Nothing was working out! My son hadn’t spoken to me in three years, the ex-wife was living her new life with her new husband in peace and happiness or so it seemed, I was living in a one bedroom bare senior apartment, my business was not doing well and I would be having a cancer removed from my colon next week. I tried to look on the brighter side of things, but couldn’t see a brighter side. Why go through the effort when everything was turning bleak and I had nothing to look forward to?
I locked my fifth-floor apartment door and passed through the sliding door to the porch overlooking the cement parking lot far below. I went back inside, took out a pen and paper and wrote out a brief note, “to whom it may concern”. I stepped back out onto the porch again and then heard a gasp and looked down towards apartment balcony one floor below me.
A window cleaner was perched on a lift and one of the supporting ropes had slipped, causing one side of the lift to angle downwards and a man was hanging onto the secured rope on the other side.
I reached over my apartment railing and was just able to reach his hand, grasped his wrist in one hand and his hand in the other and slowly hauled him up to my level. A few seconds later the entire board on which he was standing broke loose and careened onto the cement below, breaking into several pieces.
I stared down in horror realizing how close the man had come to disaster. The man grasped me by the shoulders thanking me profusely.
“You saved my life. Thank you, thank you” he smiled and hugged me. Let me buy you lunch.”
“No thanks,” I said. “I’m busy.”
“You were going to jump, weren’t you, Jack!”
I stared at him. “How’d you know my name?”
“I know everything about you, Jack. I’m you’re guardian angel.”
I looked at the bewhiskered old fellow. Then I laughed. “And I suppose you’re going to tell me your name is Clarence, like in that Jimmy Stewart movie, A Wonderful Life?”
“Oh, you know about that? Well yes. I’m the same Clarence…that was in 1946 as I recall. Right after the War.”
“Look fellow,” I said. “Next you’re gonna tell me you’re an angel and need your wings. Do you think I‘m an idiot? That was a movie, for God’s sake. What am I supposed to say…it would have been better if I were never born? Huh. Is that what you want me to say?””
“I’m here to save you, Jack. You have a job to do and I have a job to do.”
“Oh, for God’s sake. I’ll let you out of here and then just go and mind your own business.”
“But you are my business Jack.” He just stood there for a moment staring at my eyes, then moved toward me. He took my hand and I felt transported as if in a trance. Soon we were in front of Mel’s diner where I often ate. Mel wasn’t there. In fact, the sign had been changed and now read “Polecat Diner”!
“How did we get to Mel’s?” I looked up at the sign and looked around for Mel. “Where’s Mel?”
“Mel?” replied the man at the counter. “He died years ago.”
“What do you mean? I ate here yesterday; had the Thai Chicken pasta. Mel made it for me.”
Clarence looked at me. “You see Jack, you saved Mel twelve years ago when he stepped off the curb in front of that bus. Since you weren’t there, Mel got hit and died!”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “That’s ridiculous! Wait a minute. This can’t be happening. That was just a movie and Clarence was just an actor. I must be dreaming. I’m not Jimmy Stewart. And don’t tell me you’re doing this to get your wings.”
“Oh no, Jack. I got my wings back in 1946.”
“I don’t see any wings.”
“Of course, only angels can see other angels’ wings.
He took my hand again and we went to Blizzard Entertainment where my son worked as a programmer.
“I know. My son works here and he doesn’t want to see me.”
We stood in the entry hall and I looked up at the information board. My son’s name wasn’t there. I asked the secretary. “Where is Daniel …?”
“We don’t have a Daniel working here.”
“Oh. He must have left…changed jobs.”
“No Jack. There is no Daniel. You were not here to marry Margaret so she just remained single and never married.”
“That’s impossible.” When I turned around we were back in my apartment and Clarence was looking into my eyes.
“Your son is going to visit you today. He wants a father again if
you will have him. If you do, then go to the door when the bell rings and greet him. And by the way, that cancer is not so bad as you think. It can be cured! And business…not so bad one day at a time! Of course, if you don’t want to continue your present life, don’t answer the bell and then all will be gone and you can start your life over again.”
I looked toward the door and when I turned back, Clarence was gone. Then the doorbell rang.