Iris [Songfiction]

Jacob, a guardian angel in immense emotional and physical pain, is discovered in a darkened alleyway one evening by a human girl named Kiara.
Based on the song Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls.

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2. Lonely

 

And all I can taste is this moment

And all I can breathe is your life

When sooner or later it’s over

I just don’t wanna miss you tonight

 

 

 “I’m sorry about the mess,” the girl says as she unlocks the front door with one hand. She’s using the other to hold me up by the waist. “I’ve been busy with college assignments and my grandma isn’t in any to get it down herself.”

“It’s okay,” I mumble, wincing as she walks me through the front door. I could be going to a pigsty and I wouldn’t care.

As she flicks the light switch that illuminates the hall, I realise I should probably ask her name. Since I began my mission eight years ago, I haven’t had much interaction. Just the occasional conversation with another angel I might come across. Basic human manners aren’t my forte, but I attempt to give it a go.

“What’s your name?” I ask her through gritted teeth as she helps me down the hall.

She’s a bit breathless from my weight, but I can see the determination in her eyes.

“Kiara, but you can call me Cara. All my friends do. What’s yours?”

“Jacob,” I tell her. “My parents loved the traditional Bible names.”

“Oh?” She looks at me out the corner of her eyes. “Where are your parents now?”

My heart skips a beat as I try to work out how to answer. I don’t want to lie, it goes against our whole system, so I tell the truth.

“They’re in Heaven.”

Kiara, or Cara, pauses and gives me a weak smile.

“So are mine.”

Somehow I don’t think it’s the same way mine are, so I return her sad smile.

Looking away, she continues to walk me down the hall until she turns into a room – the kitchen.

“Well, Jacob,” she says as she flicks on the light. “Can I get you anything to eat?”

I shake my hand as I glance around the room. It’s a decent size kitchen. I notice the big oven and the big wooden cupboards above them. Jonathan’s parents had a much smaller one, compared to this, but just as Cara’s feels homey, so did theirs.

“Are you sure?” she asks. “I’m starving so I’m happy to get you something while I get mine.”

“No thank you,” I say as she helps me take a seat at the table. “I ate not too long ago.”

That’s a straight up lie. Angels don’t need food. At least, not the edible food. We live on spiritual food, as we should.

“Okay,” Kiara bites her lip in thought, “but I think I’ll get you a cup of soup, just in case.”

I want to protest, but decide against it. I don’t want to be rude and it’s not like the food will kill me. We can eat it, we just don’t need it.

Kiara moves around the kitchen, pulling pots out from under the sink and searching through the fridge. I watch her every move, trying to distract myself from the pain. It’s not the greatest remedy, but it’s something.

At some point, she looks up and catches my gaze.

“Are you okay? I can still treat your cuts, if you’re willing that is.”

I feel heat growing up my neck and I look down. The pain does hurt, but I know within time they’ll heal. Still, to pass up treatment would be strange to mortals and I don’t want to alarm her.

With a sigh, I look up at her again and slowly nod.

“That might be helpful.”

She cracks a smile and I can’t help but think it’s beautiful. I’ve always though women to be strange, flirty creatures but I’ve rarely seen one that I personally find attractive.

I shake my head to clear the thoughts just as she reaches my side again, reaching for my arm.

Sighing, I let her pull me to my fight.

 

*

 

The journey up the stairs is a painful one. With each step, a new jolt of pain goes through my side. I don’t know what’s wrong with it, but Kiara assures me she’ll be able to do something to help. She guides me down a different hall and I peer through all the doorways that pass.

One seems to be a spare bedroom, the next an office which I’m guessing Kiara uses to complete her assignments. We pass a closed door and she whispers that it’s her room, something she’ll show me later. I want to protest as it hardly seems appropriate, but I find I’m too tired to talk.

Finally, we reach the bathroom.

It’s not large, but it’s certainly not small either. There’s a white basin with a cupboard above it, a toilet and also a shower and bath. None of these I need to use. Sure we may get dirty, but just like our fatal injuries, it disappears after a while.

Kiara rifles through the cupboard and pulls out a decent size box. She turns around with it in her hands and looks me up and down.

“I should be able to treat you with what’s in here, but I think you should get washed up first. Why don’t you take a shower and I’ll bring you in some fresh clothes.”

I want to tell her that it’ll disappear soon and that my current tattered outfit will soon be mended, but instead I nod my head.

“Thank you very much.”

She gives me another one of her smiles and heads towards the door. She begins to pull the door shut before she pauses.

“Do you think you’ll be okay getting undressed and into the shower? I could try and help, if you need.”

“I should be fine, but thank you.”

She pulls the door shut and I take a seat on the closed toilet lid. I unbutton my light blue shirt and wince as I pull it off. I have some bruising on my chest, but I’m thankful the broken bones have long since healed. I stare down at my jeans. I know they’ll be a different story.

When.. when it happened, my right leg suffered most of the impact and scraping. As I pull my jeans down my leg with gritted teeth, I appraise the damage.

It hurts more then it looks. The skin is a bright read, with blood still prickling the surface. It’s healed a lot since when I first looked. There was a few layers of skin gone. It goes from mid thigh to mid calf and I sit there are while, scrapping out the stones that are still imbedded. I don’t want the skin to heal around it.

People seem to have this theory angels don’t feel pain, but we do and sometimes it never goes away.

I pull myself to my feet and hobble towards the awaiting shower. Stepping into the tub is quite the process, but once the waters turned on and beating gently against the skin of my back, I know it’s worth it.

I want to close my eyes but I know that will only encourage the memories. Instead I watch as the water runs down the drain, first a dirty colour, but it soon starts to clear. I compare it to the whole meaning of life.

Sometimes we go through dirty stages, but then it clears and becomes perfect again. I just hope the same can happen for me.

 

*

 

 

I hiss at the pain as Kiara rubs some sort of cream into my leg. It hurt more than when she stitched the deep cut over my eye.

“I don’t know what happened to you,” she commentates as she flicks a piece of stone out that I must have miss.” And I don’t think you want to tell me, but I’m glad I found you. This looks pretty bad.”

“It looked worse before,” I tell her with a groan of pain.

“Well, hopefully this cream will stop it from getting infected. They are the worse.”

I nod but I don’t really know if I agree or not considering I’ve never had one.

Kiara wraps a bandage around my leg and I start to relax as the coolness of the cream starts to take affect. She ties a knot before climbing to her feet, offering her hand.

“Come on. I’ll show you my room and then we’ll get you to bed. You look tired.”

I shake my head.

“Thank you for offering, but I don’t think I should stay the night.”

She raises her eyebrows at me and her hands go to her hips. I feel partly intimidated.

“You can flat out walk. There’s no way I’m letting you leave.”

Before I can argue back she grabs my upper arm and pulls me to my feet.

“Come on.”

I follow her without argument. I finally understand all of Jonathan’s jokes about the women gender. They are always right and when you’re right, you’re wrong. The idea makes me smile a little, but I quickly cover it so she doesn’t see.

Kiara leads me down the hall and throws open the previously closed door. She reaches inside and flips on a switch, pulling me inside before closing the door.

I peer around the room, assessing the layout. The first thing I notice is the small window set under her window and then the book shelf that runs along the width of one whole wall, completely filled with books. There’s a double bed in the center of the room with a desk of drawers on either side. I notice a picture on one and as Kiara scampers around the room picking up clothes, I move forward to inspect it.

I guess immediately that it’s her family. The red hair that the mother and both kids have gives it away. It was taken many years ago, probably when Kiara was about Jonathan’s age. They look happy, I decide. They all have the similar smiles and the way they’re hugging each other makes me ache to be hugged the same way.

“That’s my parents and my brother,” Kiara says from behind me and I jump and turn around. “This was taken a year or so before they died.”

She moves beside me and points them out individually.

“That’s my dad. He was a shed designer and loved his work. He always made time for us though. He’d read to us before bed and give us kisses in the morning. My mum, that’s her there, she loved to cook. When we were at school, she’d spend the day cooking cakes and desserts for us and her friends. People loved them, especially the church and school. They’d always ask her to contribute to the bake sales because she’d sell so many.”

She smiles at the memories and I can see the deep sadness in her eyes of losing a loved one. I wonder if that’s what I’ll look like in a few years time, when I manage to move on from the accident and accept it. Feeling like I need to do something, I give her a pat on the arm and she smiles.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” I smile at her, trying to cheer her up, but she’s still focused on the picture.

“That’s my brother. He’s 20 now, three years older then me. The clothes you’re wearing now were ones he left when he moved out for college. He’s studying animal science.”

“To be a vet?” I ask politely.

“Something like that,” she sets the picture back on the desk. “He always had a thing for animals.”

She sits down on the bed and gestures for me to do the same, feeling awkward, I sit down with her.

“Won’t your grandma protest to a young guy being in your room?”

“Hardly,” she scoffs. “She doesn’t mind what I get up to.”

“Well, if I were your grandma, I’d be worried. You’re inviting strangers into your house and bedroom.”

“That, my friend, is being a good citizen. I wouldn’t ever leave someone who’s hurt and crying on the streets.”

“True,” I say thoughtfully.

She touches my arm.

“Do you want to talk about what happened?”

I quickly shake my head.

“Thank you for the offer, but it’s not something that I want to revisit.”

“Why not?”

“Did you want to talk about it when your parents died?”

The words come out bitter and when I see her pull back and I feel terrible.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble.

“Hey, it’s okay. I understand. Did it just happen?”

I nod slowly and keep my eyes down.

“Was it your parents?”

“No.”

“Siblings?”

I want to say yes to this because Jonathan did feel like a younger brother of mine, but I shake my head.

“Just someone I loved a lot,” I say after a while and she nods, looking down as well.

After a while, she wraps her arm around my waist to give me an awkward hug.

“Can I ask one more thing?” She requests and I beckon for her to do so.

“Are you okay?”

Her question makes me suck in my breath and I feel the pain rip up my throat. Tears sting my eyes, but I will them away.

Just.

Kiara stares at me, waiting for an answer, worry written all over my face.

“I’m not,” I manage to choke out. “But I will be. I always am.”

She’s quiet for a while and I don’t dare meet her eyes until she whispers,

“I know what it’s like not to have anyone to go to and I know this is going to sound random and maybe awkward, but I’m here if you need to talk to anyone about it.”

I want to tell her everything. I want to tell her the truth about who and what I am, but I know I can’t. It’s an angelic rule and I don’t want her to think I’m crazy.

Instead, I hug her back a little.

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

We stay like that for a little while, arms around each other’s waist, but eyes on the ground, before Kiara sighs.

“It’s getting late. We should get some sleep.”

She jumps off the bed and I watch as she flicks off the light, plunging us into darkness. I stand up, intending to move to the window seat where moonlight shines through, but she stops me.

“You can’t sleep there.”

I look back at the bed, biting my lip.

“It seems morally wrong to sleep with you.”

“I wasn’t offering sex,” she giggles a little and I’m glad the room’s dark so she doesn’t see the redness that creeps up my neck. “I don’t want you on your own. For one, you could try to leave and in your condition, that’s not a good thing. Two, when my parents died, the pain made me want to die. I’m not saying you’re suicidal, but that’s not a good place to be. Lastly, I don’t want to leave you alone in your pain, so, if you’re comfortable with it, would you like to sleep on the bed with me? We can sleep at different ends if that’s comfortable for you.”

“I don’t sleep much,” I stammer. That’s true. Angels don’t need sleep.

“You don’t need to. I just want to be there for you in your pain.”

When I don’t argue, she moves me back towards the bed.

“Why are you doing this?” I ask her as she climbs under the blankets, tossing me a pillow where I sit at the end of the bed.

“Because I believe in helping those in need. Physically, emotionally and mentally.”

It’s a simple answer, but one that holds so much meaning.

I lay down, staring up at the roof as silence fills the room. I can hear her breathing and I know she can probably hear me. My leg throbs a little, but it’s intensity has become unbearable.

I know I should plan and escape route so I can get away as soon as she’s asleep, but another part of me, a bigger part, doesn’t want me to go.

I decide that I’ll stay, just one night and be on my way again tomorrow. She’s right, I shouldn’t be left on my own. My mission is over so my purpose here is literally gone.

“But what if it isn’t?” My mind queries. “You’re a guardian angel, after all.”

I bite my lip at the thought. I feel revolted that my mind is already planning a new beginning when less than twelve hours ago, I lost the one person that meant the world to me. My mind has something to say about that.

“Jonathan doesn’t have to be the last.” 

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