Angel On Your Shoulder

Angel On Your Shoulder

Want me to read it to you? Click play below.


Here, come here. Take my hand. Walk with me awhile. I have much to share.

See, over there. Under a wide blue sky, a small child making a daisy chain. Look close into her. Read her thoughts. See how she’s thinking of the woman with the long dark hair and the radiant smile, the one with skin soft to touch who picked her up and put her down and hovered and came running when she cried. See how she remembers her flowery scent and the fall of her hair, and of her caressing and soft tickles and the way her hands moved, zigzagging the light.

See how the child sees her mother even though the mother is no more. See the trail of tears from child to mother. Child to mother.

The child threads another daisy through a loop. The father sits off to the side, legs splayed in the grass, head angled to catch the sun. The child thinks of her mother, still. Over her heart a tiny crack.

See. There. A speck of light, over the shoulder of the child. The light widens and expands, and materialises into an angel: rainbow-coloured, rainbow-winged.

Over the shoulder of the child the angel stands, handing her the daisy chains, placing the images of her mother in her mind, a bridge connecting them. Her mother, standing behind the angel, watches down over her child, waving, long dark hair waving and curling in the breeze. Her child, not an orphan. Simply being mothered in spirit.

You walk on.

On a park bench, frail and slouched, an elderly man reading the newspaper. You come in close and see he can’t read. The words are a blur, inky wet smudgings, his eyes spilling what he never could shed. His soul a hole, his lungs wide as the black sea and five years of suffering at his wife’s side before he buried her. He nursed, he fed, he changed bedpans and sheets, unthinkable thoughts, unthinkable pain, her mind rambled, her gibberings, her pleas. He rose every morning, sleep coming to him less and less. Frayed at the edges. Each day he touched her cheek, her hair, her face, and her felt how she was crumbling underneath his fingers like dust. When the time came he couldn’t throw dirt on the coffin. Turned away when the priest said, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

See. Look. His heart races. Breath catches in his throat. His face flushes, lips the colour of ivory—the raven caws and the angel on his shoulder calls upon Death, and they wait for the heart to stop beating and the breath to slacken and for the man to be reunited with his wife. Two angels by the shoulder of this man. His time so soon.

You walk on.

And there, look. She thumps him on his chest and his Iphone is flung to the cement, the screen cracks. He bows and tentatively picks it up to inspect the hurt, but she’s already up in his face and shouting, all big hair, big lips, big breasts. He did it again, didn’t he. Doesn’t know how to do anything right, does he. What an idiot! What a loser! She’s leaving, of course. Can’t stand him, he’s useless. She kicks the phone and storms off, and he’s seeing her walk away, and it’s also his other girlfriends, too, as well as his dad and his brother—all those turned heads and backs of people who have walked away from him. A life of downcast eyes and people leaving and never coming back.

The angel standing on his shoulder lets a single tear drop. It’s silver bright, and falls into the eye of the boy. The angel hopes it will grant him clarity of clear sight. For now, though, the boy will have to contend with an abandoned heart.

You walk on.

See, over there. A woman sitting on the grass holding her belly, swollen with another’s life. Her face is shiny and clear—she has that fresh-baked smell of pregnancy. You come in close. You read her thoughts. She’s thinking of her first love, the first time they made love. At the seashore on a balmy summer’s night with the boy she thought would be her boyfriend, then her man. She didn’t bleed for three months, and then she bled for three weeks. Lost a child to him. Lost him to youth and its reckless propulsions. The baby kicks, and she sees only brown eyes and olive skin, and the touch of her first love and his smell, that of aftershave and cigarettes and something sweet like oranges. The baby kicks, and she remembers his voice, its alto and musk, and him holding her in his strong arms and saying he will save enough money to escape and take her away, and her believing everything about it, even that he loved her forever. If only she could take herself back and place herself in his arms and be his baby. This baby in her womb be his baby.

The baby kicks. The woman weeps, on the inside. This baby will have light eyes and light skin. Like her, like her husband. Not like her first love.

The angel has his hand on the woman’s stomach, helping both mother and child. What the woman doesn’t yet know is that at her child’s first cry of life, she will forget her first love because her first love will be erased. Her baby will become her first love.

See, look. Every which way you look. There’s angels.

with love,

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