With the loss of my first love Margie, I developed an extremely morose countenance that helped divide me away from troublesome beings who might have wanted to be my friend. Not that I didn’t have a few friends, but generally they were diagnosticians come to investigate what my problem was. My family knew what my sullen attitudes were about and chose to ignore my darkening moods.
My father’s answer to everything was to “work-it-out” on the farm. I dug trenches, plowed the fields, tended the orchard, raised a lamb, cut and pitched hay. But rather than be the antidote, farm work gave me time to furnish my Top Secret Soul life with idols that I could bring to life in ever increasing exotic scenes. Farm work also gave me the one thing an underachieving 8th grader needs at school, an excuse for why my homework was not being done.
A starlit night arose over the dark road of my soul on the day after my Spanish teacher, Mrs. McNalish died. Her name was Miss Maria Montoya. Beautiful, graceful, and young, I had never imagined a teacher could be so full of life and light. She became central in my fantasy world and the cause of even more scholastic underachievement. But suddenly poetry made sense. Love songs from my parent’s generation became my favorites. I had no aptitude for Spanish but as a tribute to Miss Montoya I became obsessed with all things Mexican and all things beautiful.
Her eyes were made of the deepest darkest chocolate ever created and were precious jewels that sparkled in a soft round face belonging to another realm. She took a throne in the my soul where she became guardian of my Secret Vault of thoughts, dreams and fantasies. Her voice, rich, full and melodic was hypnotic and while I could not assimilate and make mine the knowledge she possessed I embraced her warmth and sincerity with a new level of love and devotion that displaced my feelings for Margie, mother, home and family.
She was only a dream, remote, ethereal and unattainable but thoughts of her comforted me in a way that nothing else in life could. I began to write. I began to draw. I wrote secret notes to her and drew the eyes that were often the last vision of my day before going to sleep. In those days girls seemed to be saying things to me but I could not imagine that they would one day be remotely as womanly and precious as Miss Montoya and I did not return their kindness with anything but blank detachment.
Several weeks after taking over my Spanish class, Miss Montoya asked me to stay after school. My facade of cool almost burst into flames and my love for her nearly revealed. It was the greatest test my Secret Vault would have to endure. But without even the slightest blush I simply said, “Yes Miss Montoya.”
There is no way to explain our little conference. Mariachi music filled my ears, and my heart beat to the rhythm of the guitars and bass. I believe she wanted me to know that I was an awful student.
I think she wanted me to apply myself and show her more aptitude for one of the most romantic languages on earth. It is even possible that she promised to not age a day and would wait for me when I graduated high school and we would run off to Mexico City where I would become a circus clown and a bull fighting novelist and she would be a teacher in a private school for over achieving rich kids. Who knows. I was just thrilled she actually knew who I was.
Her place of reverence and eternal love harbored in my faithful soul would last at least another week or two.
That same day the school bus home bound routes changed. They pushed my departure time back twenty minutes. Instead of the usual route up River Road, my bus went directly to Walt’s Superette instead. For the first time we met a bus dropping off high school students from the big town down south. I rarely looked up from my writings and drawings to witness anything that might be stirring the universe around me. I did not see a blessed force forming to build a new roadway into my sullen soul.
She was a girl. But this girl was on the border of becoming a woman and she had the impropriety that is born into the master race of humanity that are destined to become actresses, movie stars, and great singers. The Debbie Reynolds, Doris Days, and Sandra Dees of this world. With a wry smile and three quick sliding steps she took me into her world, offering to be my bride if she could sit next to me. I may have nodded, but I’m sure she was sitting down before our engagement had been fully arranged.
As she settled into my life she slipped her arm through mine and took my hand. I smelled the apple/cherry blossom perfume she wore as she leaned her head on my shoulder. “I’m Kim, what’s your name?” I told her. “You know that name suits you, it means handsome you know? And you are one of the cutest men I have ever met.” Internally I squirmed but outwardly I stiffened my spine.
“Now about our engagement,” Kim continued, “I want a June wedding but I think we should wait until I graduate high school and have gotten a part in a Broadway show. I am breaking my neck for our choir director Mr. Johnson to learn my part in our production of Carousel. I mean the singing is great. I’m an amazing singer. You’ll have to come and see the show, I’ve got a real cool spot in it. But the dancing. Do you like to dance? I bet you do.” She was an ocean of words that hummed out of some deeper depths of the great seas of the world.
” You know I bet you are a great dancer. You seem very athletic too. And those eyes and eyelashes. I’m surprised the cute girls on the bus haven’t swooped in to take you away from me.”
I heard some shrieks of laughter behind me and I was glad that I had developed a hard outer shell because I could feel the heat of severe humiliation rising in my soul. “Now listen…you know I love you with all my heart and I think our marriage will last an eternity, but I think we should have separate beds after we’re married, don’t you? I mean I love being close to you darling, but when I sleep I really need my space.”
The bus ride that day seemed to go on forever. It was time enough to establish Kim’s likes and dislikes about everything, (or so I thought) and to elicit from me my undying devotion to her though I had no idea what she was talking about. These things would grow crystal clear in the weeks to come.
I had never really appreciated the sight of my family’s farm as much as I did that day. As we rolled into the huge “S” curve where the road skirted our back ten acres I just barely croaked out the words, “this is me!” I was ready to jump to the front of the bus a good hundred yards before the bus stop, but Kim held me close.
“I’ll see you in the morning handsome,” she said and as she let go of my arm she leaned into my face and put her lips ever so lightly on my cheek.
Over the next two years my engagement to Kim would be our secret and one that I would come to cherish. It was a long time before I could be as free with her as she was with me, but she always seemed captivated by my joys, sorrows, pains and frustrations and often drew out of my Secret Vault a humorous way of looking at my vow to be a secret agent in the world of despots, fascists and abusers.
I learned through Kim that a spouse should be your best friend. I learned that love could be chaste, and pure and reverently holy where you truly want the best for the other person. I learned that your spouse would be the one to place you on a pedestal even though there is no way in God’s great universe you deserved it.
One other thing I learned through Kim, or more precisely about Kim – I think she was an Angel sent to me by the Lord God Almighty to save me from taking my own life.
As my relationship with my family grew distant and cold, Kim was always there to help me through it. And there were a few times when I held her as the disappointments in her life became to great for her to bear. We laughed together and cried together. Then one day, as oddly as she had entered my life, she made her exit and I would never hear from her again.
I would learn under the careful tutelage of my youth pastor Harold that in the Kingdom of Heaven there are Angels. Scripture illuminates the many roles Angels perform. They are emissaries, warriors, and worshipers of the Most High God. They are also guardians of his beloved creation – mankind.
Angels were spoken of in the writer’s exaltation of God the Son Jesus Christ in Hebrews 1:14
“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
The place of Angels is revealed in a warning Jesus gave to all mankind in Matthew 18:10
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones (children). For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
God Himself said of His relationship with us and His Angels in Psalm 91:9-11
“If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
My actual, God assigned Angels, would be vigilant to protect me in the many years to come and to the Lord God Almighty who created me I give my praise, honor and worship. And I pray His blessings to be on Kim, my teen Angel, where ever she may be. Amen.