© 2002 by Kate Halleron

Broken Wings

Yeah, yeah, I used to be an angel. Want to make something of it? It’s not all wings and harps and floating on a cloud, let me tell you. There was this kid, cutest thing. Used to just sit and watch her sleep, she was so sweet. See this scar? Got it pushing her out of the way of an SUV when she was seven. Didn’t regret it at the time – what? You didn’t know angels could get scars? Shows what you know. Anyway, I watched over that kid like she was my own – better. Then she fell in love with some dork, got married right out of high school, had half-a-dozen kids, her husband left her for someone younger and richer. She sat around all day watching soaps and crying. I don’t know why I ever bothered.

Life’s such a waste of time for most people, you know? It always was – modern times are no different, you just got shinier toys is all. Most people just work or sleep or whatever, never realizing what’s over the next hill, mostly not caring.

So why ain’t I an angel anymore? Why should I tell you, what good would it do you? But then, why not? One time waster’s as good as another, I say.

As you’ve probably guessed, I was a guardian angel. There’s all kinds of angels, but we guardians are the dustiest. All this running around with you humans tends to rub off after awhile. Most of us cross over at some point, usually for love. Not me, buddy. I’ve seen too many of you through too many broken hearts to fall for that old line.

Well, that kid, you know? I’ve had thousands of clients, and none of them ever got to me the way she did. Being with her, as old as I am - and I been around the block a few times, let me tell you - she made everything seem new, fresh, like I’d never seen or felt anything before. Even the dirt on her nose seemed like a miracle, like God’s own fingerprints. What? God? Yeah, I know Him, goes with the territory. What’s He like? Hell, you got religions here – go study one of those. Everyone’s got an opinion.

Back to that kid. What do you mean, it sounds like love to you? Listen, buddy, I crossed over because I was fed up, that’s all. I quit. We angels use ourselves up watching over you guys. The ones that look at it as just a job, they do all right. It’s when you start caring that things get dirty. You humans are so blind – matter is all that matters. You see some cute chick, some shiny toy, that’s all you want. The toys, the chicks, they’re all the same to you. Just another way to waste your time. Gimme another beer, I’m done talking.

* * * * * * *

Hey, pal, good to see you again. Yeah, I’m sorry about that – life gets to you once in a while, OK? No thanks, I’m not drinking these days; I just stopped by to apologize.

Say, I looked in on that kid I was telling you about – something you said the other day got to me. About it being love, you know? I don’t know whether I was trying to prove you wrong or what, but I looked her up.

She’s no kid anymore, at least not to you. Found out she hadn’t just been crying her eyes out over that jerk. Worked hard, put the kids through school, and guess what? Now her kids are working to put her through school. Yeah, really. She wants to be a teacher or something. Talking about joining the Peace Corps, in this day and age, can you believe it? Made me real proud.

Also made me ashamed of myself. Kid makes one lousy mistake with her life, and I give up on her, just like that. Guess I expected too much, you know? Bright kid like that, should have made something of her life, not blow it on some Joe. But I should have been there for her, got it? A guardian angel can do a lot for a person, let me tell you – it’s not just watching out for traffic. Even as just a guy, I could have been her friend, seen her through the rough times. Instead, I take a powder.

Anyway, I wanted you to know I was sorry for how I acted last time, and to tell you, you humans, you’re OK. It’s not all a waste of time. Not all of you, anyway. See you around sometime.

Oh, that – what’s He like? Look in the mirror, chum, look in the mirror.

Wonder if He’d give me my old job back?