Help Me, Angel
by Farida Samerkhanova
I am smoking like a chimney. Cigarettes help me to stay awake at night. Coffee helps too. Stomach pain is killing me and I cannot have more than two cups. I chain smoke: finish a cigarette and immediately light up the next one. My wife says that if she were a smoker she would quit because of scary pictures that they put on packs. These pictures predict my end. My mouth does not feel anything. All the inside of my mouth is burnt, but I cannot stop smoking. On the road the cigarette is my only companion.
I know all radio shows. I digest everything they talk about. They discuss Viagra, earthquakes, fashion, crimes, music, Olympic Games, Ukrainian elections, celebrity drug abuse and other stuff. I listen to all the bullshit and keep driving. I also think and pray.
A guy is talking about angels and says he can teach people to communicate with them. Nonsense. We can talk to angels, but we cannot hear them. I know there are angels and archangels. I also know I have my Guardian Angel. Everyone has one.
Once my friend stopped at traffic lights in a busy street. When the green light turned on, he did not move. He couldn’t explain why. A van next to him in the right lane began to cross the intersection. Suddenly a vehicle running red crashed into the van. My friend was blocking the lane and the cars behind him were all safe. The van driver and his passenger were killed. When he was telling me the story I did not pay much attention. Now I think maybe it was his Guardian Angel that saved his life.
I know Michael. I saw the movie with Travolta. He is a funny guy. I also know Archangel Gabriel. The showman says he knows everything about angels. Soon he is coming to Toronto. My scepticism turns to curiosity. I do not believe he can teach me anything, I just want to see what his “training session” is like.
I keep listening. When he says his deceased father is always beside him when he is driving, I automatically stretch out my right hand. I sweat because I feel something. “Something” is intangible, but friendly and helping. Is it my father? Watching and protecting?
Mr. Know-All-About-Angels says I can ask them for help. I would like to quit smoking. I tell angels that I have an excuse. I always need a cigarette pack in my pocket because I use it as a ruler to draw lines in my truck driver’s log. My wife gave me a regular ruler, but it is too long, thick and girlishly pink. I don’t use it.
Sometimes I feel very sleepy. I usually get to a truck stop and sleep in my bunk. This time I cannot drive another thirty kilometres, so bad it is. I pull over on the side of the highway and put my head on the steering wheel. My eyes close. I will be up in twenty minutes. Before I fall asleep I think that my wife is an angel. But when someone, mostly me, cuts off her wings she flies on a broom. A cloud of dreamy unconsciousness covers me.
When I wake up, I see that twenty minutes turn out to be two hours. In my ten years’ experience I have never slept that long with my head on the steering wheel. Anyway, I feel recreated and can continue my trip.
I buy coffee at the nearest truck stop. I still have six hours to drive. Something makes me look back. On the empty surface of a huge table there are two brand new thin pocket-size rulers waiting for me. I feel nauseous. Michael? Is it a sign from him?
No more excuses. I have to quit smoking. Angels sent me a message. Did they make me sleep on the road because they needed time to get the rulers ready for me? I am so excited that I forget about the pain in my butt. My phone has no signal. I want to share the miracle with my wife, but I cannot.
When I get home, my wife listens to my story with interest. She does not laugh at me. She says there are days when my guardian angel leaves me. On Sunday mornings when I do not attend the service in the church, my angel is there, praying. If the priest is alone in the church, it means that the place is full of guardian angels: they come to substitute for lazy humans. I should not miss Sundays if I want my angel always to be on my shoulder.
I go to the washroom. It hurts a lot. I am praying. I am asking Michael to help me. My haemorrhoids are so bad. I need to see a doctor. My wife has sea-buckthorn oil suppositories, but there is no way I will allow something into my anus. The toilet bowl is stained with blood. I wipe it with a wet napkin, wash my hands and crawl upstairs. What a relief to be in bed. I rub my cheek against the pillow made by my mom. I close my eyes and feel my Guardian Angel nearby. Actually, I have two angels beside me, including my wife.
Copyright © 2010 by Farida Samerkhanova