“Angels” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by M. Tejash, RaK’s Pallikkoodam, India.
“I can walk on my own’, grunted Adam as he was being taken into custody by the police. It was nightfall when he and his friends decided to sneak out of their college hostel to a pub near their college. Adam, who had given up on life and decided to do anything and everything to make himself feel joyous after his grandfather’s death had the wrong friends for just the wrong reasons. His money was all they needed and nobody really cared about him. He was caught by the police a scuffle with the bartender, threatening him for more even after being intoxicated. He hoped his “friends” would at least do something about it. They made no efforts of talking to the police or showing any signs of offering help.
As Adam was being taken to the police station, a middle aged police officer named Alan Smith, who was driving the car, advised Adam,” you know young man, all your friends just use you, they’re not good company. They won’t stay for long; you saw the way they behaved when I arrived, right? Like they didn’t know who you were.” “Well... it’s none of your business anyway old man” said Adam irritatedly. The car came to a screeching halt and Officer Smith exclaimed”None of my business! Your family has been worried sick after they heard about your little locker room fight where you almost killed somebody and got suspended.”
“How do you know my family and about that fight?” questioned Adam.
“I have been watching you all this while and you are in a pretty bad situation here, you know.”
“I know that, but how do you know my family? Am I related to you? Are you a family friend?” enquired Adam.
“Yeah...You can call me that...But it was your grandfather whom I used to look up to. He was a great man and it is a disgrace to him that you – his grandson, are behaving this way.”
Adam was taken aback. His face contorted reflecting myriads of twisted emotions.
“You are right... My grandfather was a great man but he left me when I needed him the most” said Adam sobbing.
“There’s no need to cry. It’s just the circle of life. We always know at the back of our minds that everyone has to depart ...Right?? But we don’t know the value of others until they have gone. And when they have gone we just yearn to see them in person at least for one last time”.
“I was a rat bag. My grandfather tried to help me a lot... Everything was pleasant but I was not my best at that time and I never really got to thank him. The last thing I told him was “I never want to see you again...” I feel bad for having said that to him. I feel like it’s a scar that will never heal.. The guilt... like a Ghost which continues to haunt...”
“Your grandfather helped me get my life back on track. He first saw me at a closed playground –smothered in sand, lying down covered in blood, when I was in my late teens. I was beaten up by a drug dealer whom I took a loan from and never paid back.. Your grandfather helped me up and wiped the blood off my face. He asked me what the problem was... He got me medical help. Later, he gave me money to attend college. He urged me to get a job. And I did just that. I became a police officer and visited him... I remember you were hardly 2 weeks old at that time... Your dad was in prison and your mom was barely surviving ... On seeing me, your grandfather’s face was nothing but a picture of sheer joy... He was so proud that I had made a man of myself!”
“So it was you he would constantly talk about, eh?” recalled Adam.
Officer Smith gushed, “Yeah maybe... I really don’t want to see you like this. Get off the streets ... Leave your wasteful friends for good... Focus on your studies.. I’ll come and see you every week. This Thanksgiving be a Nice Man, compliment your family members, apologize to everyone you’ve wounded...I’m sure you’ll feel happy because you’ll have fulfilled your grandfather’s wish- for his grandson to become a Gentleman”. Officer Smith dropped Adam back at college.
After a few years, Adam graduated, became a certified doctor and vowed to try his best to save every life in danger. He became a man in the true sense of the word. Sadness lingered at one corner of his heart-Officer Smith didn’t attend his graduation as he had been transferred to another precinct. After about a decade, while Adam was on night duty, through the ER, Officer Smith was rolled in on a stretcher- old and bald, wearing jammies which read ‘Old Willow-Old Age Home’. Adam teared up looking at him. Officer Smith had just gotten a heart attack and passed out on the table even while Adam was diligently trying to resuscitate him. That moment, Adam realized that he would cherish Angels in his life- Angels who come into his life dressed as humans.