Early Heroes

Written by Kerry Elizabeth Blickenderfer-Black, 1 November, 2013

The boys were what was called Irish twins, born eleven months apart.  Lily was grateful that they were both well-behaved fellows, but it certainly kept her busy, taking care of them.  Liam and Thomas accompanied their mother everywhere, on her errands, to her appointments, meeting friends.  Strangers often complimented Lily on the boys’ behavior.

Lily believed in consolidating tasks, to save time, gasoline, and money.  Thus, today she picked up dry cleaning, visited the Mystery Lover’s Book Store, placed some toys on lay away, and checked on her grandmother at the nearby Golden Oaks Nursing home.  Liam made it known that he was hungry, so Lily stopped at the local Thai Foon restaurant.  Liam liked the coconut lemon-grass soup, Lily the curry, and Thomas was still breast fed.

Parking was on-street in the neighboring town of Verona where the small restaurant was found.  She unbuckled Liam, then had him stand and hold on to the waistband of her pants while she detached Thomas from his safety seat.  Thomas was nine months old and did not yet walk.  He was not due to eat for about an hour, so this luncheon seemed perfectly timed.

They walked to the counter, and she ordered, scouting out a table near a window looking out onto the street.  People watching entertained the boys.  The food was being prepared when something most unexpected occurred.  Thomas burst into uncontrollable, hysterical tears.  He stared out the window, inconsolable.   

As Lily cuddled and bounced her baby, Liam gripped his mother’s leg, trembling.  “Mommy, go home,” he whimpered.  She reached down, touching the top of Liam’s soft, curly head, but the boy buried his face in her leg, shaking, and began sobbing, repeating, “Home, mommy.  Home.” Troubled, Lily asked that their food be placed in a bag.  In light of the unusual behavior of her children, they would take it to go instead of eat in.

Worried that the children’s cacophony was disturbing the other patrons and deeply concerned about the boys’ odd behavior, Lily quickly paid for their food and made a hasty retreat to their car.  Somehow, she managed to carry both boys and the bag of food to the car, the boys burrowing their wet faces in her shoulders.

Once home, the boys’ normal, pleasant demeanors returned.  They ate and took their naps.  Lily completed some household chores, including collecting the mail.  A package from her Aunt Kathy was in the postbox.  Aunt Kathy loved surprising her nieces and nephews with little gifts.  Lily smiled and took the box, the small pile of mail, and a cup of coffee to the living room to peruse while catching the highlights from the afternoon news cast.

Typical mail she sorted, then used her silver letter opener to break the tape on the package from Aunt Kathy.  Her coffee was warmly comforting.  From the packing peanuts, she pulled a striking, bronze statue about a foot in height, twin angels standing shoulder-to-shoulder, shields and swords at the ready.  Lily puzzled over the absence of a note from her aunt when a news story caused her to freeze. 

The news reported a shooting at the Thai Foon restaurant, the one from which their food came.  As the anchor detailed the incident, it occurred to Lily that, according to the timing, she must have walked right past the perpetrator.  She and her boys would have been in the restaurant if the children had not start acting out.  The cameraman panned the scene, where the plate glass window was the location of the shooting, the very table at which she and the boys would have sat.

Lily said a prayer of thanks and a prayer for the souls injured during the shooting.  When she opened her eyes, she saw the new angel statue and became convinced that, indeed, her own twin angels had, indeed, protected them all.