I Dance with an Angel
— Ozzie, age 16 —
My brother Ronnie was quite the dancer. He’s the one who taught me how to dance. I told him about the dance and asked him, “You wanna go?”
He said, “Sure, we’ll go to the dance.”
Then I invited Güero, who was a great friend, even though I was not such a good friend to him. I asked him, “Can you go with us?”
He said, “Oh yeah, let’s go!”
I was really excited and soon enough it was time for the dance. We got all dressed up, and then around 7:00 we went to the ballroom. There I was at 16, maybe 16 and a half. I have to laugh when I say 16 and a half. It seems silly now, but, of course, that half was very important back then. We were full of piss and vinegar, trying to act like real big men, as if we knew what that was.
Ronnie was supposed to take my madrina, my godmother, to the dance. She had taken me to my first communion, when I had the miracle of no longer peeing in the bed. She wanted to go with us to the dance. I didn’t want to take her. I told Ronnie, “You take her, OK? And by the way, when you take her, tell her we’re thinking about buying a car, and maybe she can help us out a little bit.” Ronnie is younger than me, but he’s a wheeler-dealer and a great dancer. This guy had girlfriends and more. We grew up fast. He agreed he would do that. I continued, “You ask her for some cash, OK? And maybe she wants some loving, I mean, what the hell? You just go ahead and take care of her.”
God almighty, what kind of man was I? Well, probably unscrupulous and daring. I guess I didn’t care. I wasn’t scared enough. Nothing had happened to me yet to scare me to that degree. Anyway, I thought it was fine. This is just life, and I’m just being a man. I’m hanging out there with what’s going on.
You must demand from life, you know? You act and you do what you need to do. That was the kind of a life I had been living since I was a little boy. Go out and get what you can get. If you don’t take it, you’re not going to get it. That was the philosophy from the barrio, the neighborhood.
We arrived all suited up, and I was also dressed up with my smile. I immediately sized things up and asked myself, What am I gonna do? I’m gonna look for the most beautiful woman in the ballroom and immediately go after her. I’m not gonna wait because all the wolves are out there.
I stood with my elbow on the bar, looking debonair, as if I were in a movie where I would say, “Here I am, girls. You’d better come and get me.” I looked and looked and just couldn’t see anything. There were overweight girls who were too young and also a lot of older women and men. Actually, it was quite a mixture of people, not just young guys and girls. I scrutinized the field. Just as I was becoming discouraged, I looked to the left and saw a gorgeous blonde. A blonde girl in a Mexican territory! She was sitting with a posture like an aristocrat. I said to myself, You know this is not a normal person. This is a queen! And there was a young girl next to her, in a humble dress. I figured she was a chaperone. I said to myself, The chaperone goes with my friend Güero, and I’ll go with the queen. I straightened up and started to walk like John Wayne. I didn’t really measure up, but I was giving it a try. As I approached the girl, I bent over a little and introduced myself. She gave me her name. I’ve forgotten it long ago. Let’s say it was Ingrid.
She smiled with a smile that was a universe opening up. Honest to God, I’m not exaggerating. I could barely contain myself. But I was able to ask, “Uh, OK, do you want to dance?”
She said, “Yes.”
My God, I said to myself, She wants to dance with ME. I said to myself, Chino, you lucky son of a bitch. Soon we were dancing. And when I say dancing, I don’t ever remember stopping. They had a live orchestra, which kept playing and playing. Time passed and time passed, and all of a sudden, it was the end of the dance. I said, “My God, the time really went fast.”
She said, “Yes, it did.”
I asked, “May I take you home?”
“Yes, yes, take me home.”
— Ozzie’s social calling card when he was 15, going on 16 —
By that time, I had already whispered in her ear all night, telling her all the romantic things I had practiced in my imagination. She just took it in and took it in. I was growing bigger and bigger inside my consciousness. Again, the expansion was like filling a universe. I was totally blown away. With all of the earlier puppy loves, I had never experienced anything like this. I had nothing to compare it with. Later, I did have some experiences I could have compared it with, but certainly not at that time.
She said, “Let’s go.”
I whispered briskly to Güero, “Güero, come over here.” As he came close, I said, “Take care of the chaperone, OK?” The chaperone joined us as we went outside. I was walking in front, bringing Ingrid the moon, the stars, the sky—our future. I was telling her all about what our future was going to be. We were so enthralled, so happy. We were just enjoying the night—not too hot, just nice and cool. We were walking on air. I said to myself, I just don’t want this to end. I don’t want to say good night. I wanted it to go on for lifetimes.
As we got closer to the house, she directed us, “Go here, go there, turn here, turn there.” We finally arrived at a corner with a big lamppost, all lit up. She said, “Here we are. I live right across the street.”
I looked across the street and thought to myself, No, no, it cannot be. I asked, “You mean there?”
She said, “Yes, right there.”
I was still mentally checking out this place as if to say, You cannot live there—you’re a queen! I said, “OK, now let’s make plans. I need to go to work tomorrow. But what time can we meet?”
“You tell me.”
I quickly did the figuring. I had to worry about whether I had money for the bus tomorrow, or whether I’d be walking all the way home and to her place. I didn’t want to take any chances. “OK, what about five o’clock?”
She said, “Sounds good, five o’clock tomorrow.”
I gave her a big hug. We didn’t kiss. She hugged me with a lot of love. She gave me a lot of beautiful energy. I was kind of falling asleep in her arms. And then we had to let go, so I said, “OK, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” As she turned around, the chaperone joined her. Then I saw her open the door, a really old door. There was no light inside—not even a candle. They went in and closed the door behind themselves.
I stayed there awhile, savoring the experience of her in my consciousness. I was still envisioning her when I turned to Güero. “Güero, did you see her?”
He said, “My God, Chino, what a beautiful woman, what a beautiful girl.”
I said, “I know. She’s mine. That girl is mine! That’s it. I’ve found my girl.”
Here we go again. Every time I was deeply moved by a girl, I was sure I had found the one. But at that time, I was certain she would be going home with me, and soon.
I went to work. All day I was singing, “Tra la la la la.” Man, I was so happy. And then as the evening approached, I felt I must leave early. I told the maid at my job, “I need to go home early because . . . my grandmother died . . .” or something like that. I used to lie in those situations. Fortunately, I did an excellent job at the hotel. I was in great demand there, and they liked me.
“Oh no,” she said with concern, “OK, just go home now.”
I went home and took a shower. By that time we had showers in the neighborhood. I changed clothes and then contacted my friend, telling him, “Güero, I’ll wait for you here at the house.” It was convenient that she lived fairly near my house. So we both walked to her house. I waited at the corner for 15 minutes. Then it was 20 minutes. She didn’t show up. Half an hour passed, and she still didn’t show up. I went across the street and knocked on the door. A little white-haired old lady, all bent over, answered the door. The inside of her house was so dark. I said, “Hello.”
— Brother Ronnie, probably 3 – 4 years after the story —
She asked, “Yes, may I help you?”
“Yeah, I came to look for Ingrid.”
“Ingrid, the blonde girl. She came in last night with another girl.”
“Nobody came here last night.”
I insisted, “Yes, I saw them.”
She countered, “No.”
“Do you mind if I come in?”
“No. Come in. Help yourself.”
I entered. It was so dark inside—I could hardly see anything. As my eyes adjusted, I started to see a small table, a place where they had some dishes, and a small stove. I persisted, “Are you sure?”
“I’m sure. I’m the only one living here. I’ve been here for years. No one is here.”
“Thank you very much.” I left. That was it. I never saw that beautiful girl, my queen, again.
Many years later, I had an appointment with a highly attuned spiritual counselor. He has spiritual gifts where he can see how the past and the probable future relate to the present. When I say past, that includes past lives. He’s incredible. He can see things few other people can. I was in my 50s when I was in that session. I started to tell the story, “This happened to me when I was close to 16 years old.”
“Yeah, I can see it. I know.”
I started to get into the details, “This girl—”
He interrupted because he was already tuned in, “OK, Ozzie, let me explain it to you. This girl was an angel. But she had to complete some things here on earth. And she chose you to work those few final things out with. Ozzie, you were a lucky guy.”
“Lucky guy! Sure, but I’ve suffered all my life since then. I didn’t know what to make of that girl.”
He said, “Well, you had other people coming into your life as your life partners. But she was an angel, Ozzie. She was no human. And yet she took a human body to complete her unfinished business here. She even chose a human body you would like, because she wanted you to be the one to give her those beautiful experiences that night.”
I sat back in amazement, “Wow, this is really something.”
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