Daniel Ross was an Angel
He had said he was an angel. That’s why my friends stayed behind and died that day. Daniel Ross told us all that God had spoken to him and his message was directly from God, for us. We had no reason not to believe him. He was our advisor, our friend. Daniel looked like an angel. He had neat, parted blonde hair and his sparkling blue eyes and athletic physique made him the single most sought after bachelor at church. He was friendly with everyone and all the young men and women alike loved him. I so wanted to be like him when I was older which wasn’t much of a stretch, I already had blonde hair and blue eyes and Mark said all the girls at church and school liked me. Mark also said that I could ask any of them to go out with me and they would say yes, but that was far from my mind at 11-years-old.
We’d been in the parking lot after a Saturday morning activity of learning how to tie knots and build bivouacs in time for camp in two weeks time. It was a clear day and the sky was just a bit bluer and not a single cloud could be seen. I remember the plane flying far above us all. Everything was quiet for a moment and the silence had seemed odd to me at the time. It had been this moment of pure clarity, but I didn’t know why. Then Cory and Richard had broken the silence joking about Mark’s inability to tie a square bow. He always started off right, but ended up with granny knots. Mark had said that Richard was a granny and we’d all laughed. I told Mark that I could help him practice later. Daniel came out of the front doors and heard me. He walked over to us and put his arm around me and said that he could help Mark and I practice. All we had to do was ask. I smiled at him. He wore cologne that was kind of fresh and citrusy. I remember taking a deep whiff of it and catching a faint spicy element to the scent. I believed that you had to be a man to wear the scent. I could steal my dad’s old spice but Mark had mocked me saying that only people over 50 wore it. I wanted to be like the young men in the cologne commercials. Always busy having adventures. Boating, playing Frisbee on a beach or swimming, diving in and out of the surf with their equally as athletic girlfriends. Daniel was that age. He wore the cologne, he was doing and being, and I wanted that. Daniel smiled that smile that made all the girls giggle and then asked us if we could come and see him in the chapel. He had something he wanted to tell us, something extremely important. God had told him something concerning us. Richard, Cory and Mark had been excited. If I’m honest I had been too, but I had more pressing matters with Dad.
I told everyone that I had to go or Dad would have me doing another weeks worth of chores and I wouldn’t have any free time. Dad had threatened to keep me home from camp several times. Daniel asked me to stay. He offered to talk to Dad for me. A message from God was not to be missed. Nothing had sounded wrong with this concept. God spoke to the prophets. I didn’t question why they wouldn’t talk to our youth leader? Mark asked me if I minded him staying. He really wanted to hear what Daniel had to say. If God had a message for us then he wanted to hear. This was the moment that I almost stayed. Dad was going to make me miss out on another important event. I remembered the last full week of chores I had done because I’d been late home from school and no matter what the message from God was (had Daniel actually been a messenger from God), Dad would not be defied without considerable consequence.
I didn’t think anything of the lingering handshake Daniel gave me. I missed the desperately hungry look in Daniel’s eyes. Now I think back to that moment, I should have rallied my friends for a bike ride or an adventure at the quarry. I should have done everything I could to get them away from Daniel. Instead I endured the brief mocking from Mark and the other young men. Mark told me to go home because if I missed camp for being late then that was partly my fault.
I can still see Mark’s smile as I waved goodbye. I remember his scruffy brown hair that his Mom had cut using a bowl and then I waved to Daniel who was guiding Richard and Cory through the churches front doors as he held them open. “See ya tomorrow Mark, bye Daniel,” and then I got on my bike and pedaled for home. Looking back over my shoulder, I saw Daniel watching me go. He had a dark look on his face as he led Mark into the building. I remember looking back one more time to see the doors closing.
That afternoon Dad rewarded me with a trip to Provo. It was a real treat. We had burgers at Wendy’s and Dad had bought extra fries. We then went to visit a friend of dads. Later that evening we arrived home to the phone ringing. Dad answered it. Mark’s Mom hadn’t seen Mark for a while and wanted to know where he was. I told Dad where I had last seen him and then went upstairs to my bedroom. There I found the note on my pillow. It was from Daniel. He had been in my bedroom. The note had read, “All I wanted was you.” Yes, Daniel Ross was an angel. Just as Lucifer was an angel before being cast out of the heavens.