The Echoe of Angie's Song
In November of 1992, I sat down at my desk to write.
Looking back at that moment in my life, I can’t think of another time of my twenty plus years of writing that I’d ever been inspired. So inspired in fact that I actually locked myself in my room for nearly two days while feverishly working on a prologue to a story that I’d just plotted.
I cannot forget the feeling of possession as I wrote about a man who suffered the loss of his wife, and then left to care for his little girl. Compelling images of these characters came to mind. I could not shake the eerie image of this little girl with electric blue eyes or the presence of her mournful father who held her hand so tight during a funeral. After I finished the prologue, I set aside that story and never touched it again even unto this day.
There is a reason why.
In the spring of 1993, I moved back to Fairbanks, Alaska. While working in a nightclub, I met a man whom I felt immediate attraction. His vivid blue eyes and bright smile pulled me in. One thing led to the next, and soon I was dating this man. Out of respect for this individual, I will not give his real name, but to give my story relevance and for name's sake we shall call him Carl.
Carl had a beautiful ten month old daughter.
I fell in love immediately. Naturally, I had a maternal instinct to shelter this poor child from the tragic loss of her mother, a woman I had never met but unbelievably, in the years to come I would know like my own sister.
Angela was born November 14th, 1970 of Cherokee Indian and Italian descent she was a beautiful and intelligent, young woman full of life. On November 6th, 1992 just eight days shy of her twenty-second birthday she met with fate and lost her life in a terrible vehicle accident just two miles away from home.
Angie never made it home to Kayla.
As time went by, I eventually moved in with Carl, and I took on the role of surrogate mother to Shayla. Here and there, I would find bits and pieces of Angie, little reminders of the woman that everyone talked about, but I never knew. Of those reminders were old magazines, crafting supplies, rock n roll tee shirts, and a pair of beautiful sandals, which still retained a shadowy indentation of her elegant feet. It didn’t strike me as odd that I wore those sandals. Why not? We wore the same shoe size, and I didn’t find it creepy or distasteful, but rather a comfort especially on those days where I just felt like giving up. You see Carl had a drug problem, and I just couldn't take it anymore. By walking in Angie's shoes, though she was deceased, I still felt like her essence understood what I was going through.
On Kayla’s fifth birthday, I decided to take her to visit her mother’s grave. The minute we pulled into the cemetery I could sense Angie’s presence. It didn’t bother me. I've always felt her presence ... even now as I write and many times before she stands just behind my back, looking over my shoulder. Looking back, I remember helping Kayla out of my car and then we walked over to a cemetery plot that sits underneath a tree shade. I watched Angie’s daughter put flowers on her mother’s grave, and then like a wise old child she sat there with her knees tucked under her chin and her arms stretched forth as her tiny fingers weeded grass from the earth mound. When Kayla had finished visiting her mother, we walked back to the car, and I stopped just a few feet away staring at the vehicle with a strange measure of perplexity ... the windshield wipers were going back and forth at a fast pace and the radio was belting out tunes. At that moment, I knew for sure that we were not alone.
A few years later, I had another experience. Carl and I had grown apart. His drug habit had literally consumed his life. Like a downward spiral, I saw nothing that I wanted in the future with him, but it was so hard to make a decision about leaving. I remember my mother telling me that I couldn't be the "savior" in this relationship, and the best thing that I could do for myself was to let go before it was too late. Deep down, I knew my mother was right, but my love for Kayla was heart-breaking.
If I moved on, who would take care of the little girl?
That night I had a dream and to this day, and one I will never forget.
I stood alone in a haze of white billowing clouds. Somehow my conscience knew why I stood there waiting. There was a sense of anticipation as a sparkling white limousine pulled forward and stopped in front of me, and then the door threw open. Inside the back seat sat two men and a woman. The two men were dressed as if they'd just stepped off the stage from a rock concert. The young woman whose face I can only describe as an ethereal Pochohantas wore a purple polka-dot shirt and matching Capri pants. She leaned forward and smiled, bright and beautiful and in that instant, I suddenly realized that I knew her all my life, and not just this life. The moment was so surreal it felt like two old familiar ships that pass each other in the night.
I watched in fascination as she jumped from the car and greeted me. "It's been a long time!" she said. She grabbed my hands and gave me a warm hug. I shook my head, and we laughed. She told me how happy she was "there" but then how much she missed Kayla. Her big brown eyes drew forward, and they glimmered of compassion.
"You know ... he's never gonna change."
I looked at her and nodded my head with understanding. "I know."
Satisfied that I understood she then told me that it was time to go and not to worry.
"We will see each other again one day." She waved.
I watched her get back in that limousine, laughing, she shut the door, and the vehicle slowly pulled away and disappeared into the billowing clouds.
The very next day, I packed my belongings and immediately ended the relationship with Carl who by then was so consumed with drugs that he was out partying all night and never knew that I had left him. Though my heart was heavy for Kayla, I knew everything would be ok. Angie told me not to worry, and I knew she watched over her daughter and would not leave her side.
It was the best decision of my life.
Later, I spoke with Angie's mother Sue about the dream I had of her daughter. I described how she looked and what she wore. Sue looked at me with astonishment. She knew I'd never met her daughter. Shaking her head with amazement she told me to wait right there. A few minutes later she came back with a photograph of Angie. There she stood wearing A favorite purple polka-dot outfit, smiling so beautiful just as she'd smiled in my dream.
I've been told that Angela's favorite song was "Angie" by the Rolling Stones.