Sean of the South

I don’t know how it started. But somewhere along the way people started sending me angel stories. So I started sharing them. Which only meant that I began getting more stories.

Currently, I still receive bundles of angel stories in the forms of messages, emails, and letters. As we speak, the spiders living in my USPS mailbox are getting squashed by angel stories that keep arriving.

Truthfully, I didn’t set out to be a writer of angels. In fact, I wanted to be a humorist. I began my career telling funny stories, trying very hard to make the occasional reader pee themselves.

But if there is one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s this: You must go where the angels take you.

Which brings me to my story. I was in a bookstore recently when I saw two Latina women shopping. They were in the same section I was in. In fact, they were looking at the same book I was looking at. The book was about angels, and it happened to be in my hands.

I was thumbing through the pages when I noticed two five-foot women breathing down my collar.

Finally, the younger woman asked if I was going to purchase the book. I said, yes, I planned on it. Then I asked why she wanted to know.

“Because,” she said. “My mama wants this book. She is using it for research.”

Research? This got my curiosity piqued. I am a writer, and it is my job to get piqued. Sometimes I get piqued three or four times each day. It just relaxes me.

I asked what exactly the old woman was researching.

The old woman spoke in a booming voice not unlike the voice of Vincent Price from the 1953 film “House of Wax.”

“Los Ángeles,” the old woman said.

Then the elderly woman went on to tell me her tale. She spoke in Spanish and her daughter translated.

The old woman was at work one day, cleaning a hotel room. When she entered the room, she saw a young man waiting there. He was tall, broad, and wearing what she thought was a clean bathrobe.

“Who are you?” the startled woman asked.

“I am a friend,” he said.

“But I’ve never met you.”

“Oh, yes you have. Many times.”

“Are you here to hurt me?”

“I’m here to save you.”

In only moments, the woman began having severe chest pains. She collapsed and began to breathe heavily. Her vision went dim. Both arms started to hurt. She knew she was having a heart attack, but the young man stepped forward and said, “Let me help.”

The man touched her shoulder blades and the pain in her arms went away. Her chest felt normal again, and when she awoke she was in a hospital.

“You had a massive heart attack,” said the doctor. “We don’t know how you survived.”

That was her story. It was brief. And truthfully, I was expecting to hear something more supernatural like, for example, the mention of wings.

Then again, surviving a cardiac event is right up there with the best angel stories I’ve heard.

So I let the lady have the book. She thanked me, and I said you’re welcome, then the two women kept shopping.

As I was leaving the store I stopped by the cash register. The cashier was a teenage girl who looked about as happy to be at work as someone having elective renal surgery.

“Excuse me,” I whispered to the cashier. “I’d like to pay for a customer’s book, but I don’t want them to know it was me.”

The cashier looked at me with that Neanderthal-like furrowed brow. “Huh?” she said.

That’s when I noticed something about the cashier. Now this is where the story gets weird. There was an elaborate tattoo on the young woman’s neck. And if you’ve read this far, I want you to take a wild guess what the tattoo depicted. Yep. That’s right. It was Vincent Price.

No, I’m only kidding. The tattoo was an angel with giant wings unfurled. I asked her about the tattoo.

“I was born prematurely,” the cashier said. “I had heart surgery as an infant. My mom says my guardian angel saved me in the operating room.”

You could have knocked me over with an encyclopedia. What are the odds of meeting two people within the same ten minutes who had cardiac-related angel experiences? I left my money at the desk.

The cashier asked, “Do you want me to give the lady a message when she gets the book?”

I thought about it. As a writer, it’s important to come up with a strong closing line. So I concentrated long and hard.

I said, “Maybe tell the woman that her story blessed my heart.”

The cashier gave me a cynical teenage smirk. “No offense, sir. But that’s lame. How about you tell the lady ‘Vaya con Dios’?”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“Trust me,” she said. “It’s definitely something an angel would say.”

Well. As I said, you must go where the angels take you.

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