Secret Service

An impulse led me to the pool. He was the only one in the water, leaning against the edge after some laps. Hair — golden when wet.
He was done for the day — or so it seemed. I had to say, “Do you remember the butterfly?” He nodded, basking in a swimmer’s high. “Give me three strokes and I promise that I’ll never ask you for another thing.”

With little hesitation, he lunged forward, disappearing under limpid blue. Breaking the surface, he jutted up like USS NARWHAL. Glorious javelin. Mark Spitz couldn’t touch him. Porpoise, bucking zircon. He did more than three strokes. By the length of the pool he had demonstrated that there can be no contest between man and woman. This is what Gabriel meant when he told Mohammad to write “Why would God make angels like women who are no good in a fight?”

“God made man out of clay and angels out of smokeless fire.” My beautiful swimmer emanated a familiar signature. It came with a message. “I’ve got your back.” Suddenly he filled the whole room. Air and water were all his essence. Inhuman, holy. “I’ve got your back.” An ocean of meaning, transcending words embraced me. Language of the angels.

I’m a clumsy flying fortress and he is fighter escort. Super-human. Non-human. Ever so often I will encounter one in a crowd or sitting in the shade of a tree on a bench, watching me soberly. God’s secret service.

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