An Angel

My mother gave me a coin at the beginning of the year. At the front of the coin, or should I say on one side of the coin reads: WATCHING OVER ANDREW.

On the other side of the coin: “Andrew Each day and all night through, a Guardian Angel is watching over you.”

I don’t carry the coin with me. I KNOW it speaks a certain truth. And, as I have written multiple times, God picks strange Angels. Well, what I believe, what I know what happened, as I remember it, my Guardian Angel did not whisper in the way you might imagine an angel might whisper. No. No. It was a guttural, gravel-in-the-throat, old-age & forceful voice – one I know VERY well!

I needed to get to the hospital. It was snowing out. But water was flowing out of drainpipes from the sides of buildings. I was THIRSTY! Dehydrated from drink. I drank from the side of a building. And I was very, very weak from no food. No Sleep. I would crawl so far, collapse & wait. I’d watch the snow fall & melt on my jeans. Steam would rise up from my pants… it was cold outside that night. Very cold. But I was sweating. My body was burning up. Something was not right. Not that ANYTHING had been right with me for a long time… this was different, though.

I was going to the hospital. I’d gotten what I could from the Liberty, OH, Walmart: vodka. I thought I could last the night. But that night was too cold – too cruel, & the devils were not just in the details, they were over-powering in mass drop-cloths of darkness around every corner, hugging themselves-up against every building.

I could SMELL them around the blocks. An acidic smell, mingled with a burning of tar, tasting it in my mouth, tattooing the back of my throat.

I had to get to the hospital.

That was a FOR SURE plan for the night. Something was going on. And I did not like it. My weight – the weight of thought – roll over from one nightmare to the next… I would find myself on the sidewalk. One side – one world – would move from one galaxy to another.

My body was HOT and SWEATING.

Snow kept falling. A person could track me easily. My shuffling walk; moments of laying on the concrete… it was messy.

And I needed to get to a hospital.

I collapsed one hard & hurtful collapse… I was done.

I pictured what my son might be doing then.

(Probably sleeping.)

My parents were, i felt, years away from me.

Guardian Angel Drawing Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

I thought of my grandmother. How horrified she would be at my descent into the REAL world. And, yes, nothing was more real & tragic & complex than on that terrible night. That night was the make-it-or-not-make-it-night.

But: I had had a few of those already. Something was bothering me, though. I was TRYING to get somewhere. Somewhere that would help me!

Why would I want help?

I wanted to die.

I was in the middle of trying to figure that fucking riddle out when I heard the shout:

GET UP AND FIGHT!

That was a voice I had not heard in ten + years.

It the voice of my Uncle. My Great Uncle Hud.

GET UP AND FIGHT!

I did not know if I could, but I got up.

And when I fell down again, and curled-up, letting the cold, lake-effect winds lick my feverish body down, I’d hear the voice again:

GET UP AND FIGHT!

It would not leave me alone. And all I wanted was to be alone. I was too weak to die, and too strong to go on… I don’t know where that voice came from?

An audio hallucination?

I don’t think so.

God picks strange angels. And you can’t press them onto coins. Can’t predict their antics. One night, a bad night, on the streets of Youngstown, OH, I heard the voice of my Guardian Angel. A guttural, forceful & beautiful voice scolding me in the December night.

A voice coming from an angry Irish-Man… an Irish-Man that would NOT let me lay down in the snow & dirt & trash of the night… it was a voice that pushed & punched & pulled me to where I needed to go:

GET UP AND FIGHT!

I guess you, Dear Reader, might know what I am talking about in a better way, if you knew my Uncle Hud. Most people, I don’t think, were comfortable around him. Yet, I trusted him more than I trusted most people in my life.

And, YES, he would be shouting & cussing & kicking at me to get my shit together! – To NOT die!

GET UP AND FIGHT!

And, under much confusion, I listened to him. You did not NOT listen to my Uncle Hud when he told you to do something. Especially something important… like saving your own life!

I was admitted into the Emergency Room just before 4:00 am… I did not tell the doctors or the nurses about that angel that was with me that night.

They probably would have committed me.

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