Ally woke up in Paradise, stretched her arms out and yawned big. Joel was no where to be seen, but she knew he could pop in at any time. Plus, having angelic powers herself (she still couldn’t hardly believe all that had taken place), she could find out where he was easily enough. She focused her thoughts on Joel, and she discovered that he was chatting with the “Big Boss” as he called God, and his angel friends.
It dawned on Ally that she was an angel; why wasn’t she invited to this angelic gathering? “I suppose I’m not really an angel officially. Just a human with angelic powers.”
The smell of freshly brewed coffee, bacon and eggs invited her to get out of bed, get dressed, and follow the fragrance. So she did just that. She sat down to the delicious breakfast. Kaylee sat at the table with her own cup of coffee. “Good morning.”
“Good morning.” Ally took a bite of scrambled eggs and a gulp of coffee. “I was going to ask you before we were so rudely interrupted by Joel last time, how come you didn’t marry Joel? I mean, you live here with him. You could be going on all these adventures with him instead of me.”
Kaylee giggled. “Two reasons, really. First, I had no idea that I could even marry an angel. You may recall when he was telling us about you getting married to him, I was surprised as you were. That was the first I’d ever heard that angels even got ‘married’ much less to a human. Second, we made other arrangements which I’ve already told you about.”
“You mean the whole house-sitting thing once you arrived in Paradise.”
Ally nodded. “That makes sense. Are you still jealous?”
Kaylee didn’t answer right away. “Well, in a manner of speaking, yes, but not to the point of discontentment. I mean, I love living in Paradise.” She giggled. “Especially when you consider the alternative.”
Ally chuckled. “Most certainly! I never even imagined this place existed like it does. I mean, one hears stories, but to experience it is a whole ‘nother thing.” Ally thought for a moment. “There is one additional thing that would make Paradise perfect for me.”
Kaylee stared at Ally, her eyes wide and a “what!” expression on her lips.
Ally nodded. “Books. I need something to read. Some good fiction, really.”
Kaylee smiled. “Joel is so busy going from place to place, I know he rarely stops to read save what is required of an angel, which isn’t much. That’s the only reason he has so few books around, especially the fiction type.”
“That reminds me of a book I was in the middle of reading before I met Joel. It’s back at my house. I’ll just zip over there and grab it.”
Kaylee said, “I’m not so sure I like that idea very much. Maybe you should wait for Joel? He knows where to find some excellent fiction books.”
“Sure, I have no doubt he could. But he is currently tied up with a meeting with the ‘Big Boss.’ I know the way, and I’ll return almost immediately. I’m just going to get a book. I need something to read while I wait. What could go wrong?”
“Okay.” Kaylee shook her head. “If you say so.”
“It’s not like I’m going on an assignment alone. Just to my old house.”
“Don’t let me stop you.”
Ally finished her breakfast, then stood. “I’ll be right back.” She willed to transport herself to her old house, and Kaylee watched as Ally vanished from view.
Kaylee waited for Ally to reappear. After twenty minutes had passed, she thought, She should have been back by now. It doesn’t take an angel that long to go grab a book. So she yelled out, “Joel, come quick! Something has happened to Ally!” She paced the floor before deciding to make some tea. She had a feeling she would need it.
Joel watched as a frighten Kaylee appeared before him. “What did the silly girl do this time?”
“Oh, Joel! You’ve got to go and check on her. She said she was going back to her old house to grab a book. That was about thirty minutes ago. She said she would be right back, but then she didn’t.”
Joel waved a hand at Kaylee. “She’s probably taking a nap or something.”
“Taking a nap? Really?” Kaylee put her hands on her hips. “Unless she was under someone’s spell, not likely since she just woke up about a couple of hours ago.”
“You forget, she has angelic powers now. There isn’t much that she can’t handle.” Humans can be so easily upset. But best I humor her. “But I’ll go and check on her.”
“Thank you.” Kaylee sat on the couch. “I’ll be waiting here for you to get back.”
Joel nodded, then vanished in a flash of light.
Ally felt a sudden urge to cry. Why? She didn’t know. “Whayyyyyyyy, whayyyyyyyyy.” Ally opened her eyes to see a toddler holding onto a toy horse for dear life, and her hand firmly grasped its foot and Ally was pulling for all she was worth. Which, for some strange reason, didn’t appear to be enough. Had she grown weak in her angelic state?
“Ally Ann, you let go of that toy right now!” An adult towered over her like a giant.
Have I somehow ended up in the land of giants? What am I even doing here? All Ally could recall was something about going home. Yeah, that’s what she wanted most in the world, to go home to momma. Fresh tears and screams erupted from her throat. Very loud screams, actually. Ones that any woman would be proud of.
“Now, now, Ally. Here is another horse toy just like the one that Davy has. You two can play together!”
She felt the toy slip from her hand. She had allowed herself to be distracted. “Nooooooooo,” Ally screamed out. She pointed at the toy that Davy had. She intended to say, “But I want that one.” All that came out was more screams and crying. If he had it, it must be a better horse toy.
“Ally, Ally, Ally, my dear. What is the matter. Are you poopie?”
Am I poopie? Does she think I’m a baby or something? Ally wiped her eyes with her sleeve and looked down. I’m wearing a diaper? The truth dawned on her. I am a toddler. But how?
A giant arm wrapped her in a locking embrace, then plopped her on a giant knee. Another hand stretched her diaper on the back end open. “Phewee. No wonder you were so fussy. Diaper change time.”
Geross! To the max. “Whaaaaaaa, whaaaaaaaaaaaa.”
Then the two giant hands reached under her arm pits and lifted her so high into the air as if she was on display for being poopie. After that, however, she was laid onto a cold, hard, wooden table top. Then, they exposed her privates to the world by ripping off her diaper. But wait, there are boys in here! They will see me naked! How embarrassing! Thankfully for Ally, all the kids appeared to ignore her, including Davy. They were too focused on their toys to bother to look at her. In a way, this bothered her too. What? Am I that uninteresting that no one wants to see girl parts? She raised her head. Well, I do appear to be on the chubbier side, so maybe I am that gross to look at. Especially when they are smearing poop all over my butt.
A woman entered the room. Ally nearly leaped off the table. “Momma!” She discovered one word she could say at least. With such a limited vocabulary, she could even ask simple questions, like, “What am I even doing here?” Or, “Am I really starting life over again?” Not that she expected people in this strange world to have such answers, but still.
“Hi little one!, Are you poopie?”
Well, duh! Still, Ally couldn’t stop smiling at her rescuer. Her eyes were glued to her, wanting her to pick her up. Which she knew would happen at some point, but she wanted it now! So it didn’t take too long before her ignored outreached arms and a smile turned into a cry and throwing a royal tantrum.
Momma talked to the woman changing Ally. “Oh, thank you so much Gina for watching Ally. I know she can be a pain sometimes.”
A pain? Me?
“That’s alright, Mrs. Ann. I do this for a living.”
“Still . . .” Momma watched Ally crying on the table. “She is a special case. I wish we could figure out what is wrong with her, but her doctor are stumped.” She opened her purse. “How much do I owe you?”
Ally didn’t hear the rest of what her mother said. All she could focus on was the words that conveyed that something was wrong with her. So much so that she stopped crying, and she developed a blank stare.
“Well,” her momma said, “Something appears to have quieted her down.”
Joel returned with a scowl on his face. “I didn’t find her at her old house.”
Kaylee jumped up from the couch. “Can’t you use your angelic powers to locate her?”
“Don’t you think I’ve already tried?” The room turned dark and a chilling wind blew through the house.
Kaylee shrank back, her eyes opened wide and her mouth askew with horror.
The darkness receded as fast as it arrived. “Sorry for the angelic rage.” Joel sighed. “It’s just so frustrating not to know what to do.”
The poor angel. It had been so long since he was in this situation and he didn’t recall how to handle it.
Joel put his chin in his hands. “It’s almost like she doesn’t exist anymore, at least in this world.”
“But maybe in another world?”
A brief smile appeared on his face, quickly replaced with a frown. “But which world? There are an infinite number of them you know. It would take forever to go to all of them and search for her, even with angelic powers.”
Kaylee patted Joel on the back. “Could ‘the Big Boss’ help?”
Joel snapped his fingers. “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?”
“Good question. But I suspect the answer is because you don’t have to depend on God as much as us lowly humans do.”
“However, I think I’ll talk to his Son. He’s human too, you know, so he’ll understand.” Joel rose, and disappeared.
Kaylee shook her head. “Angels.”
An ethereal voice sounded in the room. “I heard that.”
Ally shifted in her seat at the dinner table. She recalled this part of her childhood, sitting at a table, unwilling to finish her food that she didn’t order, but made to sit at the table until she finished every last bite of broccoli, of all things. Her mom and dad knew she didn’t like it, but they attempted to make her eat it at each meal, so it seemed. Sure, there were a lot of foods she didn’t like—it was easier to list out what she did like—but that was aside the point.
The “fight” over broccoli was on, and Ally was determined not to loose. No matter the cost. Even if it meant not getting to go play with the rest of her brothers and sisters, and instead watch a plate of cold broccoli sit until her mother finally gave up and sent her to bed hungry. She knew her mom would have to eventually feed her something editable, like cake, candy, or at least some cheese. Even an oatmeal cookie or two would do.
She was five years old now. Once her cognitive skills were able to process what had happened to her—more the what than the why—and she was able to verbalize it, she attempted to tell her parents that she was trapped inside this kid body. That she was really an adult who was married to an angel named Joel, even though she couldn’t grasp what being married meant beyond a rudimentary understanding of the concept.
All her parents would say is something along the lines of “Boy, aren’t you the creative one” or “You’ll make a good story-teller someday.” When they failed to believe her, she grew more adamant that they did believe her. All that happened is after a year of her pounding her head against that brick wall, they grew concerned about her mental stability and they had talked of sending her away to a special home for “people like her.” So, she stopped trying to convince them.
A smile spread across her face. At least they won’t win the broccoli battle! I know what I like and what I don’t, and nothing can change that. Maybe once she was an adult again, she could prove to them that she was right.
“Hey children!” Her mom’s voice called out, “Come get desert!” Then she sat on the table one of Ally’s favorite desserts: blueberry pie. The smell wafted across Ally’s nose, weakening her resolve. Oh, she’s a crafty one, my mother! Well, it isn’t everyday we have blueberry pie. I suppose I could hold my nose and try to eat this stupid broccoli. She opened her mouth, held her nose, and swallowed all the broccoli on her plate in one gulp.
Her mother stared at Ally gleefully, sort of like a wicked witch or something. She experienced her mother’s emotions of victory and accomplishment.
“Now, see Ally, that wasn’t so bad, was it?”
“Nope, wasn’t bad. Just horrible is all. I fought to not throw up.” That muted her enthusiasm. Ally smiled, which caused an emotion of rage in her mother, which subsided quickly. She had, after all struck a deal with Ally, and couldn’t not give her some desert. Mother cut a small piece of pie and gave it to Ally, then went off and complained to her Dad. Even though Ally ate the broccoli, she felt she had won. She knew her mother felt the loss as well: she had failed to make Ally like broccoli.
That was the first time I recall feeling someone else’s emotions. I had forgotten that fact. She recalled now, that it grew from sensing and experiencing her mother’s emotional state to sensing many people’s over a span of five years. It about drove her crazy. Her memory had blocked it and she blamed the steam house for it, but in reality, the steam house made it better by giving her “gift” purpose. If one could call that making it better. It was her dear Joel that actually made it better by giving her control over it instead of it having control over her.
Kaylee paced the floor. She frequently went to the window to see if anything happened outside. She absentmindedly went to the kitchen to make yet another cup of tea. Even Joel’s tea leaves appeared to do little to calm the growing fear that Ally had fallen pray to some ill-fated trap of some kind.
“What could be keeping Joel for so long?” she wondered aloud.
“Running into dead-end after dead-end. That’s what,” Joel’s dejected voice replied.
Kaylee turned toward the sound of his voice to see him slipping through the back door. That was not a good sign for him to do that. “What happened?”
Joel sat at the table. “It’s more like what didn’t happen. I’ve been pacing outside trying to figure out what to tell you.”
“And I’ve been pacing inside waiting to hear it. So, just tell me the truth.”
Joel breathed deep. “Okay, here it goes. The only ‘truth’ I’ve been able to deduce is that no one either knows the truth or they are unwilling to help me find it out. All I’ve learned of the situation is that we should just wait.”
“Wait? Wait! You mean to tell me that is the only answer you received?”
“Now you know why I paced outside trying to figure out how to tell you.”
“And you’re just going to sit there and wait?”
“What else can I do? When the Big Boss says wait, you wait.”
“He didn’t tell me to just wait.”
“Sure He did. I just told you what he told me to tell you.”
“But I can’t just wait around and do nothing. I’ve been doing that already.” Kaylee thought a minute. Then she stood tall. “I demand that you take me to Ally’s old house.”
Joel shook his head. “Nope, He said to wait.”
“Did He specify where we should wait?”
“No, I don’t think He said where.”
“Then I want to wait at Ally’s old house.”
Joel took a sip of tea, then shrugged. “I suppose out of all the places we could do nothing while doing something, that would be one of the safer places.”
Kaylee’s face lit up. “Thank you, Joel. Nothing against your place, but you know how weird it feels to be depressed in Paradise.”
“No, I don’t know, but I’ll take your word for it.” Joel willed it, and they both vanished in a blaze of light.