Saint Christopher - Tess Gregory '18

In the modern day, religion is either widely accepted or looked down upon by the citizens of the world. Growing up in a religious family has not always been easy for me because I never got to pick whether or not I wanted to be part of it. Over the years there have always been the ups and downs where I questioned my religion and during those times my nana was always there to help me get to where I needed to be. However, when she gave me a little St. Christopher charm to clip onto the visor in my car I gave her a look that a teenager would give their parents after being told that they were disciplined fairly. In my eyes this small metal object was just a trinket that store clerks conned innocent old people into buying because of the “protection” it supposedly inflicted on the human being. However, my nana truly believed that it would protect me behind the wheel so I went with it because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. After she flew home  to Pennsylvania the charm became a weight I constantly carried with me physically and mentally. Every time I got in my car I would see it staring down at me and I would laugh to myself. A metal trinket could not protect someone. It was just there. The only meaning I got from it was the memory of my nana. The end.

It was the type of day everyone hates. Bitterly cold with sharp winds and fast rain that seemed to never cease. As I prepared to leave the house to pick up Jules from school it never occurred to me how the weather could affect my driving. Like any other day I drove the route to Saint Dom’s where Jules was at school. The same roads I always drive. As I pulled up to the school, and waited for Jules to walk to the car, I looked up at the foolish charm and smiled softly. As the door opened I heard the all too familiar crash of lunchboxes and backpacks as it was Jules’ daily ritual to throw her belongings into the backseat. When her sweet face turned my way my heart softened as it did each time she looked at me. We went to our usual spot to eat our early dinner, Panera Bread, where we got our usual meals and did homework while we ate. We left Panera earlier than normal that day because we had to run errands before dance and hockey. I will forever regret that decision.

It was 4:02PM. Center Street, Auburn, Maine. The charm was the last thing I saw before it happened. Car horns. Smoke. Tears. As I opened my eyes I felt a stinging sensation on my face while choking on smoke simultaneously. My first instinct was to put the car in park and turn it off. Next, was Jules, my sweet girl. “Tessie, I want to get out. I don’t like the smoke. I’m getting out.” When I heard her say this I went into instant panic mode. I knew she could not get out of the car because we were in the middle of an intersection during a thunderstorm. She would get hit.

“Jules everything will be okay but you can’t get out right now, just wait.” I remember asking her over and over again, “Are you hurt?”

I remember her response every time, “Tessie, I’m fine.” Then the police came.

“Where are your parents? Have you been able to reach them?”As I answered the questions I kept looking at that stupid charm above my head. Then, I started to believe.

We had to have the car towed, so Jules and I rode in a squad car to the hockey rink where mom met us twenty minutes later. Just before we left the car I grabbed the charm off of the visor and tucked it into my pocket.

The Saint Christopher charm was real. It was not just an object, a useless trinket sold as a con. Jules and I walked away from the accident with nothing but a scratch on my hand. For what I initially thought was a materialistic object, the charm became something more to me. I no longer carried it around because it reminded me of my nana. Instead, I carried it with me because I now believed that it could truly protect me, like a guardian angel. Ever since that cold day in November I have carried St. Christopher with me both literally and figuratively. I now keep the charm in my school bag so that it is with me everyday. The once foolish charm has become my guardian angel because of that day and it will continue to mean something to me until I pass it along to someone who needs something to believe in.