Playing the Angel

December 21, 2009 at 8:05 pm (Angels, misogyny) (, , , , , )

I once knew a boy who was so strange that he stopped being a boy altogether.

The boy used to stand very, very still. He painted his skin to a marble-pale, placed little circles of vivid blue glass upon his irises and set his soft hair into ringlets. It was sharp and March and midday, and today the boy had paper wings. He stood in his thin robe wondering for the first time why those Little Men paid for his services as a paralysed stone angel. And a poor creature of stone he was, for his occasional smiles and bows, dances and kisses. The punters delighted in his sudden animation and threw fistfuls of copper, coins of silver and gold at his feet. But the boy prized paper most of all. It was the notes that tempted him out of stone.

But the paper in his wings embarrassed the boy. When he visited the cathedral, the marblemen mocked him with coldness, standing still and offensive in the line of his blue glassed eyes. He kissed each statue’s lips until his own were pale and numb as theirs. In these kisses, the statues exposed themselves, and let it be known that they were competent enough and needed no blood-filled counterpart. At last the boy felt an embrace of flesh on his own bones, and was content. He knew what creature he had always been, and it was delicious

Soon the boy found his heart was white, it billowed like a sheet. Every trouble and challenge was simply meant to be. He was angelic, no longer to blame for mortal sins. His apparent blunders were part of an almighty Will, and though the Little Men would never see it (they never saw anything), he knew he was blameless. All jaunty and sugar-skulled, he could wander wherever he liked and shout whatever thoughts or desires he pleased until he coaxed the anger of Little Men, and fists covered his naked back with bruisey-gray badges. When they sprang plum on his thighs and forearms, the boy would press the vivid fistkisses to relive his conquest into the Little Men’s hearts.

The boy decided that he would dirty himself no more with mortal love-making, and instead set out to impregnate virgins. Something in his pretty mouth, pale skin and slender, delicate wrists earned their trust. He revelled in their joyful screams and sweet tears, and lapped at the blood that sprang between their thighs, which he was certain was sacred. How beautiful the world would be, he thought, with hundreds of tiny messiahs ready to learn and teach, and Make, much like the Little Men. These new lambs would be bleak, not meek. They would fit into this world so snugly, all boarded and strung wired. All their graspy, clutchy hands! All their tiny concrete skulls! How proud their mothers must be.

That was all the thought he ever gave those poor, desolate whores.

All the gloom the cathedral once held was spun into delight. The roof, in particular, held a flaxy appeal. The boy wished only that the tiles were skin, so he could tread a mauve print with his boots and graze soft, white flakes in his wake. Though its grit crunched under his boots, the roof would never, ever give way because it loved this sky, just like he did, and stretched out all peaked and pretty to caress the infinite blue loom. But the sky ignored the pathetic stone. It blushed evening at the boy, and beamed at him with vibrant, sunset clouds. The sky made an opening among its mists: The Place Between. A breeze touched soft upon his lips and invited him to soar by its side.

He flew briefly behind the lids, but soon fell. First white, then red, then all splattery. He stopped being a boy altogether and was quickly cleaned off the stone below with the greatest tact and discretion.


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