The hour is late. The platform empty save for one solitary soul. A young woman. No more than a girl. Standing on the edge. Looking this way and that. Into the darkness of tunnels. Heartbroken for the first time. Cheated. Cut loose from comforting. Waiting for the night train. For a light to appear. A pinprick. A gush of wind. Presaging intent.
Meanwhile, far west on the Golden Gate Bridge. In this year of 1985, when the act of love is a death sentence. A young man teeters on the brink. Staring into the void between him and the watery depths below. Inky, swirling, inviting him in.
If he were to look up he might see angels waiting, crouched like gargoyles of mercy on the parapet. Their duty to perform. This beautiful boy coughs and spits. The taste of death fresh in his mouth as the diamond in his newly pierced ear catches the moonbeams from the bay. Knowing what is before him. Not now. In this simple act. But the future he’s seen in the bathhouses and bars. The twisted emaciated bodies. Lost eyes surveying lost lives. He stretches upwards then takes his leap of faith. Above, an angel spreads her wings, flying in an arc towards the young man as he tumbles and falls, circling in his slipstream, whispering in his ear.
“Fear not, for I am with you, will hold you, enfold you, and bring you home.”
Toppling. Somersaulting. The earth, the sky, the vastness of the bay, steel and girders, girth and width, all a kaleidoscope of beauty, of life and living. And as his body shatters and splinters on the glassy surface the angel intercedes, swooping him up to beyond and mystery. Just as she will, in decades to come, shepherd the couple who jump from the burning towers, hand in hand, stunned at how a day can unravel and amaze.
And here at Grand Central Station this one young woman stands alone. Deep into the night. Hopeless and helpless in her thoughts of loss and sadness. Felt only as the young can feel. A tear trickles down her cheek, salty on her lips. She gulps back a sob that strikes hard at her heart.
Suddenly the wind ruffles her hair. She hears the sound of the train approaching. The hum of electricity. The rumble of wheels. She bows her head, as if in one last prayer. Then, forever attentive, her angel glides down from the eaves above.
And this is what the angel whispers, as the young woman feels his breathe upon her neck.
“For you will have a son, who will grow strong and tall. Known for his smile. For his exquisite talent. Acclaimed for the beauty he gives to the world. And you, his one and only mother, will sit with the husband you’ve loved for decades, in the front row at Carnegie Hall and listen as your boy beguiles and enraptures the adoring crowds.”
Listen out for the solace of angels.