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I like to think that if I had been human, we might have been friends.

But Iím not human, and never was. And he never even knew I existed. So the whole theory that we might have been friends is a moot point.

Moot. What an interesting word. Moot, moot, moot . . .

Donovan struck a chord half-heartedly on the piano, then stopped and let his hands rest atop the keys, sounding a few discordant notes. He sighed heavily and brushed the sheets of paper aside, watching them flutter slowly to the carpet. Ever since his best friendís death Donovan had simply been unable to write anything, not even a measure of a song. Sheíd been the only person he cared about after his parents died. An only child, their sudden demise eighteen months ago had been especially hard on him, as he had no one to share his grief with. He had moved back to the old house afterwards, and found his old friend still living nearby. They had struck up their old friendship and Donovan had even felt something more than that towards her. Then she revealed that she had end stage lung cancer and he had been crushed all over again. The white sheets of paper became in his mind the rose petals he had let fall into her grave only that afternoon.

Fighting back the tears that threatened to rise again, he stooped to pick the papers up and stacked them neatly beside the piano. He walked slowly through the house, turning off lights, and went outside to the pool. Mechanically he stripped down and slipped into the warm water. The moonlight glimmered on the surface, broken only by his arms as he went through the routine motions of swimming. Donovan turned over onto his back and floated. Finally he gave in and cried, his tears mingling with the water in the pool.

I sat on the edge of the pool, my feet barely beneath the surface of the water, and watched him float. If I hadnít known what was in his mind, it would have been a peaceful scene, this young man drifting across the dark waters. But he was in despair and I, naturally, felt his emotions as if I experienced them myself.

I suppose here would be a good time to introduce myself. My name is Tuyen, and I am Donovanís guardian angel. I have watched him throughout his life since he was born, always present but never seen. When he took his first step, I wanted to reach out and make sure he didnít fall. On his first day of high school, I cringed as the seniors pushed him aside and kept on walking. I was there when he firstónever mind. When he was rejected from his first choiceóand his second choiceócolleges, I sat with him as his friends held graduation parties celebrating their acceptances. (The jerks.) I went with him to his job every night as a bartender in college and learned how to mix several hundred drinks. And I stood by his side at his parentsí funeral.

I have been with him all his life, and he has never seen me for even one second of it.

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