I saw an angel today, perfection in lily white, crying into a tatty tissue, perched on the grey church steps. I would usually mind my own business, I’m not an interfering type, but I’d never seen an angel before so I joined her. Because she was an angel and, I only a mere mortal, I quite lost my tongue, my throat dried and words crumbled in my brain, rendering me silent.
She peered up at me and smiled, and my legs didn’t belong to me any more. I unashamedly gasped at her ethereal beauty, the large hazel eyes, the small button nose, and the soft pink lips that probably tasted of strawberries, honey or wine, something intoxicating, sweet and delicious. I felt the most overwhelming sorrow in my heart and yearned to wipe away the dainty, crystal teardrops.
‘Angels shouldn’t cry.’ I heard myself utter. She laughed at that, rolled her gorgeous eyes, but the laughter caught on a morose thought and she wept a little more. I handed her my starched white handkerchief, without a word, and she took it, nodding in gratitude.
She said, ‘I should go back in there.’ looking back at the church.
‘Should you?’ I asked.
‘Yes. I’ve left a distraught fiancé and have upset all my family and friends.’
‘But do you want to?’ I asked, trying to be the solid, calm voice of reason, quashing the urge to take her in my arms and speed up my fast-track to Heaven.
She said, ‘I don’t know.’ with a tremor in her voice, my handkerchief catching fresh sprinkles of tears, some landing on the satin bodice of her dress.
‘You could come with me and leave all this?’ I offered out my hand, pleading with her with my eyes.
She shook her head mournfully, her long auburn hair tickled my hand, and she placed the handkerchief inside it.
‘Goodbye and thank you.’ She kissed me lightly on my forehead. I watched her walk towards the church doors, smoothing down the fabric of her crumpled gown.
‘I’ll always remember the day I met an angel.’ I shouted after her. My words were wasted; they bounced back off the closing doors. I slipped the handkerchief, blessed with angelic teardrops, into my pocket and sloped back home. I didn’t wait to watch the parade of relieved and happy faces, confetti, bouquets and other such wedding paraphernalia. I broke down at the mental image, mixing my own melancholy with hers on to the white cotton, so I replaced it with the memory of her smile, her lips, to savour, to cherish, the day I saw an angel.