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RICCARDO stared at the sketch pad in front of him, his mind blank, seeming lost in a desert place. He sighed in exasperation and putting down his pencil, he wheeled over to an open window overlooking the garden. It was where he would sit on those days and nights when his spirits were low, looking at the night sky or sunrise, listening to the birds singing and feeling the cool breeze on his face.

Those scenes of life inspired him as an artist, for art had given him a new lease on life after the accident. Each day he lived with the hope for a miracle that would make him walk again.

His young life had been turned upside down when a speeding minibus had skidded off the wet road on the highway and crashed into his father’s SUV. A horrific accident that crushed his dreams of becoming a cricketer – a mesmerising spin bowler like the greats of the past. He couldn’t even go back to school but became homeschooled, so he hardly had any friends. Time has passed slowly and painfully for him after the doctors concluded he would never walk again, and gradually he turned his interests to art and chess. He won many trophies in junior chess tournaments but kept his art as a private collection.
Nothing seemed in spring today as he looked through the window and sighing deeply he wheeled his chair to the back veranda where he could see the playfield a short distance away.

(Photo courtesy of Amanda Richards)

Kite flying had already begun and boys were shouting, laughing and running with their kites as they took to the air.
Riccardo watched, an ache in his heart and he whispered as he had done so many times before,
“I wish I could walk again.”

He sat there watching the fun, as kites rose and fell, the string of a butterfly-designed kite bursting and flying over the tall palms, high in the cloudless sky. Riccardo watched the kite as it sailed away and a light shone in his eyes.
“Yes!” he exulted, an idea just born.

He wheeled his chair back to his desk and picking up his pencil, his fingers brought the blank paper to life.
That night after his mother had helped him into bed and they said the Lord’s prayers together, he asked her, “Are there angels on earth, Mom?”
She kissed him on the forehead and said, “Angels are everywhere we are, in our hearts and our minds.”
He smiled and closed his eyes to sleep.

His mother looked at home, an aching in her heart, but proud also and she whispered to the heavens,
“A brave child he is, and he believes so much in you, dear Lord.”
Riccardo worked on his sketch all day until it was perfect. Now all he needed was the construction, which his big brother was good at. Easter day drew closer and even though he knew he couldn’t run and play anymore, he could still make the day special with his uniquely designed kite. Papered in pure white with gold trimmings, he called it, ‘Wings of an Angel’.

On Easter morning he awoke with pure excitement in his heart and as he entered the park with his family, he felt something beautiful was going to happen. His kite attracted a lot of attention and after a few tries by his brother, the kite took to the sky. He sat in his wheelchair holding the string, thrilled at the strong pulling as it danced in the wind.

Riccardo did not take his eyes off of the kite, then suddenly something white flew across, then another and another. He gasped and looked around to see if anyone else had noticed but no one did. He looked back into the sky thinking maybe it was his imagination but it was real.
There were angels in the sky, flying with his kite!

Riccardo was overjoyed beyond words at such a wondrous vision, and they came down one after the other to the crippled boy and took his hand pulling him up to his feet.

“Go run and play,” they said, “God has answered your prayers.”
Riccardo laughed and ran across the park with his kite.
“Ricky, wake up,” a gentle voice was saying and he awoke with a start.
“I’ve got you some food to eat,” his mother was saying.
He looked up at the sky, the kite was there but no angels.
“It was just a dream,” he said, sighing in disappointment.
“What were you dreaming?” his mother asked.
He smiled and said, “Angels.”

She smiled a little, nothing needed to be said and as she handed him the box of food, the kite string slipped from his fingers. He jumped up and ran and caught it in one flowing motion.

All those around gasped in shock at the miracle that just happened in the blink of an eye.
“It wasn’t a dream!” Riccardo cried, “It’s real!”

His mother was crying and praising God, and his brother hugged him, tears in his eyes.
“Angels are indeed among us.”

Riccardo ran and played as more kites were raised on that blessed Easter day.

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