Crawling into her older sister’s bed, Riley placed her cold feet on the calves of Braelynn’s legs. “Man you are so cold! Snuggle closer so I can get you warm. You are gonna get sick if you don’t watch it. Your feet are so cold they feel like you were walkin’ around outside with no shoes on.” Braelynn was guessing, but she was pretty certain her guesses were correct; her younger sister had been outside walking around and not wearing any shoes or boots.
“I got the lock off the back door. I scooted a chair over and unlocked the top lock. I just wanted to see him.” Riley spoke into the back of Braelynn’s hair as she nestled closer to the warmth of her older sister’s back.
“Turn over.” Braelynn knew they were not going back to sleep until Riley purged her story. Facing the other way, Braelynn wrapped her arms around her younger sister, kissing the back of her head. Not only was Riley five years younger than Braelynn so that she felt protective, Riley was special.
As Riley warmed up, her story unfolded. She had awakened to the sound of pebbles thrown at her window. Rising from her bed to investigate, there was no one in the yard. She knew it had to be him. He must want to see her as much as she wanted to see him.
Dragging a kitchen chair from the dining table, and standing on tip-toe, she could just touch the lock her parents had installed to keep her inside and safe at night. She had a bit of a history of leaving the house in the dark of the night. Their parents weren’t trying to be mean and hurtful, rather they were concerned with her safety.
Once outside, Riley forgot all about donning her shoes. She only had eyes for him. He made her feel so special. They investigated the woods together. He told her about the stars. She knew before anyone that Grams was gonna get sick, he had told her.
“I like it best when he shows up in his uniform. He always smells good, like sugar cookies. He likes to show me the owls and how they fly through the trees. Why doesn’t he want to talk to you?” In her youthful inexperience, Riley didn’t realize she was asking a potentially painful question. “When he talks to me, he tells me he loves you too.”
Only then did Braelynn finally answer the question. She finally told someone else her secret. “I see him too. I’m just smarter. When it’s cold outside, I put on shoes before I go see Grampa Dale. He watches over us. Some people call spirits Ghosts while other people call them Guardian Angels. I like thinking he’s an angel who loves us very much. Now go back to sleep and I’m gonna go make sure the door is locked again.”