Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lost Angel

 On a bench in Burbank. At a bus stop on Olive and San Fernando. The Van Man sat. Alone. Nearly three weeks back in LA. That morning he opened his eyes and found himself on another couch. The van was incapacitated. Transmission busted and no bread to fix it. He was good with repairs, but not that good. His metal chariot sat on Sepulveda, alone and afraid. The blur of Birmingham was behind him, but it was like a ghost that would continue to haunt. And now, the days of being The Van Man were coming to an end. How could one be a Van Man without a van? And he sat on the bench and reflected.
  That morning, as he awoke from couch slumber, Van Man felt the need to be social. Naturally, he logged into social media. Overtaken by an urge to check in on an old friend, Van Man scanned Swiss Miss's profile page.

 And with his breath taken away, she was gone.

 Van Man rested a hand on the empty part of the bench next to him. Three nights prior, Swiss Miss had taken her life. The details were murky. From what he gathered from a phone call with a mutual friend, Swiss Miss had a drink with a comrade and dropped her off at home. Then she drove to a bridge and jumped. Swiss Miss had been back in her native Switzerland since the previous Fall. She needed real help and went back for treatment. Van Man had spoken with her plenty about her love of Los Angeles. She wanted to get better and come back to the City of Angels. There ain't no angels, are there?, he thought. Van Man stared at the empty space next to him.
 He could dissect the tragedy. He could sure as hell try. She had too damn big of a heart and was surrounded by too many damaged souls needing a fix. More kindness, more goodwill, more, more, more. Swiss Miss gave nearly all of her spirit to the Beast, the vampiric nature of the City. And, finally, the last of it. Van Man strung together those times the two shared: the laughs, the sweetness, the intimacy...and what use would it be? He was just a witness to LA getting rid of one more angel. Van Man watched it happen. And that was the only thing that made any sense.
 A bus pulled up to the stop. But Van Man was not there to catch a bus. This was the stop where he first met Swiss Miss. She sat alone on the bench. Exotic and different. The bus pulled away and The Van Man stood. The bench was empty now. Angels do not last in this world. They smile and fly among us. And when they leave, we are left with the understanding that we can never be as good as they were.

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