Have You Seen An Angel? | Pushing the Wave

Have You Seen An Angel?

Story, 21 December 2022
by L.A. Davenport

From the collection Dear Lucifer and Other Stories

Dancer by LA Davenport
Dancer by L.A. Davenport, 2008, from The Marching Band Emporium.
– Do you notice anything different about me?

– No.

He stared back at me, searching my face. Perhaps there is, I thought, but I didn’t want to say so.

– I saw an angel, he said quietly. It was when I was in the park the other day. At least that’s what I think I saw. Whatever it was, it glowed with a bright, golden light as it came down from the sky. When it got closer, I could see its wings beating, in time to a heavenly melody. The music filled the air and silenced the noises of the city.

He glanced down at the Formica-topped table, and picked at a small nick in the brown and white surface.

– You don’t believe me, do you?

He started straight up at me, his eyes steady, but his voice trembling. There was a lifetime in his stare. A cascade of hope and ambitions, illusions and failures.

I didn't know what to say.

– Sometimes, you know, even I’m not sure of what I saw. I suppose it could have been a hallucination, or maybe a ghost. Maybe I’ll never know. But it seemed so real, you know? When it happened, everything disappeared. I couldn’t hear the children and dogs playing, and the traffic passing on the road. I was completely absorbed by the flowing, golden light.

Eventually, he stopped talking. He finished off his cold coffee in one swift gulp and asked me whether I wanted another. I shook my head.

We have known each other forever, but now I don’t know what to say to a man I no longer recognise; a man who is struggling with something neither of us can understand.

I would like to leave this dead-end cafe, to sneak out of the back while he pays at the till. But I know I could never escape his having told me, even if I managed to get away from him.

At the till his hand shakes as he counts out a few coins. He is a broken shadow of himself, a shattered soul. But who can judge a man who believes in something? Haven’t we all wished that we could have seen an angel through the nagging darkness that surrounds us?

He returns to the table with a nervous smile, sliding into the anonymous seat with palpable relief, away from the stares of people who do not know his turmoil. There is hope, doubt, pain and delight in his eyes. He searches mine for a strand of understanding and shared insight. I smile back at him, trying to be convinced.
© L.A. Davenport 2017-2024.

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Have You Seen An Angel? | Pushing the Wave