She’d been an easy baby, sleeping through the night since birth, and an even easier child, generous, benevolent, sweet – even. But the teens! The Teens. She kicked, bit, fought, and battled her way through and there was no way I could just stand on the side-lines.
I sometimes got those looks parents despair of. The side-eyes, the wry smiles, frowns of judgment that sort of thing, but none of that bothered me. I’d had those all my life. And my teens hadn’t been a walk in the park either.
They hadn’t liked the nails in my ears, yep, I do mean nails, real ones, curved into a loop, or my Docs, or the leather. But I did and that’s what mattered.
I was a bit of a conundrum.
Ravel’s Bolero echoed through my headphones, and its crescendo would catch me closing my eyes to conduct an invisible orchestra as I sunk into oblivion of ecstasy. I helped old ladies and walked the neighbour’s dog, and no one in the suburbs knew quite how to take me.
I fell for the boy next door and giggled in his arms as he snapped a selfie and promptly uploaded it. The comments, none of them hidden, crushed me; and the photo – proof that I’d briefly been his – left me glaringly vulnerable despite my studs and tattoos. I fell and he was never going to catch me.
It was anger and retribution that issued forth my vengeance. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, but if you mix anger and humiliation, and candles and chalk shapes, and incantations you summon up something, or someone, quite explosive.
I don’t think I actually meant it either, invoking blood and guts and gore wasn’t really my thing. The flames of hell enveloped him and that photo of us became the least of his concerns. There were more photos, but they were of incineration and loss. His house had a wiring fault, but there might have been more to it.
I, however, gave and lost myself within the strong demonic arms I’d conjured of fire and hell and passion…
Then one day with eyes tightly closed whilst adrift with Jupiter resounding inside my head, my hands holding earphones tight, I collided.
They welcomed me into the hereafter with open arms – dying amid the swelling bars of Holst was an honourable way to go – and it was only there that my condition became apparent.
You thought there were no babies in heaven? Wrong – where else would the idea of cherubs come from?
Like I said, she’d been an easy baby, a cute toddler, and an adorable child. But when her downy white juvenile feathers dropped, no one had been prepared for what sprouted in their place. At first the little nubs, barely visible on her forehead, looked endearing – and maybe they’d hold her crooked halo a little more securely.
Her wings though, gave it away; black as the night and as dark as her soul. No feathers but sleek leather like a dragon or a bat. Puberty can be a tough time for angels.