I never believed in angels until one day...when a little old lady came into my shop.
This was years ago. I operated a small antique store during the 90's called Desert Rose Antiques.
In Vancouver, an antique store is basically a second hand store. Real antiques are hard to find. British Columbia is too young a province to have its own antiques. Any real antique was brought here from somewhere else.
Business was slow. Money was running out.
I was sitting at the counter. No one had come into the shop that day. It was one day of many. I had doubts whether I made the right choice. Opening a shop, quitting my day job.
The door was open. Front and back. The breeze felt cool. All was calm. I looked around. The sun coming through the front window and lit the floor in front of the counter. Almost like a spot light!
I'm sitting there, twiddling my thumbs. It's about three o'clock in the afternoon. The afternoon rush hour traffic was building.
I was short about three hundred dollars.
I worried the rent was past due, worried the telephone was going to be cut off, and the lights. More terrifying, I worried I was going to fail.
I sat there. There was nothing I could do. I would have to close. I would have to admit I failed.
I'm sitting there. Feeling sorry for myself. Praying for a miracle. Literally, palms together, type of praying. (I was by myself)
As I sat there, someone came into the shop. It was a little old lady. She stood under the spot light (the sun rays) shining through the window. As if a huge halo was surrounding her. She had the most pleasant of faces and smiled at me. In both arms stretched out in front of her, holding a flat brown papered parcel, she laid it on the counter and said in a sweet old lady voice, "This is for you, dear."
I unfolded the brown paper and there was a painting. An oil on canvas. Just the canvas. Taken from it's frame. A painting of a beautiful young woman. I could tell it was well done, and I know nothing about art.
I looked up to thank her.
She was going out the door. As she cornered the door, I could see the line of her hose going down the back of her calf. She was wearing a black dress and had a big black purse hanging from her arm.
I ran around the counter out the front looking up and down the street. She wasn't there. It was impossible for her to have gotten out of sight, so quickly!
I went back to the painting. I'm standing at the counter opening the brown paper to have another look, when a man and woman, they must have followed me in. I refolded the brown paper and watched as they looked at everything in the shop, as if looking for something specific.
Stopping at the counter the man asked me. "Do you have any paintings?" His hand almost resting on top of it.
The hairs on my neck stood on end.
I said, "Why yes, someone just brought this in. I opened the parcel and showed them the painting.
With a quick look, the man offered me $100. I said, $500. He said, $300. I said, SOLD!
They paid cash and left. My dilemma was temporarily solved. I was happy!
Ever since, the more I tell this story, the more I regret selling it. I have a feeling it was worth a lot more than that. A lot more. In the thousands. I have a feeling it was a done by a well known local artist. I never had the time to get the name of the painter. Never saw the woman again. Nor the people that bought it. The whole event happened so fast. All I could think was I was saved for another month.
Sometimes I think that woman was my guardian angel. Like I said, I never believed in angels until that day. Three hundred dollars cash, in my pocket. I lasted a total of nine years running that shop. I have other experiences I'll talk about sometime.
I still can't help feeling cheated, somehow. I guess I'm not just a grumpy old man I'm an ungracious grumpy old man.