The splintered vision stared back at me in the slanted rain. Darkness crackled the too cruel sky as my true form shimmered in the broken glass. The rain should have been snow, but this was to be the bleakest Christmas I had ever known unless a miracle could be coaxed.
Ripples expanded from the lips of my shoes, skittering light in an exquisite dance.
I’d left the note by his bedside. He was sleeping and wouldn’t notice it until he awoke with nobody beside him, the imprint of my body cold and empty. This was only the second time my true self had been called to the fore.
In the morning I wouldn’t remember any more why I’d written the note tricking him to meet his father. These occasional windows of clarity were always wiped from my mind until the next time that my real nature was called upon, duty bound to serve those who needed to be nudged in the right direction. Tomorrow this would not register in my consciousness.
Tomorrow I would be human again.
I rolled my shoulders, ignoring the fleeting glimpse of my folded wings in the dancing puddles. “You were summoned from your slumber?” My eyes rose to the gaze of the man in the bus stop. He smiled, taking my hand and patting it. “It’s okay. You won’t remember once the time has passed. The boy needs to forgive the old man.”
The rain fell against the plastic of the shelter, trembling in tearstains of a thousand lives. I closed my eyes and breathed in like I knew I wouldn’t breathe air with that same reverence again for a very long time. This human life was haunting. Tragic.
“You’re here every time I wake.”
He smiled, avoiding the question in my words. He was the only one I ever saw, but why I couldn’t tell you. It wasn’t to relay orders for they came simply to my consciousness from above. That was how being an angel worked.
“Do you love him? The mortal?”
Sadness crept across my hollowed eyes. “Perhaps. Or perhaps I’m simply pushed to him because I’m supposed to watch over him. It’s our job, Nathaniel.”
“Yes,” he agreed slowly, not meeting my stare. “Do you remember your life before? Before the humanity?”
My lashes fluttered in one gradual move. Life before my human guise fell dark to me; it was like looking through a fogged and darkened mirror. There were shapes but no familiar figures.
“No… Did I know you then?”
He smiled and looked down at his feet, the puddles hugging his shoes and the low sweep of his black hem. The head shake was barely there, eaten up by the movement of his arm around my shoulders. He stroked back my hair with sadness in his expression. “Walk with me until you slip back into oblivion again? I could do with the company.”
I smiled and he slipped his arm around my waist as if he had done so a hundred times before. We stepped off into the rain, waiting for the forgetfulness to overtake me again.
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