by Alice Woodrome
"Maybe he is some kind of angel," Mike said when I told him about the guy dressed in white. "I mean, you weren't killed, were you? Maybe it wasn't just luck -- maybe he was protecting you."
"Well, if he is my guardian angel, he should be fired." I told Mike. "And I wouldn't call losing my driver's license lucky - or six months in physical therapy or hundred hours of community service.
Mike was always a bit of a flake, but I didn't have a better explanation for the man's appearance three different times in my life when I've had close calls. I don't believe in angels. Besides, I never heard of an angel dressed in a polyester leisure suit, which is what he was wearing the first two times I saw him. The man would have looked out of place just about anywhere - especially in heaven. He was burly with a big round nose. His hair was wiry and gray and sticking out everywhere. The man had a wild look about him that didn't go with the suit at all. You would think that an angel, if there were such beings, would know better than to wear polyester.
He saluted me the first time I saw him. Not a military salute, more the way friends might. I was ten and had just been hit by a car while I was riding my bicycle to Kroger's. Actually, I was showing off, doing a wheelie when I fell into the path of a car. I looked up all dazed lying there by the curb with a pain in my legs that felt like fire. Two ladies were standing over me asking me if I was okay when the man in white walked up and stuck his head between the ladies. He didn't say anything, just saluted and walked away again. Now you got to admit that is pretty weird.
I didn't think too much about him after that, though. There was chaos when the ambulance came and took me to the hospital and I was in a fog from the drugs when my family came - and for a while afterwards. It was months before I could walk again.
I don't think I thought about the man in white again for six years. Not until I was almost drowned at the lake when I was a teenager. Some kids and me were trying to see if we could swim across the lake. I'm not certain that I saw him that time, really. I might have dreamed I saw him -- some kind of hallucination when I was still out of it. I do have a clear picture of him in my mind, though. It was the same kind of thing - him just peeking in while the lifeguard was trying to revive me. It was bizarre though -- him wearing that same leisure suit out there on the beach. I told someone about it that time - one of the nurses at the hospital. She told me that the mind sometimes does strange things when a person almost dies; brings up stuff from the past you thought you forgot. I guess that could be. She seemed to know a lot about such things.
This last time, though it couldn't be so easily explained away. I am not a kid anymore and I don't believe in mumbo jumbo religious stuff, but I know what I saw and it was plenty spooky.
Yes, I'd had a little too much to drink. Which was probably why I had the wreck. I guess I was driving too fast -- it being dark, and me not knowing the road and all. I just didn't make the curve and wrapped my Chevy Malibu around the trunk of an oak tree. No one could believe I survived the crash. They weren't sure I would for a while. The man in white was in the emergency room this time, I swear. He was one of the doctors on duty, but I only saw him once that night. He wasn't wearing the leisure suit this time, but he was dressed in white, which was odd because the other doctors were wearing green scrubs. I would have recognized his face anywhere, though. He just came in the cubicle where I was lying on a gurney, checked the instruments, and held up three fingers. Then he looked me right in the eye and said, "Three is your limit."
It didn't make any sense to me. "Three's the limit?" Mike says he thinks that my guardian angel was checking out because I was just allotted three saves or something like that. He said, "I think it means you are going to have to stop being stupid now."
I doubt if the man in white really was my guardian angel, but either way, I think Mike is right. I got to stop being stupid.