When Angel trusted you, he'd tell you a story. Trust is a very strong and almost sacred word for Angel. If you can get to the point of Angel trusting you, you feel like you've been evaluated by the CIA, had your entire life story personally read by the NSA, and you've had Israel's Mossad tail you since you were twelve-years-old.
Angel would tell a story, and he spoke in metaphors, so you'd never know what was real, and what merely had a metaphorical purpose. But Angel would tell you, if you were privileged to hear this story, that "This, This story is the only one that is completely true about my life. The rest of my stories are small embellishments on mostly realities."
When Angel was a kid, he'd tell you that he was severely ill. He'd say he had an 85% chance of dying. And when you knew Angel, you'd know Angel was an optimist, very pragmatic really. When he pushed something into the pessimistic, you'd know he'd be doing so for a reason. This was definitely intentional.
Angel explained how he went into a hospital. He knew God would help him make it out of the hospital alive, if he wanted. He said that there was a slipup, some medication, that something went wrong.
Angel nearly died.
In that moment, on his way out of our world, he endured pain. He'd tell you, and on his face, you'd know this was the most tragic, that this was the most real event in his life. He said it was like being doused with gasoline, falling a billion miles for 10,000 years, every split second smashing upon the ground. During the impact, his body, he'd say, it felt like his body was burning both inside and out, but he was still fully conscious of the impact, with no end in sight. He'd say maybe this was close to the collective pain of those at Hiroshima, when the bomb dropped.
Angel said after those 10,000 years, the pain faded to absolutely nothing. And Angel had a moment.
In that moment, he met God. Angel's face never gave any indication that this was a delusion, or a hallucination, but he'd nod, and look directly at you, like Angel did, and say, "Hey, I know you think this is complete bullsh*t." But Angel was a proper guy, he'd never say "bullsh*t." Once you knew Angel, you'd know exactly when he meant it. But I digress. So let me resume.
Angel would tell you, "when I met God, the first thing God said was,"—and Angel knew his theology. So he'd word the story so that if you were a religious person or agnostic you'd listen, and if you were an atheist, he'd try not to judge you, but he'd say, "You know what, this is a stupid story."
So if Angel saw in your eyes that you believed the impossible was possible, or at the least could conceive that the impossible was possible, he'd continue with his story. Otherwise Angel would note, as he always did, that you were not prepared for the truth of his life.
Angel always liked challenges. If you said with conviction, "there is no God, and you will never convince me otherwise," he'd know at that point, once you indicate you have full faith it's impossible, you've admitted your weakness. Angel was good at subversive psychology, but that's not what his story was about.
To the believer, Angel would continue, "When I met God, the first thing He said was,
While you were falling, I know you felt like you were on a descent to Hell. You looked back over the faults of your abbreviated life. You were just a child but you were a Believer. On that descent, you stuck with your Faith, and you endured what We have as the most imaginable pain.
Angel would stop, and he'd say to clarify and validate your understanding of the severity, "God specifically said imaginable, meaning that He could submit you to much more severe pain, incomprehensible pain." But he'd quickly continue on to the words God spoke to him.
So, he'd say, and God continued,
"You believed in Me. You knew you screwed up, like everyone does, but when you were Called To Serve, you tried and you failed, but you did try. On your perceived descent, you accepted your truths, you took the pain, but you knew this was not how your story ended.
"You knew your faith in Me would save you, and you stuck, you refused to give in. There was never any doubt of your conviction. You should know that in the history of humanity, very few people could have endured what you just endured, so I will give you an option."
Angel would try not to cry at this point, not at the part of God acknowledging he tried his best at the life he had, but at what would follow in God's speech.
When you got sick, you were so angry, but you still said Take Me, The World Doesn't Need Me Like It Needs Everyone Else. And you knew better than to ask Me to take you. So I took you now."
Angel would ponder for a moment. And he'd finish his recollection of God's words,
"But you were wrong, as every mortal is. There was someone who would need you someday. You asked me to take you, and I did. But you kept the selfless heart with which you had been created. One girl will cry with severe pain just as traumatically intense as your descent because you weren't there to support her to finish her calling. She will still succeed without you, but not without massive sacrifice."
Angel would sit there for a pause telling you this story, sometimes the pause was a minute. I heard him tell the story a few times. God's words were not immune to variation, so you'd start to know he was slipping to his paraphrased metaphors. But the last, the very last thing God said, was beyond any doubt, Angel's full conviction.
"You are welcome here, without suffering, or I can send you back. You will endure Hell, but nothing like your descent. I will let you meet the other selfless soul you were so convinced would never need you. You will answer one prayer, but her success will answer millions of others.
"Angel, you will not meet her until she succeeds. But your belief in Me, and in her, and your unwavering belief in my grant of your ability to protect her, this will ensure her success, beyond any doubt in Heaven or Hell."
"Your whole life has been fate until this moment you may return your choice to me. This is your first free will option. I know your answer, but not because I selected it for you."
Angel would end the story, fully factual, with no metaphor, "After that experience, after the medication slip-up, I woke up in a sterile hospital room, on discharge day. I had survived apparently, but I had no idea of what."
"Over the next six months, I learned from my family who I was. All I remember was how insignificant 16 years of life could be compared to 10,000 years of descent. Eventually I was able to accept my family's story. They were never able to accept mine."
So he took on the name, half from God, and half from reality. If you'd call him Angel, he'd tell you,
"Sure, but if I'm an Angel, I'm Unassigned."
And he'd tell you another story. But never just one.
(Rough draft... also, advertisements may result in affiliate commissions paid to help fund this alternate reality game.)