The Sad Seraph

     Gerry woke with a start! Her short, gnome-like body jerked up like a coiled spring being released. Some potent sense that had always alerted her in the past when danger lurked—or the harsh thump that echoed throughout the house—was what jolted her wide-eyed awake.  Regardless, she knew something was amiss in her home as an air of abrupt menace seized hold of her. Was it pure fancy or did her comfy room seem unusually cold? Her plump form trembling, she tugged her frayed robe tightly around her, then rubbed her creased forehead, still moist from the thick cold cream she had daubed on it only an hour ago. Her still-sharp mind flashed back instantly, to when she had come home, tired and laden, with those heavy bundles from the food pantry. She had forgotten to lock the front door afterwards. She had even reminded herself to bolt it after putting down the groceries on the grimy kitchen counter; but, distracted by all the dirty pots and pans strewn about, she’d forgotten entirely. Now, of course, her clever mind recalled every detail of what she had done. Her watery blue eyes enlarged filled with awareness. She shook her round, wrinkled face; her thin lips grimaced. How could she forget to lock the door immediately, knowing inner city living as she did?

     Another heart-sickening thump!

     Gerry’s hopes of it all having been just her imagination were washed away in an instant. An intruder was in her house. Out of habit, she adjusted the foam curlers lined along her greying head, then pushed back the thick covers and crept hunchbacked, slowly, quietly, out of her lonely bed. Her bare thick feet poked out from below her flannel nightgown as she stepped at a snail’s pace in the dark toward the door that led from her snug bedroom into the kitchen. Whoever had invaded her home had to still be in the living room, based on the distance of the thudding noises she’d heard. Her freckled hand groped nervously about in the dark, before finding and putting it on the crystal doorknob, the other stretching and grasping hold of a greasy pan that was on top of her cluttered computer desk. Her last meal would make an effective lethal weapon if need be.

     Frightened, Gerry picked up the pan quietly, pressed her ear against the peeling paint on the door, and listened.

     The pitter-patter of footsteps against the wooden planking on the other side told her the unwelcome visitor had now entered her mess of a kitchen. A door opened from somewhere, squeaking softly. A rush of fury filled Gerry, whoever had sneaked inside had just found the refrigerator!

     Poor Gerry imagined a greedy thief gobbling up every morsel of food her five-foot frame had just lugged through the cold, clear across town.

     She flung open the bedroom door, yelling at the top of her congested lungs! “The police are on their way!” Her trembling hand reached for the light switch and flipped it on. With both hands, Gerry hoisted the steel frying pan high over her curler-filled head as she caught sight of the startled intruder tumbling back from the opened refrigerator and back into the living room again.

     A loud crash indicated the culprit had tripped over the shabby old hassock Gerry always managed to leave out in the middle of the room! That footrest, piled high with sewing baskets, wool skeins, and unfinished knitting projects, had likely caused the intruder to trip earlier, thus waking Gerry from her nightly ‘beauty’ rest.

     There was no time to speculate further; Gerry rushed through the arched kitchen doorway into the now dimly lit living room. Her unblinking eyes focused on what appeared to be a childish figure garbed in a white linen gown. The diaphanous layered garment was belted with a crisscrossing golden cord and had a small purse attached at the side. A fair-haired, girlish form lay sprawled on its slender backside, an oozing jar of wildflower honey clutched in one hand!

     Gerry shuddered. “Who are you? What are you doing in my house at this ungodly hour?” she asked, raising the greasy frying pan higher.

     The young girl sat up, alarmed to see a strange woman, so outraged, before her. Her nose ran as she sobbed. “I’m Angelica,” she said as politely as possible between sniffles. “Please don’t hurt me.”

     “Why you’re just a child,” Gerry said, her fear fading fast. “Where are your parents?”

     “I don’t have a mother or a father,” Angelica replied, her tiny chest heaving with another sob.

     “You poor thing!” Gerry cried. Her motherly instincts immediately snapped into place. She lowered the pan and raced toward the grief-stricken child. “Where do you live?”

     “Higher than the moon, higher than the sun,” Angelica answered promptly.

     “I’ve never heard of an address like that,” Gerry replied. “You’re kidding, right?” A sinking feeling filled her as the strange child’s skin began to shimmer.

     Angelica licked the oozing honey from the jar still clutched in her unearthly hand. “The energy in your world is so harsh, I need something sweet to keep my heart beat from skipping.” As she feasted on the golden honey, her soft skin dazzled even more. Rejuvenated, Angelica jumped, seemingly floating, up. Small in stature, she reached the bottom of Gerry’s double chin. Lacelike wings, like that of a butterfly, unfolded from behind her back.

     Gerry gulped with disbelief, her steel-blue eyes widened. The frying pan slipped from her shaking hands and crashed to the floor with a sharp clang. While pinching her arm, to make sure she was awake, Gerry’s plump face twisted toward the table holding the Angel Divination cards she was using earlier that day. She had been hoping to speak with her spirit guide to answer a burning question she had about her dear departed husband.  The picture on one of the cards spread out atop the table resembled the young girl before her exactly!

     “Have you come for me? You’re… You’re an—” Gerry inquired, trembling.

     “I, I had to make a detour. It’s not your time,” Angelica said with another snuffle.

     “That’s, that’s good news. You see… I’m… I’m not ready—” Gerry stammered.

     “I broke my wings,” Angelica sobbed, her dazzling finger pointing to the places where her fine wings were in tatters. “I can’t fly!” she cried.

     “How dreadful,” Gerry muttered, observing the torn wings.

     “What good is an angel whose wings don’t work?” Angelica weeped. “I… I found your address in the Yellow Pages at a place called a ‘library’,” Angelica continued, her tear-streaked face beaming with hope. “It said… Um… Something like Gerry Panascotti, 45 Bronxville Road. Over forty-five years’ experience: custom tailoring, alterations, and expert repairs.” Angelica’s sapphire eyes twinkled. “It took so long to find you. Do you think you can mend my wings? You see, I’ve got to finish my task and get home to heaven. Seraphs like me don’t last long here.”

     “This is crazy,” Gerry stated, wringing her stiff hands. “I haven’t worked in years. But… of course…” Gerry added, feeling sorry for the sad seraph. “I’ll do my best to patch up your wings.” Despite the pain, she thought.

     Angelica dried her tears, then jumped gleefully up and down, clapping her glimmering hands with delight.

     Meanwhile, Gerry lumbered over to the closet. She pulled open the door and peered into the gloom, then grabbed a sewing basket and a bolt of shiny pink taffeta from somewhere deep inside. “Yes… Yes, I think this stiff fabric will do,” Gerry said, moseying back to Angelica. “You sure came to the right place. You see, I was a great seamstress back in the day. Now turn around and stand still.”

     Angelica huffed as she spun about. Angels, never, ever take orders from humans, she thought. But she wisely kept her mouth shut.

     Using silk thread, Gerry patiently attached the taffeta to Angelica’s broken wings. After adding lace for extra support, she trimmed and hemmed the curving edges. “You’re going to love this… All girls do,” Gerry whispered as she stitched on tiny pearls and colored rhinestones. “These will make you sparkle even more. You see, I used to decorate wedding dresses. It was like putting icing on a cake.”

     Angelica licked her shining lips, her clear eyes beamed.

     “Now, let’s have a peek,” Gerry said, leading Angelica over to a full-sized mirror at the corner of the cluttered room.

     “They’re perfect!” Angelica cried, parading back and forth in front of the mirror. Her mended wings fluttered, she gracefully lifted off the floor.

     “So wonderful to fly!” Gerry exclaimed, eying Angelica with awe.

     Angelica landed. She glanced toward the window. It flew open, letting in a stream of icy air.

     “I guess you have to leave,” lonely Gerry lamented, tugging her frayed robe even closer.

     “Seraphs like me, don’t last long here,” Angelica knowingly replied. The young angel reached into the small satin bag, hanging at her side. “For your good deeds,” she stated, withdrawing a sparkly powder from the sack, “something very healing, very magical: Angel’s Dust.” She sprinkled the gleaming stuff on Gerry’s arthritic hands. “I promise, you’ll never be the same.”

     Gerry bit her lower lip so she wouldn’t burst into tears.

     “And now, I fly, the wind on my back.” Once again, Angelica’s wings waved. With a final glow, she soared out of Gerry’s old house and vanished. The window slammed shut behind her.

     Despondent, Gerry shuffled through her cold, empty home, to her vacant bed. With a deep sigh she lay down. As she rested in the gloom, a warm, tingling energy pulsed from her sore hands, filling her entire body. All her pain departed; she felt twenty years younger. “My, oh my! That sad seraph has healed me!” she whispered with gratitude. “I’ll work again. Think of all the beautiful things I’ll create.”