Tim is a freelance writer, poet, artist and storyteller. He always tries to find and include lessons for everyone in his writing.
The next day Mary called me early in the morning to tell me the adoption agency was still there and she was going to head there after work. She wanted me to come along with her for moral support.
I reluctantly said I would. I taught all my classes throughout the day. As each hour passed I thought more and more about where we were headed after work. I didn’t really treasure the idea of going but if it helped a friend. I also thought I did not want to get in over my head with Mary.
I remembered what foster father Joe used to tell to me when I would give him a hard time. “No good deed ever goes unpunished,” He’d always chastise. I wondered if my good dead would have some kind of punishment attached.
The bell rang at the end of the day and I made my way out of the building. I spotted Mary leaning up against her car.
“What took you so long? She smiled one of those smiles you just have to say yes to whatever is asked of you. “Come on don’t just stand there, hop in...let’s go.”
I walked over and jumped into the passenger side door. I saw some of the other teachers looking our way, pointing and talking.
I was sure stories would be running around the school tomorrow.
We chatted and drove for about 20 minutes until we came to an ornately adorned three story old red brick building. At one time it was most likely a school. Now it was the home of The Good Will Orphanage and Adoption Center. Wait, this couldn’t be right.
“What’s wrong Gary?” Mary asked, a quizzical look on her face. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
I looked at her. “In a way I have. I spent the first few years of my life here.”
I couldn’t read her reaction to my confession.
“It must be a coincidence.” She said. “After all it is one of the biggest orphanages in the city.”
“Coincidence...yeah right…’” I looked around for Fred. In my heart I knew he had to be here somewhere. “Okay angel, where are you?”
“Okay angel, where are you?”
I hadn't realized Mary was still watching me. “Angel, what are you talking about?”
I looked at the orphanage. “Sorry, thinking out loud. I was reminiscing about days gone by here. Thinking back to the people who were my angels.”
I don't know if she was buying it or not.
“Okay,” Mary said with a little skepticism in her voice. “Ready to go inside?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be…”
We walked up the steps and into the building.
There was a woman sitting behind a desk. Mary walked up to her. The woman looked up, “Can I help you?”
Mary handed her the adoption papers. I wanted to talk to someone about this.
The woman scanned the pages then looked back up at Mary. “Let me guess you're trying to find out who your parents are.”
“Yes, any information I can.”
“Normally we don’t give out that information but let me see what I can do.”
She picked up the phone and dialed a number.
After a few moments. An older gentleman and an orderly came out from a side door. He walked up to us. “You must be Mary,” he held out his hand. Mary shook out his hand. “I am Dr Ebert.”
He looked at me and smiled. “And who is your friend?”
Mary looked at me. “This is Gary...Gary Howard.”
“Ah yes...I thought he looked familiar. I knew you as Gary Williams.”
“I was...I mean I still am, I took my foster parents last name.”
I looked over at the orderly. It was Fred. I knew he had to be here somewhere. He winked at me. I would have gone over but didn’t want to draw attention to myself.
“From what I’ve heard you’re looking for some information on your real parents.”
“Yes, any information would be helpful...considering the fact I never knew I was adopted.”
Dr Ebert looked at Mary then turned. “Follow me.”
We walked down a short hallway where Dr Ebert motioned us into his office to sit down. I looked around. The office hadn’t changed in 20 some years. Still the same landscape pictures on the walk. The same faded oak desk with...wait...different family photos.
“I had my assistant pull your file. It is not normal protocol to allow adoptive children access to their files. However under the circumstances I will allow you access to the file. I just can’t let you take it with you.”
Mary looked at the folder in front of her. She looked at me. “Should I open the folder?”
I reached out and touched her shoulder. “I can’t help you with this one. It is a call of the heart that only you can make.”
She shook her head. A tear touched her cheek. “Can I be alone for a few minutes?”
“Sure,” I said. “ I’ll be out in the hallway if you need me.” I got up and opened the door. I looked back at Mary. She just sat there and stared at the folder. I walked into the hall and closed the door. I turned and there was Fred. He had his usual smile plastered on his face.
“Is this your doing, bringing me back to where I grew up? What about Mary she was in and out of the same orphanage? It can’t be a coincidence…”
“So many questions and I have so few answers. God works in his own way. I am merely a facilitator to insure everything gets worked out according to his plan. Do I know how this would all work out when it started...no I did not.”
“Then you don't know why we’re here?”
Fred shook his head, “I only know what I’m told. I am here to make sure Mary learns what she needs to know.”
The door to the office opened and Mary came walking out. I started to introduce her to Fred but he wasn’t there. I looked back at Mary. “You okay?”
“Yes and no,” She wiped a tear from her. “It is hard to learn the life you lived did not start out the way you thought. I mean I know who my real parents are but they died shortly after I was born. I ended up here because there were no other living relatives but only for a short time. I was adopted within days but I had a sibling who remained behind. I don’t know why my adopted parents did not tell me…”
I felt the hairs on my knock stand up. The two of us came from similar backgrounds.
“Maybe they wanted to but were afraid of what may come of the truth.”
She looked into my eyes. Deep inside something stirred. My heart reached out to her. I wrapped my arms around her and let her cry into my shoulder. I looked up and saw Fred the Angel. He watched us from down the hallway. He had a look of sadness on his face. She pulled back from me and wiped the tears from her eyes.
“Will you take a ride with me?”
I looked at her. “Of course…”
We turned to leave the orphanage. I glanced back but didn’t see Fred anywhere. I knew in my heart this was the last time I would ever step foot in this building.
Fred watched the scene unfold before with Gabriel the Angel by his side.
“You pulled this one off Fred.”
“Thank you sir.”
“The Lord's end or should we say the beginning to this story will come soon.” Gabriel turned to go but stopped and looked at Fred, “Did you think about changing your name to something more angelic sounding.?”
“No sir, I like my name.”
“Okay then, see you at your next assignment. I mean as soon as this one is done.”
With that both angels faded from view.
We jumped in Mary’s car and drove. I looked over at her. “Where are we going?”
“I can’t tell you but it will be worth the ride.”
We rode for about forty minutes both lost in thought. I reminisced back to when I was a young child. I asked my last set of foster parents if they knew anything about my parents. They’d told me only what I already knew. They didn’t know my parents' names. It was only later as an adult I’d used one of those genealogy tests. I learned who my parents were and where they’d lived.
I watched the world go by outside my window. I started to recognize the neighborhoods we were driving through. We finally pulled up to a suburban brick house with a perfectly manicured lawn.
“Why are we here? Wait how’d you even know about my parents house? I mean...I've never told anyone.”
“I’m your sister.”
My head was spinning. I looked at the house then back at her. “But...but...how do you know?”
She turned her body sideways in the seat. “When I looked through my file It mentioned I had an older brother. Inside the file was this picture.”. She pulled a picture out of her pocket and handed it to me. I looked at a face I hadn’t seen in years, mine. I was only three years old when the picture was taken.
My first set of foster parents had given a picture like this to me. I turned it over. In printed writing it said, Gary 3 yrs old. Tears started to run down my face. After all these years I now had someone to call family.
Mary and I hugged for what seemed like an hour before settling back into our seats.
“Do you want to go grab some food?” She said. “I think we have a lot of catching up to do.”
I looked up to the porch of the house before we pulled away. There was Fred with his usual smile. I mouthed the words, “Thank You,” to him, He waved then turned and walked towards the front. He faded away as if he had melted into the house.
“Goodbye Fred…” I thought. I reached and grabbed my sister’s hand. Life was going to be so different now.
Here ends the longer tale of Fred the Angel. I hope you liked the story as it unfolded in three parts. The ending of the story was totally unplanned. I had another ending where the two characters ended up as a couple. However as I've discovered in all my stories after a few lines the story takes on a life of it's own.
Fred the Angel is one of my favorite characters I've created so he will be back in an all new adventure where he will take center stage. Until then stay safe and read on.
© 2020 Timothy Whitt