The day I met him he told me he was one thousand and sixty two years old. Of course I didn’t believe him, just like you won’t believe me. How could I believe him? He couldn’t be old, he had the face of an angel. If there were such things as angels then he would have been one. Clearly. But I didn’t believe in angels so I guessed that he couldn’t have been more than twenty five; though isn’t it funny how very difficult it is to estimate the age of some people? Though most wouldn’t say that about me now…
Sadly the day I met him was the only day I ever met him.
“Are you an angel?” I said to him as we shared a vanilla milkshake with two straws. Vanilla is always the best flavour.
“We’re all angels aren’t we?” he said.
His eyes glinted in reflected sunlight as he said it. I could almost have believed that he actually had a halo there and then. A real halo floating above his head. Although if I’m honest that thought has only occurred to me now as I write this.
I suppose some might say it was youthful lust, or at least a deep-seated attraction. It’s funny how girls use supernatural phrases to describe the men they are attracted to. Things like ’Greek god’ and ’Adonis’. Dylan…was that his name? Do you know I really have no idea what his name was? Anyway, ’Dylan’ was an angel. Definitely an angel.
Romantic writers often talk of ’electricity’ between those who are attracted to one another and I can honestly say that was only time in my life that I ever felt anything like it. I don’t suppose I will ever feel it again. You could almost see the sparks leaping between our fingers even though we were yet to touch. Touching. It was like all I wanted to do was touch him. My skin screaming out to touch him; this stranger I had only just met, and I wanted to touch him so badly and it didn’t seem weird at all. I wanted him naked. Truly.
I suppose you could say I was under his ’spell’; another cliche of the romance novelist.
“What do you mean we are all angels?” I said.
I can remember every word and the tone of his voice. I’ve replayed the conversation in my head over and over ever since.
“Well, we all have angelic capacities don’t you think?” he said, “the ability to be kind and compassionate, loving and thoughtful. The ability to help others without a single thought for ourselves?”
“Yes, I suppose, but most of us are more selfish than that…”
I tried to move my fingers closer to his hand. He didn’t flinch, just looked me in the eye, like he was goading me. No, not goading, more like it was a gentle test. Who would touch who first?
“I can see those abilities in you…” he said,
“Really?” I said. Was he just flattering me?
“Yes, I think you have a wonderful aura about you,”
“Well…I don’t know about that…” I said, suddenly bashful. I moved my fingers slightly nearer his. Did he notice?
I looked at his lips. Perfect lips. God, what would it be like to kiss him?
“Do you know where angels come from?” he said,
“No,” I said, “does God make them?”
“Some would say God has a hand in everything. But no, he doesn’t make them. They are chosen,”
“What do you mean?” I said. It was then I should have been thinking straight, but I wasn’t. All I wanted was to touch him.
“Would you like to be chosen Elouise?”
That was when I missed it. The clue. He knew my name, but at that point I hadn’t told him what it was. How did he know my name?
I just said “ooh, what are you suggesting? We just met after all,”
A ridiculous bit of obvious flirting. Shameful really when I look back on it now. I suppose I even fluttered my eyelids.
“You see,” he said, “angels are chosen. But they choose themselves. They just have to hold the hand of another angel at the right time, and they too can have wings and fly. A thousand years of beauty and wonder will be theirs,”
“Oh my, how romantic…” I said. It’s so corny I know.
“Do you want to choose Elouise? Choose to be an angel?”
“With an offer like that who could refuse?” I said,
“All you need to do is take my hand…” he said,
I suppose you have guessed the next bit. Of course I moved my hand the inch or so across the table and took his soft fingers in mine. Nothing happened in that moment, no bells or choirs, no flash of realisation or lightning bolts. But that was when it happened.
“Now,” he said, “now you can fly,” and with that he simply stood and walked away. I studied him as he left and felt puzzled. Now he just looked like an ordinary man; as if he really had a halo and now it was gone. Dissipated into the ether, like he disappeared into the afternoon crowds.
That was nineteen sixty one; fifty two years ago when I was seventeen. Except that I’m still seventeen, well at least that’s how I look. The curse of youth. It can be hard to help people when they think you are so young. They don’t believe you can be so kind and compassionate, loving and wise when you look so very young. Of course I show them a hint of halo or maybe waft their sweet faces with my wings and then they allow me to help them.
And of course there is the flying. That, my friends, is truly miraculous.
Why did I chose it? This curse? I don’t know. But I do wonder about who it might be that will choose to hold my hand in a thousand years…
© 2014 Simon Poore