.
I never told him my name.
He walked me straight to the doorstep of my highrise building at 2650 Lakeview and gently set me down.
I never gave him my address.
By the time I stopped crying and looked up the man was gone.
A few moments later the doorman came out to see how I was. He asked me why I was so sad.
I asked where the man who carried me home walked off to. I wanted to thank him.
Looking puzzled Larry said, “Honey, you walked here. Alone. I saw no one else.” I never spoke about the experience to anyone.
It wasn’t until I was sitting in a theatre, year was 1998, watching “The City of Angels” that it dawned on me. An African-American angel named Cassiel (played by Andre Braugher) came on screen. Chills went down my arms. My angel looked just like him except in tattered clothing.
I just finished reading The Valkyries by Paulo Coelho and felt the chills again when I read this:
“Angels are love in motion. They never rest, they struggle to grow, and they are beyond good and evil. Love that consumes all, that destroys all, that forgives all. Angels are made of that love, and are at the same time its messengers.
Our angels are always right next to us. Ready to carry us if needed. If you have a story to share about angels, tell us in the comments below.