yellowm&M - Guardian When I was five, I used to spend almost all of my summer playing in my front yard. Our street was a safe, quiet one, so my mother saw no harm in letting me play out there as long as she could see me from our kitchen window. I didn’t care; so that’s what I did nearly every day. I was a very adventurous and curious child; a dangerous combination for a five year old. So one day I decided to climb the tree in my front yard. A very stupid thing to do for sure, but I didn’t think of that. When I was about five and a half feet up the tree, I lost my footing and fell. I didn’t even have a chance to scream before someone caught me. Looking up, I saw the face of a man I had never before seen in my neighborhood. He was an old man wearing a light gray trench coat, with a brown bowler hat pulled low over his eyes which were bright blue, and twinkling. He smiled gently before setting me down. Then he turned around and started walking away. However, when he had only gone a few feet he turned back to me, smiled, touched his hat, and nodded to me. From then on, I saw him nearly every day; he walked by my house when I played outside, he read the paper while I waited for the bus, he browsed the isles while we grocery shopped. And every time I saw him he would look up, nod, and smile. Anyone looking at the situation logically would have been scared out of their wits, and would have called the police long ago. But I didn’t look at this logically; I couldn’t look at it logically. Everything about the situation was the very definition of illogical. Even thought this man was following me, and I knew absolutely nothing about him, I just knew he meant me no harm. I had a strange, but very strong feeling that he was there to protect me. As the years passed by, I began to view him as a friend, albeit a strange, distant one, but a friend nonetheless. A constant force in my life that was always there whenever I needed him most, for better or for worse. At my high school graduation, he stood in the crowd and clapped for me. On my very first day of college, he led me to my classes on time when I got lost. When I was 19, and my boyfriend of two, almost three years broke up with me, he sat with me outside in the pouring rain, and held me while I cried. And when I was done, he made sure I got back to my dorm safely. Five years later he came to my wedding, and stood in the back. And when it came time for the guests to congratulate us, he was up there to hug me, his eyes bright and dancing, and the biggest smile I had ever seen on his lips. When my husband and I went searching for our first house I saw him standing across the street from the house we bought. One year later my mother died and he showed up at my house, his eyes grave. Again, he hugged me while I cried. I told my husband that he was an old friend of mother’s and when he left, my husband took his place, comforting me just as well while I cried in his arms. Then, three years ago, when my daughter was born, he came to the hospital, balloon in hand, and a huge smile on his face. All these moments fill my mind as a pair of hands yank me backwards, away from walking in front of a speeding car that surely would have killed me. I fall backwards onto the sidewalk and instantly my husband’s strong hands are helping me up, my daughter’s hands cling to my leg, and my hands go gently to my belly and the baby growing there. My husband kisses me and reassures our daughter, while holding me. But I, I look towards the shadows and an old man hidden there. He’s wearing a light gray trench coat, and a brown bowler hat pulled low over his eyes. Sensing my gaze, he pushes his hat up and smiles, his blue eyes twinkling. Touching his hat softly, he nods at me, then turns around and walks away. I watch him walk away, knowing he will be back at some grocery store, or park bench. After all, never changing, never aging, he is my immortal guardian.