THE GUARDIAN ANGEL
The next day Kate woke up very late. This was a long night, she thought to herself when she checked the clock on the bed table. It was 3:52 PM. She stretched her back and went downstairs to have some ‘breakfast’.
Strangely, nobody was there, but then Kate remembered that Lia said she would close the restaurant one day before the party. That means that the big day is already tomorrow! Kate suddenly realized there was not much time left. She quickly ate some leftover pizza that she found in the fridge, dressed up and went directly to George to settle everything for tomorrow’s equestrian competition.
Kate kept on thinking about the dream she had the last night. It was a really strange dream, she thought, it was so real. When she arrived to George’s house, she found him outside getting his mail.
“Hello, Kate! How are you today?” George called at her from the distance.
“Hi George, I am good. What about you?” said Kate when she approached closer.
“Well, I did not sleep much last night. Are you sure you feel alright?” continued George.
“Actually, I had this strange dream last night. I was at the cemetery and I heard voices. They asked me for help…,” told him Kate.
“Are you really sure it was a dream, Kate?” asked her George.
“I don’t know. It felt so real…”
“How could you know, George?” asked worried Kate.
“Come on George, I need to know!”
“Promise me, you won’t think badly of me,” George said with a soft voice.
“Why? What have you done? Tell me already!” Kate was getting nervous.
“Yesterday when you brought Bella back to me, I watched you walk away. It was getting dark and I was worried about you. So I followed you…,” George began.
“What? Why?” wondered Kate.
“…yes, I followed you to be sure that you’d get back to the restaurant safely,” he continued.
“You could have called me, you know? ” told him Kate.
“I know I could, but I didn’t want to because I simply did not want you to know.”
“Never mind, George. I don’t think anything bad about you, I swear. Just please tell me, what happened? What did you see?” Kate asked politely.
“I saw you walk to the statue and stare at it for a long time. Then you went to one of the graves… I thought you were praying, but then I realized you have no relative in this town, so I didn’t really understand what you were doing and why were you doing it. And then…,” George paused for a moment.
“And then what?” urged Kate.
“…and then… then you collapsed to the ground. I ran to you immediately.”
“I remember walking to the grave…,” said Kate, “…but I don’t really recall fainting,” she continued.
“Tell me, Kate. What were you doing by that grave?” asked her George.
“A voice called me to it… It begged me for help,” Kate told him truthfully. “I went closer and I saw a bright light coming out of the grave… and then… I don’t remember.”
“Well, I picked you up from the ground and took you to the pizzeria. I must tell you, that it was a shift!” smiled George. “We arrived just the moment Luis was closing, so he helped me take you up to your room,” continued George.
“Oh, thanks so much, George. I had no idea! And… what about Luis? What did he say and what did you tell him?”
“Well, the first thing he thought was that you were drunk,” George laughed.
“Of course, let’s not forget his good sense of humor,” smiled Kate.
“Well, he looked serious enough,” said George. “Anyway, he didn’t ask many questions. I told him that you were training hard and felt really tired and… I also said that you fell off the horse and probably bumped your knee.”
“Fell from the horse? Why did you say that? It has never happened to me,” told him Kate, sounding slightly offended.
“At least it stopped him from asking any further questions…,” George defended himself. “I know it wasn’t the best thing to say, but nothing better came to my mind… and this was quite convincing,” he continued.
“Very well. Thank you, George.”
“Oh, you don’t need to thank me, Kate. I was pleased to help. Would you like a glass of fresh lemonade?” he asked.
“That would be great,” said Kate and went inside the house. George walked in the kitchen to get two glasses of lemonade.
“Look, Kate. I really care about you and I would like you to know that. Don’t think about me as of an old creep, but I am really happy that you came along. You know, my wife died a long time ago and I have never searched for someone else… My daughter doesn’t talk to me… You are the only one that brightens up my day…,” said George and tears flooded his eyes.
“No, please, George, don’t be sad!” Kate tried to cheer him up.
“Please, excuse me. When I talk about my family, I always become melancholic,” apologized George and gave one glass of lemonade to Kate.
“Don’t worry, George. You are a good friend to me. I am very happy that I met you too,” said Kate and sipped from the glass.
“I have a surprise for you, Kate. I thought you might make a good use of it,” George smiled at her and dried his eyes with a handkerchief. “Go upstairs, it’s waiting for you there.”
Kate went upstairs and found a long box on George’s bed. When she pulled the ribbon and opened the box she found a black pair of riding boots of her size. She picked them up and tried them right on. The next thing lying in the box was a black velvet riding jacket. Underneath the jacket, she found a long-sleeved shirt with a tall collar, a tie of the same color and a new pair of snow white riding pants. Kate smiled to herself and tried everything on.
It was a perfect fit. She felt amazing. This is the outfit in which I am going to win tomorrow, she thought to herself as she admired her new riding clothes in the mirror above George’s dresser.
As she walked down the stairs, Kate noticed that this jacket was not as uncomfortable as her old riding jacket she left behind in Appaloosa Plains. In fact, this one wasn’t uncomfortable at all.
“You look like a professional jockey now!” said George when he saw Kate coming down the stairs.
“Really?” Kate smiled at him. “Thanks a lot, George. You don’t know how much this means to me. You really are a good friend,” thanked him Kate.
“I wanted to give you also the riding helmet, but I thought you should try it on first.”
“You didn’t need to. I actually already have one, but I have never used it.”
“I think you should wear it tomorrow because you never know what may happen during the race,” told her George.
“Yes, I will, don’t worry,” assured him Kate.
“Have you registered yourself?”
“Oh my goodness! No, I haven’t!” Kate panicked.
“Are you serious?” George laughed aloud. “You had time until this noon, Kate. I think you missed your chance,” George said casually and went in the kitchen.
“No, this can’t be true! I will call there immediately, maybe I can still register?” Kate despaired to herself. “George?”
“Do you know the number?”
“Zero-one-zero-eight dash eighty-one-eighty-eight,” George called from the kitchen.
“0108-8188,” repeated Kate while she was typing the number.
“Mrs. Petite’s office, how can I help you?” said a female voice.
“Hi, my name is Kate Loewe and I forgot to register for tomorrow’s competition. I wanted to ask you, if it’s still possible,” Kate asked politely.
“I’m sorry, Ms. Loewe. The registration was closed today at 12 AM,” informed her the woman.
“Well, but if you say 12 AM, doesn’t it actually mean I have time until the midnight?”
“Now you are just confusing me… The deadline was at noon, so you are five hours late.”
“Then I guess I lost… and it hasn’t even started yet. You cannot imagine how important this race was to me,” said Kate sadly. “Could you, please, at least tell me how many registered?”
“I think I can do that. Hold on a second.”
“Yes, of course.”
“…five, ten, eleven, twelve… Twelve people have registered,” said the woman. “Just a moment, what was your name again?”
“It seems you have the best guardian angel that anyone could ever wish for, Ms. Loewe!” the woman on the other side of the line said enthusiastically.
“What do you mean?” Kate asked her in astonishment.
“You are going to race tomorrow! You should thank Mr. O’Connor, because he signed you up this morning,” explained the woman.
Kate was shocked. She did not even say goodbye and just hung up. George was silently observing everything from the kitchen, so when he saw that Kate hung up, he approached her.
“You thought I didn’t know?” asked her George.
“Thank you again, George. You saved me.”
“Never forget to do the important things first, Kate.”
“I am really lucky that I’ve met a person like you,” Kate smiled at George.
“Well, nothing terrible happened. Come on, Kate, take Bella for a ride!” cheered George. “Go and clear your mind, don’t think about anything. Tomorrow is the big day!”
“Yeah…,” she sighed. “Without you, there wouldn’t be any big day, George. The woman on the phone told me that you are my guardian angel and I should really treasure you,” said Kate and went outside.
“You already do,” George whispered and closed the door while a tear streamed down his cheek.
Bella was grazing on the meadow close to George’s house and when she saw Kate she galloped toward her to greet her. “You are such a good girl… neither my dog was as friendly as you are,” Kate whispered into Bella’s ear. “Shall we go for a ride? What do you say?”
Kate turned to Bella and mounted her in one smooth movement. She hugged her neck and whispered to her: “Me and you are going to win tomorrow… You are going to get a big mountain of carrots… So let’s enjoy the last day of freedom because from tomorrow onward every stallion in the valley will be running after you, girl. I can guarantee this to you.” Bella happily whinnied.