A place to write my 52 short stories for this challenge.
| I remember it like it was yesterday. I awoke to the phone ringing in the middle of the night.
"Hello?" I muttered, still half asleep.
"Jennifer? Jennifer, it's Hal. Something terrible has happened."
I bolted upright in my bed, scared fully awake by the sound of anguish in my best friend's father's voice.
"Hal, what's wrong? Where's Noel?" I tried to stay calm, but my voice was frantic.
"She- she's gone! My baby's gone! She was on her way home from college, and..." Hal broke into sobs. "They said she hit a patch of black ice. Her car spun out of control and was hit head-on by an eighteen-wheeler."
Hal's ragged sobs were barely heard as I felt my bed begin to spin. I couldn't breathe. My heart ached so badly it felt as if it were on fire.
"Noooo! No, no, no! This can't be happening!"
Hal and I poured out our grieving hearts, sobbing together over the phone.
The next days and weeks are still a blur. The wake, the funeral, everything was so unbearable. Any get-together or occasion would have Noel and I laughing and having a great time together. This time, however, I was all alone and missing my friend more than than I could ever imagine.
We had grown up together, gone through heart breaks and happy times. We thought nothing could separate us. We were so wrong.
One night not long after, as I was driving home from working the late shift as a hospital nurse, I stopped for a red light in a shady part of town. It was a shortcut home, and there was no one out that late at night.
As I sat there, rubbing my eyes and waiting for the light to change, a man suddenly ran up to my car, jerking open the driver's side door and pointing a gun in my face. He screamed at me to slide over to the passenger seat. In my panic, I realized that I was being carjacked.
I screamed and told him he could have my purse and my car, but to please just let me go.
He gave me a snide laugh and said, "Aw naw. I got plans for you."
I began to sob as the man tried forcing me to the passenger seat. Suddenly, the entire interior of my car became illuminated with a blinding light.
The carjacker, staring into the backseat, let out a scream of sheer terror, and took off running back into the shadows from which he came.
Not realizing what was going on, but knowing I needed to get out of there, I slammed the driver's door, locking it this time, and sped off down the street.
As I drove, I tried to piece together what had just happened. My breath was ragged and I was shaking all over. As I looked in my rear-view mirror to see if anyone was chasing after me, I gasped loudly.
In my backseat, not glowing as brilliantly as before, but still shining brightly, was an angel. She was dressed in beautiful a gold gown, and her wings were as white as snow. That angel was my dear, cherished friend, Noel.
"Noel!" I said, breathlessly. "I miss you so much!" I began to sob, overwhelmed at seeing my beloved friend again.
In a very quiet, almost whispering voice, Noel said, "I love you, and I'll be here for you."
And with that, she was gone. I wept all the way home. When I was finally spent, I had an amazing realization: God blessed me with Noel for a short time on this earth, but she had never truly left me.
Noel saved my life that night, and she will be in my heart forever.
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