The Angels Carry You Away

The Angels Carry You Away

I don’t know if i believe in God, but James did. My best

friend, James, believed with all his heart. He had to believe in

something in order to survive. If God is really up there and is

watching over everyone then he works in mysterious ways. God

recognized the dark bruises that clouded James’s gentle face and

sent angels to carry him away.

James was always a quiet boy and many people never noticed

him, but I did. He was extremely intellectually advanced for his

age and spent his free time reading the works of Shakespeare, Poe,

and on occasion Emily Dickinson. Eventually we began to talk about

his choices for reading because they mirrored mine so closely.

We grew really close over a short period of time and we

began to date. We joined the track team together, and that’s when I

started noticing that something was terribly wrong. Bruises covered

his body, mostly on his arms and back. In the beginning he just

shrugged off my concerns. He would just smile at me and say that he

was clumsy or some form of that same old excuse, but the more I

asked the faster his smile began to fade. The bruises were always

there, changing and shifting positions but always haunting him.

One day James didn’t come to school and i got extremely

nervous. He had never missed a day of school, not one, during the

entire time that I had known him. The next day was another no show.

On the third day, however, he appeared and in the worst condition

that i had ever seen him. His left eye was black and pink and

swollen shut, and a blue cast engulfed his right arm. That day he

didn’t talk much, not even to me, but even in his condition he

insisted on attending track practice. At practice i cornered him

and demanded to know what was going on. He didn’t try to cover it

up with any excuses this time. Instead he looked me straight in the

eye and admitted that his dad gets mad sometimes when he is drunk

and hits him. Shock pulsed through my veins hand in hand with the

unfathomable pain. His eyes clouded over with tears. That was the

first time I had ever seen him cry.

I held him in hopes that my arms would kill the pain, kill

the sorrow, kill the shame, kill the memories. I promised to

protect him in any way I could, but that night after practice my

parents told me they were going to divorce and that I would have to

move to a new school. I tried to plead with them saying that my lif

was here and my friends and my love is here.They looked at me

sympathetically but they said that i couldn’t be in love because i

was too young. I remember thinking that they obviously didn’t know

what love was.

I can’t ever remember crying more than I did that night. My

world fell apart in one foul swoop, in one unfortunate day. We

moved very quickly after that night, but I kept in contact with

James. He called me everyday and we saw eachother on weekends, and

things were looking up. As if the light really did shine at the end

of the tunnel, but then the calls stopped and coming and the

meetings ended without warning. I couldn’t understand why. I went

to a friend’s house on a friday night and i got my answers from my

friend Adam, a boy from my friend’s youth group who went to school

with James. We were sitting in the garage as the rain beat down on

the tin roof when I mentioned James’s name. Adam looked puzzled

that I know who he was.

“James Johnson?” He asked me in a quiet tone. I nodded

slowly, “you know he committed suicide two weeks ago dont you?” The

pain in that moment became unbearable as the realization of his

words hit me like a freight train. I hadn’t known because no one

told me, and I had missed the funeral. Flashbacks of times we spent

together came floating into my mind, all the novel discussions, the

track meets, and the love. He was the first boy that came into my

life that could directly affect the gravity around me, and I don’t

know if that means we really were in love all I know is that he

knew me for who I was not how everyone saw me.

I’d like to think that James is still with me every day,

but I don’t know if he is. I don’t know if I believe in god, but I

continue to pray. I look out for the kids that are a victim of

violence and I have written a few essays on the matter. I want to

make sure that everytime I talk to someone that they know how much

they mean to me, because it’s never set in stone how long they will

be with us. Tomorrow isn’t promised today, and you never know when

the angels will be sent to carry you away.