Welcome at the blog of Dini Commandeur. I've written quite a lot of columns for various magazines. I also write short stories every now and then. These columns and stories are available for everybody at this blog. I'll release new columns and stories periodically.


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« The Tourist | Home | HENS »

The guardian angel

Short story, published in Zmagazine, December 1999 Saturday 31 October 2015 That life on earth became more and more busy and that it was so noisy down there, we knew already here above. And we, of the Association of female Guardian Angels, we suffered terrible from that noise. It was almost impossible to do our jobs.

“It cannot go on like this,” the Head of our Association said. “And it is not only by the traffic noise that the people don’t hear our warnings. People have so much worries: high working pressure, the urge to perform, paying off the mortgage or paying off the caravan and a thousand other problems.” Because of all these worries the capacity to hear us has almost disappeared. We have to try a different approach, the Head said. She already had worked it out precisely. We had to go to earth more often, fit into a human form and actually help our protégés. So Our job expanded more and more. Not only did we have to try to protect the protégés against accidents, but for example we also had to try to prevent that depressive people would do weird things. We had to help people with relationship problems and try to keep our protégés on the right track or getting them back on it. That sort of things. This new responsibility caused us to get down there more often. I was happy with that. Although the human race made a mess of it on earth, life there is more exciting than here. There is always something to experience. And it is always fun to change into a human shape. And it must be said, that is not always pleasant. Especially not when we have to be someone who is old, because then we also get the aches and pains of old age for free with it. But that doesn’t matter. The Head said that we had to choose each time which age was the most appropriate.

My first assignment was Leonard. Leonard was in his sixties and in his lifetime he managed to destroy everything he laid his hand on. He lost his family, and friends became enemies. When on top of that he became a compulsive gambler, the Head assigned me the task to get Leonard professional help. To give me that job was a real mistake of her. To help someone like Leonard, you have to have some qualities like psychologist or a diplomat. I don’t have these qualities. But a job is a job, so there I went. I took the shape of an elderly lady (that is trustworthy) and I went down and I looked for Leonard. I found him in the city park where he sat sulking at a small bench. I sat next to him and introduced myself as a former friend of his deceased wife. He wasn’t even surprised that I knew so much about him. “How does it feel?” I asked him curiously. “To lose everything you have? Your legacy. Your friends. You were terrible for your wife and now you are a compulsive gambler… man did you make a mess of your life.” I already told you, I’m not a diplomat. Leonard became very angry with me… and me with him. Listen, I can’t stand it, that someone is soaking in self pity instead of recognizing his own faults.
Well then the Head took over and I got Jannika. Jannika was addicted to alcohol. I pretended I was a fellow alcoholic who wanted to kick the habit, hoping Jannika was willing to follow my good example. But forget it. While I was bravely attending the meeting of the AA, she nicked my money and ran off. Of course The Head was not too happy with my act. But, a new job takes time to get used of, she kindly gave me another job. I had to make sure that Oscar, a stalker, would leave his ex-girlfriend alone. To divert Oscars attention of of his ex-girlfriend I fitted in the human shape of a beautiful, young, blond, hot woman, who had a crush on Oscar. But this approach wasn’t effective either. He didn’t bother his ex-girlfriend anymore, but he bothered me more and more. But then the ex (how was it possible!) got jealous and wanted him back. I disappeared silently and reported to the Head. She wasn’t really happy with this solution also and decided to keep an eye on the couple for the coming time. “Wouldn’t you stay up here for a while and take a course of Practical Psychology or Daily Diplomacy?” the Head asked. She asked me very neatly, but actually it was an assignment. I begged her if I could stay beneath for a while and give it another try. As I said before: despite of all life on earth is much more exciting than our life above. The Head showed me some mercy and promised I could stay down for a while.
But then she reviewed her decision because of the fuss with Jan, the bag snatcher. That didn’t end well. I defended myself so well, as a ‘victim’, that when he grabbed the bag of my shoulder, he ended up in hospital with a concussion. “You didn’t have to hit him that hard with your walking stick”, the Head said. And that was the last straw for the Head. I was put on hold. I couldn’t go down to earth and had to take the courses PP and DD. Sitting on a cloud, studying and sometimes staring how things went down on earth, that was my destiny. I didn’t want to think about that. “Give me one more chance, please,” I begged her. And the Head, she wasn’t too bad, gave me that last chance, because I saved some people from traffic accidents. And that made up a bit for my mistakes, she said. And she said I had to go and help Thomas, who might need some assistance for a while. I could find him in the park, the same place where Leonard had been before. Second lane left, third bench, past that sleeping aloholis.

There I was. Sitting next to Thomas about whom I wasn’t given any information, because the Head didn’t tell me his backgrounf. But I assumed he was a homeless addict. Unfortunately I took the shape of an elderly woman. Unfortunately. For not only I suffered stiff joints, a painful hip and sore feet. Espacially the fact that Thomas was a handsome man made me regret that I didn’t choose to be a woman 50 years younger. But he didn’t seem to notice me, so I quickly transformed into a younger woman. “I liked you more before”, said Thomas. Perplexed I looked up. Next to me sat an elderly man. “But maybe I’m a little too old for you right now?” he asked and flash, there was a nice man of about 40 years old. “Or a little younger?” And voila, a handsome 30 year old appeared. I recognized him. Thomas. Of course. I should have known. Also a Guardian Angel. He belongs to the Association of male Guardian Angels. This Association also went down to help people and they seem to achieve nice successes. The Head sent him to me to assist me and most of all to learn from him, he told me. “Pff.., as if I can learn from you,” I yelled with my head up high. “At least I can transform faster,” he said and flash, there he was as a sixty year old. And as a twenty year old and a strong eighty year old man. And so on and so on. Of course I could do better and the one transformation followed the other and so on and so on. We had so much fun, until we got distracted. The man at the bench next to us, was awake and watching us…

Later The Head said, that our behavior was very irresponsible. Every human being on earth may know of our existence, but Angels of our Association never can reveal themselves. That we transformed whilst someone was watching us, she really blamed us for that. I myself think we did a good job. Allright, the man has seen something he shouldn’t have seen. But Thomas and I saw how perplexed he rubbed in his eyes and threw away his bottle of alcohol. And we heard him say: “Never again I will drink, NEVER ever!”. Eventually I had, together with Thomas, helped someone off his alcohol addiction.

But the Head was, as said before, less satisfied with this performance then I was! And while Thomas only got a firm reprimand of his Head, I am now sitting on my cloud studying. And it will take a long, long time before I’m allowed to go down to earth again, the Head said. I’m sick of it, I can tell you that. But I will do my best. Even if I have to study a thousand study books by heart and it will take me 2 centuries, here sitting on my cloud, one day ever I will come back.

Translated from Dutch into English by Astrid Kostelijk.

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