Many years ago, when I lived in San Francisco, I bought a couple of pocket angels at Green World Mercantile, one of my favorite and now long-gone stores. Since then I’ve always carried one in my pocket for a little extra strength, protection, and confidence in the face of whatever the world has in store that day.
When I had a first opportunity to send something to Mtuseni (South Africa’s mail service is a nightmare), I included one of the angels so he could always have a part of me with him. We showed each other our angels on a webcam chat, and it was very cool to see it on the other side of the world. He loved it, and carried it everywhere. Then one day he admitted with great guilt and despair that he had lost it at a youth camp. I was sad, but it’s smaller than a quarter and easy to lose. Mine has gone missing now and then, but it always shows up. I told him not to worry and I’d get him a replacement, and he asked to have it put on a chain.
Finding another wasn’t as easy as I thought. It took weeks of local and online shopping until I finally found the exact same design. Then a small, local jeweler drilled a hole in the tiny space above the angel’s head and added a metal link. I found a chain, wrapped it all in tissue, and slipped it into the pocket of a pair of pants I was sending to him. He was so happy!
When we met for the first time in January, I immediately saw the angel around his neck. I took mine out of my pocket, and it was a bit of a “moment” to introduce our angels. He wears it all the time, and has swapped the silver chain for a leather one.
The angel is an emblem of our shared bond and a point of strength. Whenever he’s feeling nervous or insecure about something, I tell him to hold on to the angel and know I’m right there with him. And before I boarded the plane for the endless flight to South Africa, he told me to have a safe flight and that my angel would protect me.
I wonder if that angel knew what incredible experiences would unfold when she caught my eye long ago in that little shop on Polk Street?
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