The truth is, I live for Caroline.
No, there’s more, I love Caroline.
We first met on the day she was born. Before, actually, but she doesn’t know that. She only remembers the important things in life, like the moment she made her entrance into the world and found me gazing at her from a distance and smiling.
“Who are you?” she asked. The voice was that of woman, though she was only a baby at the time, and it was all coming from the inside of her mind.
“A friend,” I replied, mildly, stepping closer.
“Oh,” she said with a winsome smile, “pleased to meet you, friend.”
I bowed to her.
Then she fell asleep and saw me and remembered me no more.
That’s how it’s supposed to be in my line of business.
It’s only that first meeting that will remain, yes even after she dies, buried somewhere in the backroads of her mind.
Thirty three years on and we are still together. She doesn’t know this. You see, she can’t see or hear me. But I’m always there, always.
Like a shadow on a menu card, that’s me.
Caroline is a freelance photographer. She takes pictures of anything that takes her fancy and sells them to anybody who fancies them. A lot do, because Caroline is very good at her job. And I’m very proud of her.
I have shared all the ups and downs of Caroline’s life with her. The good parts are my favourites, though I’m not supposed to have any preferences, I do like to remember the day she graduated with honours at University, and I will never forget the smile on her face when she sold her first picture.
The times I’d rather forget are the two miscarriages she suffered and the day she came in from school to find her father hanging from the ceiling in the front room of their house.
Caroline is a beauty. Long flowing auburn hair framing a perfect oval face with big brown eyes, and oh yes, full, kissable lips. Ah, how many times I have yearned to kiss those lips. Out of the question, of cause. It’s simply not my place. But one can dream, right?
Sometimes I wish she could see me again like the first time, the innocence of it and all. But it’s not going to happen. It’s against the law in the place where I come from, though some have been none to break it.
I’m watching her now as she stands by the window of her New York apartment, looking down at the street below. And she’s thinking about that guy she met last night at her friend Pamela’s birthday party. She thought he was so nice, so sweet and kind. He even brought her home, and she kissed him good night at the door, and she even promised to give him a call sometime soon.
Bad idea, he’s not for her. She doesn’t know anything about him. I do. Perhaps that’s part of the trouble. I know too much. But then it is my place to know everything about Caroline, even the other people in her life. And right now her life is in danger because this guy is on his way over and he has a knife on him.
If she doesn’t get out of here, he’s going to kill her. I want to help her, warn her of the danger, but I don’t know how without revealing myself. And that, as I have already said, is not allowed.
But there must be a way, there’s got to be a way. I can’t let this beautiful lady just die before my eyes. It wouldn’t be right. Anyway, it’s not her time to die. They told me that, they, being my bosses, the ones who make all the big decisions on behalf of the live people. Caroline is a live person. I am not, end of story.
A bang on the front door wakes Caroline out of her reverie. It’s him waiting outside, knife already in hand, a grin of pure blood lust on his undeniably handsome face. Well he may look great on the outside, but inside, well let’s just say he enjoys cutting people up in cold blood, slicing off their body parts and letting them bleed to death. There are such people like him in the world. Believe me, he’s not the first I have seen.
Caroline is on her way to answer the door. I’m trying to stop her, trying to send her a message inside her head. Only she’s not buying. Crikey, is she so desperate to get laid? I’m thinking. As soon as I think that, though, I wish I hadn’t because I know Caroline is not like that at all. She’s always been choosey with the men she’s been with before.
As she takes hold of the door handle, I have to do something quick. Using all the powers at my disposal, I step out of the shadow behind Caroline’s life and grab her hand. “What, who the hell are you?” she cries, seeing me.
“Never mind,” I say pulling her away from the door while the man is still banging away outside to be let in.
“Let me go,” she begs.
Ignoring her, I pull her along and we race through the room and head straight for the window. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she yells as we hurtle into it and crash straight through it.
“Oh my god,” Caroline is screaming as we fly through the air over the city and upwards into space. She is shaking with fear, but I have a tight hold of her. Soon she will tire and fall asleep and then I will carry her the rest of the way.
“Where am I? “ she is saying now, eyes wide with wonder as she lays back beside me on the warm grassy hillside.
“Home,” I say, admiring not for the first time, her striking beauty
She is sitting up, looking round, curious, and now at me. “Wait,” she says, “don’t I know you? I mean, I saw you once, didn’t I?”
“Yes,” I say, “when you were born.”
“When I was born? Then how come I can remember you now?”
“I planted the memory in the back of your mind.”
“I’m a guardian angel,” I say, “your guardian angel.”
“Really?” she says staring at me in surprise, “But don’t tell me this is Heaven.”
“Well, yes, actually it is.”
“You mean, you mean I’m dead?” she says, a look of panic on her lovely face now. I must calm her, but I must also be truthful with her.
“Yes and no,” I reply to her.
“I…I don’t understand.”
“You are in a kind of limbo,” I say to her, “But I can help. I had to bring you here or that guy would have killed you.”
“Killed me?” she says, “But why?”
“He wasn’t the Mister nice guy you thought he was,” I say, “I had to rescue you.”
“You saved my life, then?” she says.
“Well, I guess I should thank you, kind sir.”
She is kissing me. It feels wonderful, her lips soft as candyfloss. I want to giggle like a small child.
“So,” she says, “are you going to take me back?”
“Only if you want to go back,” I say, holding her hand.
She’s thinking about it. I can read her thoughts. I know what’s going on in her head. “I think I would like to stay awhile,” she says, “take a look around, you know?”
“Yes, I know,” I say, feeling a rush of excitement at this new turn of events. “But I must tell you, I’m on the run.”
“I’m not supposed to reveal myself to you. It’s against the law, here. I could even lose my wings.”
“I see no wings,” she says.
“Metaphorically speaking,” I say.
“Oh, I see. I’m sorry I’ve caused you so much trouble.”
I take her hand again. “Caroline,” I confess, “I love you. I’ve loved you since the moment you were born. And I always will.”
She’s blushing, such a pretty blush. “You saved my life,” she says, “so I guess I should love you too.”
Still holding her hand, I say, “Come on; let’s find a place where we can live together happily ever after.”
“Isn’t that the stuff of fairy tales?” she says.
“Yes,” I say with a smile, “but let’s run with it, OK?”
“But what if they find you?” she says.
“I will still have you. They can’t take that away from me. And that’s what matters the most, Caroline, you.”
“You’re quite a guy,” she says.
“And you are quite a woman,” I say.
She smiles as we walk away holding hands.
I love my life with Caroline.
© Mimi Dey, 2018. All rights reserved.