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Angel by The Lake
This is Sunny, no address, no last name. She wanders in the park, just by the lake. Wide eyed and lips locked in place. The ashes of a once beautiful woman, floating in the grass. Rags and out of fashion hat serve as a complement to her attire.
That cloak used by many to hide ourselves, to not be seen. A safe place to be, really. We are, and yet no one can see that we are there. For forty years she has wandered the city. As if in a quest for lost mills and legendary heroes. Ever searching, ever lost.
Sunny does not say much. Just the faint sound of a forgotten hymn, that is only for her maker. The eyes of an old soul that has been in chains for too long, forgetting how the sunlight looks like. A smile that was painted gray, and lately, it has been washed away by the rain. Trapped in the past, forgotten in a long lost journal written by someone else. Someone’s mother, someone’s daughter; and yet, no one’s problem.
Her hands are witnesses of her hard life. Hands that protected, assured, lived and worked. For those that her heart held so dear. Hands big enough to embrace the world, but quite small to hold herself up. The same hands that lived in the dark. When others forgot that she was even there. Waiting.
Sunny walks around the lake, just half of a mile. Knowing that every time she goes around, there are new people there that won’t remember she already passed by. Knowing that she still is invisible. No one remembers where she came from, or who she was before coming here. The only thing that is certain is that once here, she never left. Walking, until her feet became numb and too tired to remember why she started walking in the first place. Dragging her body to the rail so she can see the fountain in the middle of the lake.
Legends and stories grew around and about her. A jilted lover, a crazed millionaire, a mourning mother, you pick. Only she knows her story, and why there is no point dwelling in it. After all these years, it would be cruel to make her remember. Besides, no one but she truly cares.
Sometimes you could see her sobbing by the tracks, not so far away from the park. She cries alone, hidden until she is spent and tired. Then goes back to the same bench by the lake, where swans greet her as a sister.
Admiring her surroundings as if trying not to miss anything. Taking her time, slowly taking in the beauty of nature and man made monuments. Really seeing where the hand of God meets man’s hand. Then, she realizes, how small human beings really are compared to the universe. How dependent we are on one another. In some small way, we are all connected to survive. And yet here she is, in the middle of a huge city, surrounded by people but completely alone.
A thousand questions went through her mind in a second. Memories filled with anger, pain, and most of all regret. As soon as her tears fought for release, a cracked voice asked:
Scanning the heavens for an answer. Her shaking hands looked for refuge in her ragged coat, holding herself. Embracing herself. Getting lost in a silent prayer.
-" Lord, I am here! Have my heart sinned so that you have turned your eyes from mine? I won't complain no more, I don't want anything anymore. I surrender to you, bless me with your grace and mercy. My mind has forgotten the reason for me being here, and my purpose. Take me with you my Lord. As a last act of mercy. I am cold. Inside and out. I am hungry and bread would not do me any good. Spare me another winter, let me go home?
In that same spot, where the lake meets the park, Sunny was there, delirious and in shock. Where I found her, still praying. I can't remember why, or what possessed me to take her home. But I will never forget, the sparkle in her eyes. And the smile she had when she mumbled in tears; - "My father came for me. I am going home at last..."
For a moment time stopped. And I felt humbled and embarrassed, for I was witnessing a miracle. When she knew that God loved her in spite of all. I saw Him in her eyes, as the angel of the lake, finally went home...
Do you know someone like Sunny?
© 2012 Anan Celeste