Breathe. In… Out…
Savor the sensation.
Oh, God, how do humans stand it? So many sensations all at once. The warm sun on the face, the chill breeze as it rolls over the skin, the sound of laughter, the scent of… What is that? Fried chicken? Yes, that’s what Father called it. Fried chicken. Hmmm.
I wish Father hadn’t left. I know what he thinks; I depend on him too much. But being here alone… It’s strange. Humanity is strange. Heck, the whole dang planet is strange.
Better get used to it. Life’s profession and all.
Okay, Jacob, you can’t see me, but I’m watching you. I’m a Luxonian Guardian now, and I’m going to stick to you like… glue? Humans come up with the oddest expressions!
Uh, ho. No… You’re not supposed to be doing that…
“I’m here, Ma. I just wanted to see you.”
“Oh, Jacob. You’re not supposed to. Go, on. I’ll be all right. Go home…”
“You’re not all right. You’re sick. I want to help.”
“No one can help me now, honey. I can’t lie to a smart boy like you. You gotta accept. Go home.”
“Not without you… without Pa… Janie…”
“Don’t! I wish I could… God, the pain—”
Shuffling feet. A clucking tongue…
“Hmmm, huh! Come, on boy. Your mother needs rest. Let her go. You’ll do her no good here.”
I can feel tears aching to free themselves from behind my eyes. God, how do they stand it? I suffered when my mother passed, but it was different. Our suffering is different. Too many sensations here. My head aches, my stomach’s churning with bile, I feel shivery…
Yeah, Father… I remember what you said. Light beings are different. It’s not so painful for us. I have to relax, accept… Their suffering informs them… It’s part of them.
Breath. In. Out…
Father, I wish you’d stayed.
Uh, oh… Jacob? What’re you doing now? A letter? Well, that’s good…I hope.
Dear Uncle Matthew,
I appreciate your offer, but I realize now—it’d be wrong. I can’t help you. First baby Jane, then Pa, and now Ma. I can’t do this. The trip west was supposed to give us a new chance…but now… I’m alone. I don’t care anymore. California might be everything you say, but it doesn’t matter…not to me.
Someone could’ve helped us. But no one did. Only one old lady gave Ma a place to die. And afterward, she told me to find my own place. She has troubles enough.
Life’s too hard—
Sniffling. A sharp click.
A chair falls over. Scurrying footsteps.
“Who the—? Where’d you come from? The door was locked!”
“Stop, Jacob. I know you can’t understand but don’t do it. It’s not over. You’re not over. You’re only fifteen—”
“Don’t move. I’ll shoot, swear to God I will.”
“If you shoot, I’ll just return later. Listen, Jacob, my name’s Cerulean. I’m from another world… I can’t explain, but I’ve been sent here to…how do I say…to watch over you…”
“Get off your knees, Jacob. No, not an angel. A being—not so different from you. I’m from Lux, another planet. But, listen… Here, sit down. Are you going to faint?”
“Breathe. Take a deep breath. It always helps me.”
“Yeah… I feel a little better. So you’re—”
“A friend. Now, put that gun away. Better yet. Let me have it.”
“What’ll you do with it?”
“That old lady who helped you—She’s has been robbed three times this year; she might appreciate it.”
“You’ll give it to her?”
“She’ll find it. I’ll make sure of that.”
“California isn’t so bad. You’re a smart boy. Your uncle has a shop you might like… He’s a doctor of sorts. You’d learn a lot.”
“It won’t make any difference.”
“Listen, Jacob, if you stay alive… You’ll make a difference. You’ll save someone’s life, many lives.”
“How do you know?”
“I don’t…not unless you’re willing to try.”
“You did well, son. Don’t be afraid, you did the right thing. The Supreme Council has absolved you from your interference, But you know, there will be consequences… down the road.”
“But wasn’t it worth it?”
“Certainly. Part of being a Guardian involves risk. Personally, I find humanity worth a great deal of risk. They’re surprising…the way they think…the way they love.”
“They’re not so different from us, are they?”
“No. But beware.”
“They’re unpredictable. Like rain from a cloudless sky. Remember to breathe. In…Out…”