I was a dawdler, fully capable of making my one mile walk home from elementary school stretch into an hour or more. I varied my route, sometimes walking a friend to her house before ambling home. I was alone and it was all ordinary, my backpack tugging my small shoulders back. I’d just begun descending the Big Hill, the one that initiated me into a lifelong love of adrenaline as I flew down it on my bicycle on warm summer evenings.
An old truck rumbled by and I barely saw the driver, but he was turned fully towards me. I felt the look on his face, but I didn’t have a word for it.
I cannot describe the urgency and immediacy of the command I heard just over my left shoulder.
GO. NOW. RUN INTO THE TREE. HIDE.
I did. On the lawn beside me was an evergreen tree with thick, low branches that laid like a hoop skirt over the ground. I ran straight for it, my backpack slapping my back with each bound. I could hear the truck revving, speeding quickly to the base of the hill. I ducked into the branches and huddled behind the trunk, watching with horror as the truck whipped around at the intersection and tore back up the hill, the man leaning out of his window, eyes roving, searching. He slowed. He looked, his head swiveling back and forth, perplexed, frustrated.
He finally gunned the gas and left.
I don’t remember how long I stayed there, I don’t remember telling anyone what had happened. I don’t remember trying to make sense of the being who’d spoken to me and saved me from the man, whoever he was.
My heart pounds as I type; the adrenaline of the memory still has that grip on me, but alongside that, marvelous wonder. My Angel, thank you.