Always There

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My mom died when I was just seven, but I always felt like she was closer to me than any living person. I'm 14 now, and this happened to me not long ago, while my dad was in a meeting and my sister was at work.

I was IMing a friend when a message popped up. The signature was, "I'm always there 4 u."

"Don't take the bus to school tomorrow," it said.

I didn't have any friends with that signature. I squinted at it, then typed back, frowning, "Ok but who are you?"

After twenty minutes, there was no reply, so I gave up and closed the chat windows.

The next morning, I overslept. When I woke up, I was in a frantic hurry to get to my bus step, but I was halfway down the sidewalk towards the place where the bus picked me up when I remembered what "I'm always there 4 u" had said.

I hesitated, feeling the tug of lateness pull me towards the bus stop, but remembering those words so vividly. Finally, I dashed back to the house and asked my dad to drive me to school.

I jumped out of the car at the school to find everyone solemn-faced. My bus had crashed, it seemed; no one had been killed, but the back had been severely crushed and luckily there was an empty seat where most of the damage occurred.

It was my usual seat, I realized. If I'd been on the bus that morning, I would have died.

With a strange sort of weightlessness buoying me up, I went home that day and opened the chat logs. There was no sign of the strange message from the day before. I logged on to the IM site and searched for "I'm always there 4 u."

I already knew before the window loaded what it was going to say.

"No results for 'I'm always there 4 u'," it read.

Whether it was my mom or my guardian angel -- or if my mom is my guardian angel -- I'll never know, but I'll never forget what happened that day.

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