Even if you didn't always agree with the message behind them, you were always fascinated with icons. Russian, especially, with their egg-tempera faces staring somberly outwards through the snow and dust of time. Never smiling, despite the warm glow of goldleaf halos lighting the sky. Not once. I've never seen a smiling icon.

Angels, too. You loved angels. All kinds. Especially the darker ones, with peacock feathers glittering iridescent Mardis Gras behind robes and raiment that Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat could not hope to match.

Before you left, you painted an icon for me. You were in it, and so was I. You were...dying, and hung limply against my chest. I was no angel - more like a demon, with the wings of a bat curled tenderly towards you. An extra pair of arms to hold you with.

You left. I grew up. My old artwork was thrown away; old books given to younger siblings, and old clothes found a place at Salvation Army.

Growing up doesn't mean that I forgot you, while you were at college and I stayed behind. And then I went to the university, only it wasn't the same as yours. The dorm was small, my room-mate immediately stamped me as "insane," and my signature rhinestone cat-collar that we both loved was stolen.

Your icon is hanging above my bed. Even after all the memories had faded to black and white photographs...even after the remnants of my childhood had been packed away in old newspaper and bubble wrap...my angel was there.

I kiss it every night, thinking about where you are.

I hope that you know that I'm still here, arms and wings oustretched, ready to catch you decide if you fall.