Naomi was sitting in a Doctor's office, nervously twisting her hair in her fingers. A door behind her opens and the doctor steps in and sits behind the desk.
"Well, Naomi, the test confirms it. You're pregnant." The doctor sits back in his chair and stares dispassionately at the young girl.
"You're just seventeen, three months pregnant and have a history of drug abuse. Do you want to keep it?"
She looks down at her stomach, runs her hand over it and answers firmly, "Yes. I will keep *him*, my baby."
Bodile was proud of Naomi. The decision to keep the baby took courage.
A hospital room. Naomi in bed, her red hair fanned out against the pillow. A nurse enters and hands Naomi a small bundle.
"Here's your son. Have you decided on a name yet?"
Naomi takes the precious bundle and cradles it to her breast. She gently unwraps the blanket revealing a sleeping baby.
"Yes. His name is Blair Jacob Sandburg."
As if recognizing his name, blue eyes open and gaze up at his mother.
She gasps in delight as tiny perfect fingers grasp hers. She nuzzles the soft brown curls.
"So much hair already and his eyes, so beautiful."
The nurse laughed, "Yes, he does have a lot of hair, but most babies have blue eyes at first."
"Blair's will stay blue!"
"Okay, Mrs. Sandburg, whatever you say."
"And it's Miss Sandburg."
"Sorry." And the clearly frustrated nurse hurries off.
Naomi looks down at her son.
"I promise you Blair, I'll stay clean and I'll show you a wonderful world. We'll travel, see exotic places, meet strange and wonderful people. I promise, I'll fill your life with so much you'll never miss not having a father!"
And with those words she drops a kiss on his nose.
"Oh, Mr."C", that was.....so beautiful. Tell me she stayed clean? And kept her promise?"
"She never took anything stronger than aspirin from the day she suspected her pregnancy. And yes, she kept her promise. But keeping such promises.....ah, that can be a two edged sword for a child."
Naomi is now in a small house, packing. A beautiful little boy of maybe three is standing at the door, watching.
Naomi turns and seeing her baby, rushes over and scoops him up into her arms. Holding him close, she begins to rock him and croon.
"It's okay baby, we're going to a new, wonderful place, a reservation. You'll love it Blair, I promise. You'll learn so much. You'll get to see real indians....won't you like that?"
Blue eyes widened in wonder, "Indans, real indans?"
"Yes, sweetheart, real *indans*", and she laughs at his pronunciation.
She leans down and picks up a purple bear.
"Here darling, just for you. You can tell all your secrets to it and it will always be your friend. Okay, now?"
Chubby little fingers reached out for the bear,
"Dog. Name is Dog."
"Dog it is. Ready for more adventures, my little chief?"
Blair looks at his mommy and nods solemnly,
"Yes, I'm ready."
Naomi reaches down for the suitcase and keeping her son in her arms she starts out the door. And the small boy looks back, sad and waves good bye.
Bodile wished angels could cry. But they can't.
"He was so brave."
"Yes, and there were many more such moves. But Naomi did raise a smart, wise, kind man. His thirst for knowledge, his instincts, his generosity and his principles, all a direct result of Naomi's love. But of course, every coin has a flip side and the same life that gave him so much also gave him insecurities and fears."
Blair is sitting cross-legged on a floor. He looks about ten years old. He is reading a book about a great explorer. Suddenly the book is being ripped from his hands by a large, handsome man. The man is yelling at the boy.
"YOU'RE USELESS, A COWARD....BOOKS WON'T HELP YOU IN LIFE....SPORTS, FISTS THESE WILL ENSURE SUCCESS!"
The man lifts the small boy and begins to shake him. Naomi rushes in, pushes the big man and takes her son, then continues to push the man right out of the house.
"IF YOU EVER TRY TO COME HERE AGAIN, OR TO TOUCH MY BLAIR.....".
Twelve year old Blair, walking to school, three older boys on bicycles, following him, throwing things at him....yelling things, terrible things. About how he looks, about his mother.
And Blair, finally home, in his room. Can't breathe...shaking. Opening his favorite book on Sir Richard Burton..... More scenes and the boy always internalizing his pain...outwardly reaching out to others, helping others...
"Mr."C", I have to go down to him. Now."
"Not yet. There is a meeting you must witness. A fateful meeting.
Families playing in a park. A warm summer day. One boy of about eleven or so, sits alone, clearly not happy. A colorful van pulls into the park and several adults and children clammer out.
Bodile immediately recognized Naomi and Blair.
"Mr. "C", who is the older boy?"
"His name is James Ellison."
Blair looked to be about four now and his energy and curiousity were very much in evidence as he began to explore on his own.
Bodile noticed the boy called James was watching Blair.
James watches as the toddler runs off, unafraid, secure in his explorations. Realizing that the small child could get lost, or worse, the older boy immediately goes after the little one.
Amazingly enough, he finds him deep in the woods, engrossed in watching a butterfly. Under his arm an obviously well-loved bear. Blair finally looks up and sees the older boy and beckons him over.
"Sssh, Isn't she beautiful?
James crouches beside the child and agrees,
"Don't you think it's time you got back? Your mother's very worried."
"Why?" The child's brow is wrinkled in concentration.
"She doesn't know where you are. She thinks your lost."
"I''m here," he states with undeniable logic.
"Oh, look, she's flying, let's follow her."
"No." James grabs hold of the boy, "Stay here and talk with me."
"Who's your friend?" James asks, tugging gently on the bear's ear.
"But it's a bear."
"I wanted a dog, but we move too much."
"I didn't know there were purple bears."
"Silly," the boy reaches over and pats James' cheek. "Bears can be all colors, just like people, but purple is best."
"Cause it's hard to find and that makes it special. Mom says that rare things should be treasured. Didn't you know that?"
"I haven't found a lot to treasure."
"You're not looking in the right place. You have to look here,' he says, tapping James' chest , just above the heart. That's the only way to know if it's really special. Didn't your mom teach you that?"
"I don't have a mother."
The child tilts his head to the side as he thinks about this, the breeze is ruffling his hair and causing sunlit curls to dance around his hair.
"Everybody has a mom."
"She left me!"
The boy takes a step closer, standing between James' knees as he kneels in the meadow. He leans in, forehead to forehead and placing his hand on James' cheek, he whispers, "Sometimes mommies have to leave, but it doesn't mean she doesn't love you. My mom leaves me too, sometimes, but she always comes back and Dog stays with me while she's gone, so I don't forget that she loves me. Do you have a Dog?"
"No, everything is gone, even the stuff she bought us."
The boy straightens, frowns and offers, "You can have my Dog."
"No, that's very nice, but he's yours. You should keep him."
"You should have one. Mom can get me another one, before she leaves again. I want you to have Dog, so you don't forget. " Dog is pressed against James' chest and Blair picks up James' left hand and presses it against the bear. "He's yours now. He'll take good care of you. Can I ride back on your shoulders?"
There was something about the two boys....Bodile felt they were somehow fated...and there was something about James. He was so quickly and easily protective of Blair.
"Oh, my, he's a Sentinel."
"Yes, my dear. And also under the protection of the Great Chopec Spirits."
"But....if Blair is a shaman and James Ellison is a Sentinel.....".
And she did, but the pictures were coming faster now....
The adult Blair in a hospital room, talking with a tall, very good looking man....Bodile recognized him as the adult James Ellison.
She watched the growing relationship between the two men. Blair talking, guiding. Jim listening, protecting. She saw Jim's confusion at first, but also his strength, courage and his stubboness.
She saw the men bond, in spite of their difference, or because of them. She saw Jim's life change as he let the younger man into his and she saw
Blair steady and mature as the tall detective gave him the anchor, the home he so desperately needed. She watched in amazement, their exploits, the give and take, the shared teaching and learning.
Sentinel and Guide. Sentinel *and* Shaman Guide.
"I'm not sure this is a project for a novitiate, Mr. "C", this is important, maybe you should be handling this one yourself."
The angel chuckled, "Now Bodile, if I didn't think you were the right one for this job....".
"I've seen so much good in his life. What could have brought him to the bridge?"
Now the pictures were not so pleasant. Bodile saw hurt, anger, harsh words. An evil woman, trying to kill Blair. Blair destroying his research, giving up his doctorate in Anthropology, his decision to try another field, Forensic Psychology, his excitement at being able to really help the Cascade Police Department, to help his friends. And Jim, excited as well, supportive and eager at the prospect of the new endeavor. But as the pictures continue to show, starting over isn't easy. Especially when you must balance real life with school. The more Blair tried to do, the more people he tried to please, the worse things became. He started forgetting things, appointments slid by him, papers weren't finished on time, professors who were already suspicious of him gave him no slack and some went out of their way to make it harder for him.
Then the pictures showed the last month. And once again Bodile wished angels could cry. Because she had finally recognized the *thing* she hadn't been able to put her finger on earlier.
Blair loved Jim. Was *in love* with him. And unless she was badly mistaken, James returned the feelings.
Oh yes, she had her work cut out for her.
Blair didn't know what he hoped the waters below him would reveal, but he found himself looking closer, leaning over the rail............
Blair heard the yell, pulled away from the railing and looked wildly about him. There! To his left.
A woman, standing on the railing! Ready to jump.
"Wait!" He called out. Then began to move slowly forward. She seemed amazingly calm for someone who planned to jump. She had short auburn hair and green eyes, looking calmly back at him.
"Wait for what, young man?"
"I.....don't you....think you should come down? It's getting......kinda windy?"
"You're probably right. This isn't the safest place to stand, it it?"
"Uh, no, not really."
Blair moved closer and was surprised when the woman held out her hand to him.
"Give me a hand, Blair?"
He took it and helped her down. It was only when she was safely beside him, smoothing her hair down, that he realized she'd called him by name.
"Thank you Blair. I knew you'd abandon your own plans if someone else was in trouble. You're a good man." The smile she directed at him was dazzling.
She patted his cheek, hooked her arm through his and began to walk him off the bridge toward a well lit building ahead of them.
"I know you're confused. So let me clarify. My name is Bodile and I'm an angel. Well, a novitiate really, I don't have my wings yet. But with your help.....".
Blair was stunned. He actually believed her.
They arrived at the building and Bodile pushed him inside.
It was a pub, badly lit, noisy and crowded. She guided him to a booth.
Blair looked dazedly around him. "What is this place? I've been here dozens of times....this should be a school."
"Blair, do you remember what you were thinking just before I spoke up?"
"I....I'm not sure.....yes, I guess.....I was wishing that....I'd never been born."
"Exactly." And she sat back looking immensely satisfied with herself. After all, if it had worked for Mr. "C", it would work for her.
"You've never been born. I gave you your wish."
A waiter appeared, forestalling any further talk.
"What can I get for you two?"
"I'd love some Lobster Thermidor, a Cesar salad and Floating Island for dessert."