••• The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes
I’d never met an angel. Not personally. But I know angels are blonde because Ella Keeling and Kayleigh Gent are blonde, and Emily Hutchinson is sort of blond and so is Jack Morley, and they always played the angels and the Marys and never the sheep - so I was quite irritated when Mrs Daniels told me to be a nativity angel. I could barely hold an egg without dropping it, and I’d never really had the bladder for dancing. In the past I’d tried to recollect if anyone in Barbie and the Nutcracker ever clutched their gusset and ran for stage left - but no such memory occurred.
Still, I was given the script, but decided to put it off and do something practical instead of reading, because reading didn’t get anything done in those days, unlike squishing caterpillars in the cabbages.
Mrs Daniels wanted me to sing. She said angels were wonderful ‘projectors’ - and I could project, and projected frequently in the playground, both my voice and sometimes sticks when Jacob Murfin commandeered The One Red Tricycle. So singing was fine. Dancing was tolerable. Mum even managed to craft the costume out of a bedsheet, boot polish, coat hangers and squares of cloth dusters. To finish the look, she rubbed a black thumb over my cheek to mucky the freckles - and when I looked in the mirror I howled and attempted to un-bend the bent halo. I did not want to be Whoops-a-Daisy Angel. I wanted to be a proper angel like Ella Keeling and Emily Hutchinson was, like Jack Morley and Kayleigh Gent was.
I asked if Santa could go to Bethlehem instead of whoops-a-daisy angel because I was suddenly very poorly, and she said no, Santa wasn’t around back then. I asked how old Santa was and she said she didn’t know, but back then the present business was a free market. I wondered if a free market sold sweets, so I asked her where Bethlehem was and she said it was near the seaside.
The thought of the seaside subdued the waterworks, but I still wasn’t an angel.
So, I was irritated when Mrs Daniels pushed me onstage and made me dance and sing and smile. I was irritated when I had to direct the kings and the shepherds, and when I had to hover over the Virgin Mary, and when I was given a slice of chocolate cake by shepherd #2’s mum.
Dad asked if I’d ever met an angel as he wiped linseed into his guitar by the bins the next morning and I said no, not personally. Sleepily, he said we’re all angels, sort of, because people can be lot of things, and I asked how, and he said evolution. He said my bit of angel was in my toes, probably - which I quickly wiggled to make sure, but they were just toes.
Not wanting to argue I said okay, ate my cake, and went back to squishing caterpillars.
© Charlotte March November 2016
Charlotte is studying English at Lincoln University.