Where It All Began

I confess that I prefer to spend this day in the comfort of my home, isolated from the potential that I might again encounter a sun-blinded Iranian driving a VW.  I intended to write this passage at the exact temporal anniversary of my last such encounter but I forgot about the time difference.

So let me say it, here, now:  At 5:25 p.m. CST, on 09 February 1982, on Westport Road halfway between Broadway and Pennsylvania, in Kansas City, Missouri, I stepped off the curb and succumbed to that sun-blinded gentleman in his silver Scirroco.  He had not braked; he had not slowed.  The dazzling glare of the setting sun had completely hidden my form.  He plowed right into my left leg as though I did not exist.  I’ve written about this before now:  The catapult into the air over three stories; the curling into a ball to protect my head; the odd sensation of traveling beyond my body; the ethereal figure which gently pushed my spirit downward, the long rush until I smacked into the hood of the very car that had sent me flying.  The crash into his windshield.  The stunning vehemence of the launch forward eighty-two feet.  The thud as I hit the ground, still tightly rolled into a knot.  Film at eleven, oooo ahhhh ahhhh.

For quite a few years, I did not go anywhere on February 09th.  That superstition abated a decade or more ago.  But I did stay home today.  I had intended to go to the coast, and it would have been a good day for such a drive.  The sun warmed the air; the few chores that I’ve managed to finish could have waited another week.  I cancelled the trip because it seemed frivolous.  Now I wonder if it might have been cathartic instead.

From my 1982 experience, I formed an intense bond with the notion of angels.  Most of the time in the emergency room that day I huddled over my shattered right leg and cursed the divine entity that seemed to have brought me yet another spate of horrid luck.  Days later though, calmed by occasional spurts of morphine, I realized that an angel had saved me.  I told the story to anyone who would listen — the nurse, law school class mates, my worried mother.  They patted my arm and remarked that the mind plays tricks on us in moments of stress.  But I knew what I saw.  I stopped repeating the story but not believing it.  I had seen that same entity on a prior occasion when it had alerted me to a trespasser.  In 1984, it visited my mother to tell her about the cancer and how long she would live.  We walked in my mother’s garden and talked about the being’s comforting assurances.  My mother had forgotten about my own heavenly guide and I did not remind her.  I felt no need.  I let her have the moment.

When I decided to “go tiny”, I knew that I would name my house some variation of its ultimate  “Angel’s Haven”.  Some back-and-forth with various friends led to the singular possessive; most of them thought it should be plural possessive, but there’s always been only one angel.  She visited me twice and my mother once.  I wanted her to feel welcome in this small home.  My son gave me a metal angel that we bolted to the outside by the porch light.  I have an angel on my door, and angels peppered throughout my admittedly maximalist decor.  My affinity for the celestial being prompts many a Christmas gift and the collection continues to grow. 

As I sit typing, the quiet light of my eastern window illuminates the plastic angel that I brought from my childhood home.  She has gathered dust, to be honest.  She once hung from a satin ribbon which has long since been lost.  But she kneels on the sill beside my son’s toy turtle, a Rockin’ Rio Vista Rock, and a sign giving me a good piece of advice.  Above her, a heart sings out, twirling beneath a stained glass bird that my boy made for me in elementary school.  I cannot get my fill of the sight.  I gaze outward as the sun begins to set and the light grows dim.

It’s the ninth day of the one-hundred and twenty-second month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

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