My name is Jesse. I have no last name, only a first. It happened about fifteen and a half years ago. That’s when I was created. I'm her guardian angel. My wings are black. I know what you’re thinking. You're probably thinking, Why are his wings black? Aren’t they supposed to be white? Well, yes, my wings are supposed to be white. But, I’m different. Everyone is.
It all started one day, when my charge, Ashley Coleman, was in dire need of guidance. I had to go down to Earth and give her advice. I had given her advice before, but it was indirect. I had given her signs. I was nervous, because I had never met her before. But, hey, you get nervous when you meet someone new, right? You know the feeling. If you know the feeling, then you know exactly how I felt the night I took off. I left my dwelling in Heaven with nothing but the clothes on my back.
Because Ashley was always so sad, I wore black. Everything from my shirt to my shoes was black. If, by some miracle, she was happy, my clothes would change color… from black to white. My wings would stay black, though.
As I flew through the clouds, I felt the knot in my stomach appear, as if by magic. I quickly found her house and hovered before her window. She sat on her bed, holding her head in her hands. I knew she was crying. I flew closer to the window and put my hands on it. Her heart hurt, so did mine. I clutched at my chest, leaving the other hand on the cold window. I swallowed hard and gathered the courage to knock on the window. One knuckle bounded of the glass, which made a low tone. Her head snapped toward the window. She fell backward off of the bed. I held down a laugh. She scrambled up and jogged to the window. She pushed it open and backed slowly away from it. I climbed in wordlessly. I stood on the carpeted floor, staring at my charge.
I let her get used to me being there, which took a few minutes. But I waited patiently. She opened her mouth, as if to speak, but closed it. A few moments later, she said, her voice almost inaudible, “Who are you?”
I looked down, and then looked back up. “Well, let’s start with the basics. My name is Jesse. And, I'm your guardian angel.” I let her think for a minute before continuing. “I’ve been sent here by God to help you.”
“How do I feel like I know you?” she asked.
“I was… created the moment you were born,” I said, “I know you, but you don’t have a clue to who I am. I’ve watched you silently, but surely, over the years. And, now, I stand before you, like a complete idiot, asking you to believe me.”
It seemed she disregarded what I had just said. “Are those real?” She pointed to my wings, which were folded neatly across my back. I looked at my left one as I stretched it to full length. I looked at my right one as I stretched it to full length.
“Yeah, they're as real as you and me,” I said. I folded them up again. I shuffled my feet. “May I?” I motioned toward a computer chair.
She glanced at it. “Oh, yeah.”
I bowed my head quickly and sat down. The flight had been long and tiring. My wings ached from the repeated tempo. I leaned back in the chair. I unfolded my wings partially. They touched the floor and were hardly bent when they did. I heaved a great sigh. Doing so made me realize that she was staring at me. I straightened my posture a little and looked at her.
One word escaped her lips: “Why?” She elongated the one-syllable word.
“Specify,” I said.
“Well, why are you here? Why couldn’t you just send me a sign or something like that?” she asked.
“I’ve sent signs before,” I said. What I was going to say next would make her sadder than she already was. “I sent you a sign when… your mother… passed away.”
She glared at me. I knew what was going through her head, though I couldn’t read her thoughts. That would be an inapt raid of the mind, which is the single haven one has to get away from it all. Wow, that was deep, wasn’t it?
Anyway, I watched her carefully. She was looking at the ceiling.
“I remember having a dream,” Ashley said. She looked at me; her eyes glistened with tears. “I saw you in it and you said something to me. I can’t remember what you said.”
“I know,” I said. I didn’t want to upset her.
Ashley stood. “I’ll be right back… Just stay here.” She exited the room without a reply. I waited until she closed the door to really look around the room.
There were some random posters of some music artists that she really liked. The walls were a dark red. And the bedding was a little lighter than the walls. The carpeting was black. It seemed that if you stepped on the carpet, you would fall into a black hole. It was actually quite frightening how dark her room was. There was a table lamp that gave off a soft glow and a small candle on the nightstand, which smelled faintly of vanilla. I stood and paced the room slowly, not really feeling like I wanted to sit. A few minutes passed, and Ashley returned.
“Are you feeling alright?” she asked me.
I glanced up at her. I stopped walking around and sat, with my back as straight as a board. “I'm fine.” I replied, but it was a lie. I wasn’t fine. I had just met my charge for the first time and I was really nervous. I looked away from her.
“You sure? ‘Cause you look like hell,” she said.
I jerked my head toward her direction and gave her a nasty glare. My wings flared.
“Oh, right, angel… Sorry,” she apologized. “What I meant was: You don’t look so good.”
I sat. I folded my wings. Why am I so nervous? I’ve known her for her whole life. But, she doesn’t know me, I thought. I rubbed the back of my neck. This wasn’t going so well, and Ashley knew it, too.
Ashley moved swiftly to her bed and sat on it, facing me. Still not used me, she stared at my wings.
“Any questions you’d like to ask me? About my wings? How I got here?” I said trying to initiate a conversation.
She seemed to snap out of her daze when I spoke. “Oh, uh, um, yeah… How did you get here? Like, did you fly?”
“Yes, I flew,” I groaned. My wings throbbed thunderously. It stretched them little by little, trying to ease the pain, but it only made the pain worse. I tried to stay as still as possible. It wasn’t working. I got to my feet. “I don’t mean to be rude, but do you have a place I could stay? I didn’t make a reservation at a hotel.”
She giggled and got up. “Come on. But, we have to be quiet. My dad’s home and I want to keep you a secret.”
“Okay,” I agreed. I followed her out of the room and into the hallway. My head twisted and turned as I saw pictures of Ariel, Ashley’s mother, Greg, Ashley’s father, and Ashley, splattered all over the walls. I saw and I instantly remembered.
I was snapped out of the past as I saw a door where there were once pictures. Ashley opened it and led me inside. It was nothing special, just a bed and a small window with a padded bench in front of it. There was a small, white, antique nightstand next to the bed. The bedding was white, along with the walls and carpet. I felt out of place with my black clothing.
“So, uh, this is it,” Ashley stated. “I know, I know. It’s nothing to be hyped about, but it’s better than sleeping on the floor, right? I’ll be down the hall if you need me.
“Alright,” I managed to say. I sat on the bed and looked at the floor.
Ashley was about to leave when she said, “And, don’t need me, Jesse.”
I looked up at her and nodded. She exited the room, closing the door behind her. I got up and lay down on my stomach on top of the blankets. I fell asleep.
“Good morning, Sleepyhead.”
I cracked my eyes open enough to see Ashley lying on her side next to me. I sat up. She scared me.
“What—” I started.
“It’s noon,” she said.
“It is?” I asked. “What time did I come last night?”
“Around ten,” she answered.
“That’s… a long time,” I breathed. I got up. The room was different. The walls were no longer white, but black. The carpet was the same hue. The bedding was black, also. I gasped as I saw the whole room.
“What happened to the guest room?”
I looked at her with wide eyes. “I think that now that I live here, my personal space has turned the color you feel inside.”
“I ask again, what happened to the guest room?”
“Because you’re sad, the room is black.”
She looked away, getting up. “Oh, I see.”
“You do?” I got up, too.
“No.” She walked across the room and twisted the doorknob. The door swung open.
“Wait, where are you going?” I stared at her with pleading eyes.
“I'm going to breakfast.” And she left.
She came back into the room with an angry expression on her face. “Don’t shout like that. My dad might find you. What do you want?”
“Can you get me something to eat?”
She growled like a caged tiger. “I was going to. I'm not that mean.” She turned on her heel and left the room again. I sat back down and waited until she returned, grasping a plate with some food on it in one hand and a cup of something in the other. She placed the plate on my bed and the glass on my nightstand.
“Thanks,” I said.
“No problem,” she uttered through clenched teeth.
“Is something the matter?”
“No, but I'm going out. So, I’ll see you later.”
“Fine,” I said, “See you later.” She left and I was, once again, alone. I sighed and looked at the plate. My brow raised in shock. MEAT! There was meat on the plate: eggs and bacon. Who could eat that? Why would someone eat something that used to be alive? I know that plants were once alive, but they don’t make noise when they are. They don’t move around, unless the wind blows. I turned away from the plate and suppressed a gag. I looked into the translucent glass. It was orange juice. I gulped it all down. My stomach trembled beneath my abdomen skin. I ignored it. I looked around, attempting to find something to do. I found nothing. So, I just sat… and sat… and sat…
Hours passed. I watched the shadows change on the black carpet. Darkness soon fell and Ashley and her father returned home. I saw them enter the house; the rest was a mystery, until Ashley burst into my room. I jumped up from the bed, wings snap up on either side. When I saw that it was Ashley, my wings went behind my back, only showing a few inches behind my shoulders.
“Can I help you?” My voice wavered from the sudden explosion in my room.
Her expression went blank. “No, I just wanted to see your face when I burst in.” She laughed. I laughed to humor her, though it was a nervous one. I felt my heart banging around in my chest.
“Yep, that’s about it,” she replied. She looked at the plate on the bed and pointed at it. “Not hungry?”
“I… don’t… eat… meat,” I said. I didn’t want to offend her.
“Okay,” she said. She went to the bed and took the plate. Then, she picked up the glass in the other hand. She left, closing the door with her foot. It reminded me of Cinderella, how she juggled so many things at once. I went over to the window and sat down on the, now, black bench. I gazed out of the window to the one-way street below. There were some of the street’s kids riding bikes and playing all sorts of other games on the asphalt.