Photo by Wednesday Dawn Abelgas
Not all endings begin again with a happy note. As for me, Jen Gables, the moment that my family and I got rejected by “The Oasis”, the only sanctuary made as a protection from the Cold War, it meant that we were as good as dead.
Six years later, everywhere I turn, what used to be a lively city barely stand. I inhaled, filling my lungs with air evocative of the dust of crumbling buildings and broken dreams.
It was almost evening and the hunt for food was fruitless. It’s another day of being greeted with the disappointment and the hunger from my family.
All of us were left to die outside the walls of The Oasis because our fate revolved around the rectangular pieces of paper that determined whether or not sanctuary should be given to us. Sadly, failure meant immediate eviction.
The rich get to live in the oasis while the destitute expect isolation from salvation.
For me, the world ended a long time ago.
Golden grains of sand danced along with the violent breeze, yet here I was walking in darkness on a path to nowhere.
“The caterpillar wouldn’t know what’s waiting outside its cocoon, lest it comes out to be free anyway,” an enthusiastic voice drawled from behind me.
I jumped in surprise and slowly turned around to see the most flawless being I’d ever laid my eyes on.
His hair reached just above his shoulders, doused in platinum. He was wearing an all white ensemble while magnificently looking like a Greek god frozen in time.
I was probably staring in awe but what slapped me back into reality was the most inhuman feature that he possessed: a glorious pair of immaculate, white wings.
My knees had gone weak and I started to stammer. He took a step back and seemed like he was about to say something.
“Don’t come any closer!” I screamed.
“Calm down. I’m not here to do anything evil.” He chuckled. “I’m just here to guide you through the sand storm.”
“I don’t need anyone’s help, especially from a weird-looking guy with whatever detachable thing you have behind your back!” I pointed it out. He let out a smile.
“These are wings, and if you took your Bible lessons seriously you’d recognize me as an angel,” he replied with a smug look on his face.
“Why should I take the words of that damn book seriously when your God can’t take the world he created with much sincerity?” To say that in front of an angel took guts. But I didn’t care. I was fuming. The loathing in me needed a spark to start the fire, and this “angel” ignited it.
I half expected him to summon a blast of lightning from the sky, but to my surprise, he didn’t say a word.
For hours, we walked, and still, there was no sign of shelter. To make things worse, the storm didn’t even settle.
Just when I was about to feel like giving up, I spotted a cave.
“Let’s go there.” I said without ever looking back at the angel.
When we arrived, I made sure that I went into the corner as far away from him as possible. He just looked at me with a smile on his face that made me feel even more irritated.
“Why are you being like that?” I raised an eyebrow. When he didn’t respond, I continued smiling like I wasn’t being a nuisance.
“You aren’t being a nuisance to me, Jen.” He flashed a smile. “It was nice to finally get to be with you. You’re actually a lot nicer compared to what I see from above.”
“Above? You mean Heaven?” I laughed. “And you expect me to just believe in fairytales.”
“Me being here isn’t some joke, Jen. I’m Ambriel, your guardian angel.” He proceeded with a courteous bow.
“And you are being sent here to guide me through the sand storm. Wonderful.” I smiled, my voice dripping with sarcasm.
“I’m here to save you.” Ambriel said gently.
“Well, you are six years late.” I stood up and faced him. “Before all of this, I actually loved my life. I was a simple farmer girl. My only concern was how to get food on the table.”
I could feel emotions bubbling up and tears starting to form but I didn’t care.
“Then just like that, everything changed. Chaos decided to spread throughout the land, the rich and the poor divided even further. Leaders of countries waged war against one another. Famine struck and our family were forced to give The Oasis a shot. Even if there was a tiny voice inside of us that said we couldn’t get in, even if we tried, because we didn’t have the fanciest clothes or even a dime to our name. But we actually had hope.”
Ambriel looked me in the eyes with an expression that I couldn’t read.
“What did you and your God do above? All of you just watched us suffer. We prayed day and night but years passed, and here I am hunting for food and getting lost in the ruins while my family is left to starve!” I cried, tears streaming down my face. I swear I didn’t move nor leave Ambriel’s gaze.
“You appearing before me doesn’t change the fact that God left humanity.”
Ambriel tried to reached out to me but I went far from his reach. “When the caterpillar has sprung free after a long slumber, imagining a world of wonders and beauty, what awaits outside is the exact opposite. I’m sorry if the world isn’t what you pictured it to be.” Extending his arms, Ambriel enveloped me in his embrace, surprisingly warm and comforting.
I felt my stomach flutter and my heart skipping a beat. Even if my mind was in a breakdown, somehow with his arms around me, it made everything feel right.
Ambriel pulled away first, and this time, I stared into his eyes without the hate. His hazel eyes depicted sincerity I never expected. Come to think of it, his eyes even had a little green in them.
“It’s time for you to know the truth.” He took a deep breath and bit his lip. Maybe he is like this when he’s nervous?
“You are not what you think you are Jen. This life is just one of the many lives you have lived.” A part of me was tempted to break into fits of laughter, but Ambriel’s expression was fixed.
“Angels may manifest into different forms, it’s one of the privileges the Almighty One gave us. However, you are special. Your existence was meant to be lived amongst the humans. As an angel, you’ll die at a certain point in time and be reborn again in a different era. But that is about to change.”
Ambriel brought his palms softly to my cheek, both of our faces just an inch away from each other. So, close that I could feel his breath on my skin.
“In the many lives you’ve lived I was always there by your side. From the time you opened your eyes to the last time you closed them. In those lifetimes, I have loved you just the same.” He said in a tone of such innocence, like a boy confessing for the first time.
This made my cheeks go warm.
“Your real name is Raziel, the angel of mysteries. For you, I am willing to do everything, even denounce myself as an angel just to have you back home with me. You may not remember me but deep down I know you can feel this too.” Ambriel gently took my hand and placed it on his chest. I could feel his heart beating fast with mine.
“I came here not because God sent me to you, but because I am drawn to you and I couldn’t take much of the cruel fate you have to endure. Raziel, you have a choice. It took me a long time to finally convince the Almighty One to spare you from your fate so you can come back home, but I did. Tonight, before the clock strikes twelve you must take this poison and breathe your last if you want to come with me. Or live till you are reborn in another lifetime.” He gave me a smile but it didn’t reach his eyes. A tiny vial of purple liquid was placed in my hand and I closed my fingers around it.
The whole time, I was shocked to hear all of what he was saying. But the familiarity it scared me, for if I actually understood him then that would mean he had told me the truth.
“Till then I’ll be right outside.” Ambriel gave me a pat on the back before placing his lips on my forehead.
“Just know whatever choice you’ll make, I’ll still be here for you.” And with that, he headed out of the cave, leaving me all alone with plenty of time to digest everything that he said.
Hours passed and the sand storm began to settle, making way for the stars to be alive that night. Ambriel kept his word and camped outside, while I sat in silence.
Just as I was about to come up with my decision, the sound of fireworks exploding filled the air. I ran outside to see for it had been a very long time since there was such display. At first I thought it was because the war finally ended but then knowing it was the thirty-first of December, I smiled to myself realizing that it was New Year’s Eve.
Ambriel stood up as he saw and just by looking at him I finally knew the choice that I’d make.
“If it was someone else you’d gone to, they would have really called you crazy. Even I did at first because you were too perfect. And honestly, I wish that all of this isn’t just a dream. I can’t remember you, but I guess the heart never forgets.”
Turns out I love you too from this life to the next.
With one last look at the sky, I stared at the vial and smiled.