The Hand of an Angel

Bruce David Tracy


I remember the first time that I held the hand of an angel. I think she was an angel, she was out of my life so fast that she might as well have been. Clouds floating overhead, dark hair blowing just past her shoulders, and the smile that let me know I was allowed to make mistakes. She had missed her bus on purpose, and I promised I would wait with her until the next one came. Every word and thought that day was new to a naÔve thirteen year old who was just starting to realize that girls were every bit as cool as baseball.

The school was fairly empty, and I didnít have the comfort of my friends to help me when the conversation got awkward. Again the smile told me it was ok, and she looked hard into my eyes like she was looking for something that I was certain she wouldnít find. I was outmatched, but was young enough to not realize it. She talked about things that suddenly became interesting to me, and I was amazed at how little I really knew about the world that I was so sure I was in control of. I looked over her shoulders but there werenít any wings.

Brushing her hair away from her cheek, she let me know that she had to start walking to the bus stop, but didnít start moving in that direction until I stood up and she was sure that I was going to walk with her. My heart was starting to race as I thought about reaching out for her hand. A brave move, but she gave me confidence I never thought I had.

Reaching out, I held her hand like a child clinging to the hand of a parent afraid of being left behind. She quickly readjusted so that our fingers were intertwined, and I gave in to the knowledge that I truly knew nothing. Soft, confident, her hands had everything that I wanted to understand, and I never wanted to let go for fear that I would go back to being the same person that I had been before.

The bus arrived on time and it hurt a little when I let go, but then again the smile which let me know there would be another day. I stood on the corner watching the bus leave and then sat on the bench not wanting to move; not wanting anything to change, but knowing it would and that I would once again get left behind.