And since then, the chirpy twenty two year old Jennifer remains an unseen face, a faceless apparition stuck in a world where she can never again feel the warmth of her mother’s kiss, or the bear hug of her brother, or the ‘partner-in-mischief’ winks she shared with her father or, the first blush that often came after the first kiss, a kiss that was meant to be but, never happened. She continues to stay in her room, waiting to come in terms with the fact that her death had taken away a lot from her. Her love, Peter had moved on. She was glad that he did so. What pained her most and the reason for her not having been able to go in peace, was that her own family had refused to move on and were still stuck in the memories that only gave pain, more pain and more pain.
Somehow, her presence is still felt in her home. Because, even today when the dinner bell rings, the first call is addressed to her. There is always a plate for her during lunch and dinners. And that ritual always brings a smile on her face. Her chair is unoccupied, the food remains untouched but the routine helps the family carry themselves through the incurably formidable void of having lost the daughter of the home, the star of their lives. Though Jennifer knows, her time as a living was up long back, she stoically chooses to stay with her family, waiting for normalcy to come back soon. She would give anything to want her family to smile again! She prayed hard. She prayed a lot. She prayed till she felt she could not ask anything more.
And that is when her niece, Samara quipped all of a sudden, at dinner, “Dad! Are there angels in reality?”
Aeron smiled at her and said, “Yes honey!”
The four year old chirped further, “Where do they live?”
And this time, Delia answered, “They live with the stars, up above and high in the sky, so that they can watch over us”
A thin smile came on Jennifer’s face at the innocent questions of her niece…..
However what no one was prepared for, was the next question that came from the child’s mouth, “Is Jennifer aunt an angel now?”
There is a sudden silence. The same silence that brought with it, a sheath of gloom and heart ache. There was pain etched on each face, each not knowing how to respond to that supposedly simple question. No one had even taken her name since the fateful year. Such had been the rage of pain that it almost seemed impossible for happiness to enter its forte. And Jennifer dreaded the impact. But what happened, was a pleasant surprise. The fifty year old grey haired man with a trimmed mustache who sat next to Aeron, who had sworn a stone cold silence since his only daughter died, now smiled. Yes, the retired army officer, Col Benjamin Jacob took a deep breath. His eyes seemed to water a little bit. But the stern officer in him held the tears back. And he looked at his adorable grand daughter who was visiting him for the first of many times ever since Aeron settled abroad, replied, “Yes my munchkin, Jennifer is is now our guardian angel. She now watches over us.”
Those words, those very words finally brought a closure to the mourning of six long years! Her prayers had finally been answered. They brought back everything to normal once again. Her father had spoken again. And there, her mother who had been in a trance like state ever since, suddenly responded with moistened eyes. Her brother almost choked on his own tears. The child had finally broken the ice. And the key to it, was acceptance! Jennifer felt peace now. She now knew, she did not have to go through the pain of listening to her father’s stone cold silence or gazing at her mother’s unfathomably sad and glazed eyes that had not cried or laughed ever since! Because now, her spiritual presence surpassed her physical absence. Jennifer finally found peace with herself.
Yes, she would be her family’s guardian angel henceforth! It was time to join the angels. It was time for her to go. It was time to move on to the next world.
Disclaimer: The story is a pure work of fiction developed from a figment of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to the characters in the plot is a mere coincidence. Nothing more, nothing less.