A feeling of butterflies engrossed my fatigued body. I felt like I was
falling off the monkey bars too fast. The thwarted sun shimmed through
the window shade as the early alarm clock announced its horrible hum.
My emerald eyes opened and I could feel my heart beating in my chest.
The sounds reverberated in my ears, both the beats of my heart and the
ringing of the alarm, urging me to wake up.
Time inevitably persists as I search for the right clothes to wear: a
comfortable shirt and some jeans. The shirt was easy to find, I had
plenty of them. But the jeans I usually wore were dirty. I reached for
an older pair.
They didn't fit.
After several minutes of struggling to get the pants on and almost
losing balance and falling on my face, I gave up and threw the jeans
onto the floor. The cursing and wailing of a horrible tantrum followed.
To compensate for the loss time and the distress, I grabbed the dirty
pair from a pile in the corner of my room and continued to get ready
The early morning sun struck my eyes and made them feel fatigued and
glossy. I was driving east on Ward road, the Rockies behind me were
shrinking, and I was sipping some coffee. The warm and rich Hawaiian
blend felt soothing as it went down my throat.
Some heinous song was on the radio now, disturbing my ears and since my
antenna is broken, this is the only station I receive. I was
approaching an intersection and a red light then appeared and since I
was obviously not drunk I came to an abrupt stop, almost spilling the
coffee onto my testicles. After regaining some consciousness I looked
in my rear-view mirror and saw a murderess madman screeching to a halt,
almost ruining my day! Luckily, he stopped in time.
To my left, an old Toyota Celica pulled up. The driver looked like
Stacy, a girl I knew. She must be on her way to school or something, I
thought. We made eye contact, but it ended immediately due to
embarrassment or something. Her face turned red and looked away.
I'm a busser, so it's basically brainless work, therefore all day I just
daydream about possible girlfriends and possible adventures that lay
ahead. None of them usually come through. Work, as always was tedious
and mundane, but I had some sort of motivation. Probably because today
was “pay day.” Towards the end of the horrible seven-hour shift, I
picked up my check and got the hell out of Dodge.
I was on my cellular phone talking to a friend, Rob. “Thirty-four
dollars! The goddamn government took out 34 dollars in statutory
deductions!” I yelled.
“They'll do that,” my friend calmly responds.
“Well, what's the score for tonight?” Rob asks.
“What's the score every night?” I asked. “It's a great possibility that
we sit in my basement and smoke pot; without any chicks I might add.”
“Sounds redundant,” is his response.
We were sitting in the basement at my house around 7:00 PM and the sun
was still out, it being June and all. From upstairs my father yells,
“clean that damn basement!”
I make no response, my friend only continues to load a bowl of
“Shall we?” He asks and then blazes the bud.
We had no business being as stoned as we were. Our eyes were blatantly
cashed and laughter was due to meaningless ramblings. God help us. My
phone rang and I saw that Stacy was calling. I think my heart began to
pound harder and harder as I answered. I smiled and said, “hello
She giggled and responded, “hey Age.” She called me “Age,” short for
“What are you up to?” I asked.
Well, a few friends and I are going to the movies. You should meet us
For once, it seemed that something was going my way. The seven previous
Friday's held nothing entertaining for us, except random drugs and
aimless driving. Tonight was different.
We met them about an hour later. I was complaining to Rob, as we walked,
about our poor parking space, which was located far from our
We approached the ladies. Stacy was wearing blue jeans; the cuffs were
rolled up probably two times. She was wearing a t-shirt of a rock band
I knew nothing about. Her short black hair seemed to lie comfortably on
her head. Her cute face seemed to be blushing as she looked at me with
her sky-blue eyes.
“Took you long enough,” she jokingly said.
“Sorry.” I had no excuse.
“Are you stoned?” One of her friend's inquires.
Rob and I stood their stupidly and shamefully answered yes. The girls
just giggled and had nothing else to say, it seemed.
“Umm...I have to go to the bathroom;” Rob said and left me there alone
with the gals.
“So, what have you been up to Stacy?” I asked, trying to start a
“Nothing really. Just been hanging out with Andy.”
Andy was her boyfriend. I never met the guy, but for some reason I
thought I was better than him, in every way of course.
“Cool,” I said. I wanted to tell her how much I liked her, how much I
wanted to make her happy. I wanted to lust at her and kiss her like
she's never been kissed before. These are the things I daydream about
at work, by the way. I couldn't bring myself to do it though. I know
she would deny me and I'd never see her again. That's my kind of luck.
So, I just let it go and smiled at her.
Rob returned and we all joked around and laughed at each other before we
saw the movie. It was a nice time. It was also the last night Rob and I
would be alive, it seemed.
We were driving home; we weren't stoned any longer. We were mostly just
fatigued. I was thinking of Stacy; thinking of things I should've said
and done. I didn't want to forget about what she looked like. It'd
probably be weeks, even months before I'd see her again. It's always
Rob's seatbelt was slipped around the emergency brake, because my
defective car's seat belt didn't work. It wouldn't latch. The seatbelt
around the brake was something we fashioned so that we wouldn't get
pulled over by the cops. "Click it or ticket," as they say.
The rest goes without saying. Of course I could describe the accident in
mind-numbing detail, but I'd rather not. I could talk about how the
drunkard was speeding through the intersection and how we were t-boned
and the crunch of metal and glass-
No, I'd rather not. . .
I was at the cemetery. I was leaning on an old tree peering at my
tombstone. My parents were huddled in front of it, crying. My father
wasn't thinking about the dirty basement. At least, I don't think he
“Hey,” a voice inquired.
I turned; thinking it might be Rob or someone else I knew.
It wasn't. It was a fat old man. He was wearing some old baseball cap,
which blocked the sun from ruining his baldhead. He approached me
slowly; he looked like he'd go down at any moment.
“They can't see you,” he said, in regards to my parents. “They can't
hear you either.”
“Okay,” I said. I was confused, who was this guy? And how could HE see
or hear me?
“Think of me as your angel,” he continued. He didn't look like an angel.
“I know what you're thinking. I know what I look like. But looks are
superficial, you know?”
“I know,” I agreed.
He continued to explain things to me. “Do you regret not saying
‘good-bye' to them?”
I thought about the question for a moment. “I regret a lot of things.”
“Why is that?”
I felt uncomfortable. These were difficult questions. “Because I'm
dead,” was my answer.
“Do you know what you are?” He asked another distressing question. I
shrugged, waiting for him to proceed. “Have you ever been to the
The question sickened me.
“How about an amusement park or the mall? Or even the super market.” I
nodded. “Well, have you ever been at one of these places and seen
someone who appears to be very peculiar? For some reason they grab your
interest and you get the chills. But only for a split second. Then you
get distracted and then they are gone. They disappear. You don't even
think of that person again. You understand what I'm saying?"
“Yeah, kind of.” I said. I had no clue.
“Those are ghosts Adrian. And that's what you are. Just a fragment of
someone's vision for a split second.” This explanation made me feel
depressed. The realization of death seemed to be coming on, like the
oppressive heat of a desert city. We stood quietly for a moment.
I started a conversation, for some reason. "You know how your brain
still has six minutes of activity left, after your body dies?" I asked.
"I do now," the angel said.
"And you know how a minute in dream time is infinitely longer than a
minute in real time?" I continued. He shrugged. "For example. You will
wake up and it will be 10:12. You'll go back to sleep and have a long,
intricate, beautiful dream and wake up and it'll be 10:13." He agreed,
but I don't know if he understood or not.
"Well, maybe that's what this is right now. A dream." I finished.
Blatantly he said, “what about that girl, Stacy I believe?” He paused a
second. “Do you regret not telling her about your feelings?”
It caught me off guard. And then I knew my answer. This, of course, made
me feel totally shitty. “Like I said, I regret a lot of things.”
“How would you like to fulfil some of these regrets? You know, a second
chance,” he offered.
“How?” I wanted to know!
He said, "you have an interesting theory by the way." And then proceeded
with this question: "What are you grateful for Adrian?"
“I don't know, lots of things.”
“You see,” he began to elucidate, “too many of us wait too long to make
a difference. We wait. We wait until something happens instead of
making something happen. Sooner or later you'll be out of time. Like
you for example. I know it sounds cliché-like, but the only way you
won't regret things is if you live your life to the fullest. Treating
every day like it's your last.” He paused. “Have you heard that
I nod, perplexed as ever.
“We take too many things for granted.” The old man sits down on a nearby
tombstone. Although he was an angel, he seemed weak and tired. “Make a
list. Nothing fancy. Don't worry, you don't have to save the world, or
cure cancer. Just make a list.”
“A list?” I asked.
“A list of things you are grateful for and why you are grateful for
“Why me? Why do I get a second chance?” I was inquisitive.
“Everyone gets second chances Adrian.” He looks up for a second,
contemplates something. “The whole point of a second chance is to make
right something that was wrong. You know that feeling you get in your
stomach when you fall fast and unexpected? Those are second chances.
You get second chances all the time.”
“So all I have to do is make a list of the things I'm grateful for and
I get my life back?” I was still confused, obviously.
“Yes and explain why you're grateful.”
A silence filled the air and a notepad and pencil appeared on the grass.
I sat down on the dewy green grass, alone now. I looked around and my
parents were gone, so was the angel.
I was thinking about the other morning. I was thinking about the jeans.
So I picked up the pencil and wrote, “I'm grateful for the clothes that
fit too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.”
I then thought about something else and wrote, “I'm grateful for the
taxes I pay, because it means I am employed.”
I then remembered the drive to work and wrote “I'm grateful for the
horrible radio stations, because it means I can hear.”
More ideas came, so I wrote them down, too. “I'm grateful for the
basement that I have to clean up, because it means I have a home."
I blinked. "I'm grateful for the parking spot I find at the far end of
the parking lot, because it means I can walk.”
I then remembered the alarm clock going off madly next to my bed. I
smiled as tears filled my eyes and I wrote, “I'm grateful for the alarm
clock that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means I am
The next day I woke up and went to work.