Friday Flash: An Angel Gets His Wings

My name is Griffin. I’m eight years old and I’m an angel. No one believes me until I show them the wing knobs on my back. Then they look at me differently. They treat me special. I still remember the day mom told me. I was watching the bees on the clovers. I really love bees. Mom called me over, her eyes were watering from the bright sun and she hugged me so tight. She said I would always be her angel. I, of course, reminded her I was a boy and she got that funny smile and rubbed my back.

“You feel these two bumps,” she said. “This is where your wings were. God had to remove them when He gave you to me so you wouldn’t fly off the earth.”

A little while later my mom did fly off the earth. I guess she was an angel, too. I miss her lots still. I miss her smell. She smelled like clovers and wind. My new home smells like old socks and baby diapers. But it’s warm and I have new friends. Well, the boys aren’t very nice. They like to pinch and make red spots on my arms. I’m not sure why they think this is funny, but I laugh with them. Mom said I had to try hard to act like other kids so they didn’t take me away from her.

I miss the bees, too. When I grow up I’m going to make bees out of glass. Glass the color of their honey and clear glass for their tiny wings. Miss Joan calls this daydreaming. She says its time for me to go into the real world. This is called school.

The school bus picks us all up at the mailbox. I step into the bus but get stuck right there next to the big sweaty man driver. He is staring at me. “Get moving,” he says. But I can’t. The noise is a wall, I can’t think to move my feet. I wish the kids would stop being so loud all together. My mouth is stuck, too. I begin to cry and the sweaty man tells the girl behind him to move over and he nods. “Sit there.”  After that the boys call me Sniffin’ Griffin.

We each have our own desk at school. Mine is cold and hard. Miss Gregory is my teacher. She stares at us through purple framed glasses and makes little sighing noises. I don’t think she’s happy. I want to make her happy. I try really hard. Only, I have never played the game Seven Up before so I don’t know to keep my head on the desk and she says I was cheating and I am now out of the game. Then she tells the kids to stop laughing, that it’s not funny and I’m glad she doesn’t think it’s funny either.

At lunchtime Big Rob accidently spills cherry Jell-O in my hair. I’m allowed to go to the restroom and wash it out. It takes a long time to dry and so I don’t get to eat my own Jell-O. On the bus ride home, the girl keeps saying “gross” when my stomach makes noises. The boys start to hit me in the back of the head with their books. The driver yells. I feel frozen again. I think about my glass bees until it’s time to get off the bus.

I am good with numbers. I make a chart to show how many days until Christmas. My mom used to say Christmas is a time for miracles. I’m asking for God to give me my wings back so I can go find my mom.

Christmas morning I am waiting by the mailbox. I don’t know why the other kids are watching me in the window and laughing. They must think it’s funny they are going to miss the bus. My nose and fingers are numb. I make buzzing bee noises and this seems to warm me up. Then bells join in. Ding. Ding. I jump, surprised by how loud they are. Church bells, I think.

I step out to hear them better. I don’t see the car.

There is a loud screaming from the car and then no more church bells. No more noise. Just light. Light is burning my eyes, soaking me with heat like the hottest sun and then she is there. My mom, with that funny smile, is hugging me.  She smells like honey and heaven and slips her hand into mine and I feel my own wings lift me from the ground. Happiness fills me like a balloon because my wish has come true.

This is the best Christmas ever.

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  1. #1 by Marisa Birns on December 18, 2009 - 4:44 am

    Oh, sadness for Griffin and the cruelty he suffered.

    Nice voice throughout the piece. Really believable that it’s an 8-yr-old narrating.

    Even though he had to die, the ending did not sadden because, after all, his wish came true just in time for Christmas.

    Lovely story.

    • #2 by soesposito on December 18, 2009 - 9:34 pm

      Thanks, Marisa. Writing as a believable 8 yr. old was a huge challenge for me, not a strong point.

  2. #3 by Skycycler on December 18, 2009 - 10:17 am

    She smelled like clovers and wind… She smells like honey and heaven. This is beautiful, moving work. Thank you.

  3. #4 by Gram on December 18, 2009 - 1:06 pm

    The ingenuousness of faith and fate brought the love and hate entwined. Is it any wonder that both could coexist through the eyes of the child? I loved how you used both. Would have love to have seen where life would have taken this little angel. Nicely written from the view of a naive child. Ya.. I had to hold back a tear on the end, but it is a Christmas wish granted and I had to rejoice as he placed his hand in his mother’s again.
    Believable innocence, nicely done.

  4. #5 by Gram on December 18, 2009 - 1:12 pm

    Oh ya.. forgot, loved that you used the church bells ringing from the classic Christmas story “It’s a Wonderful Life”, when the a bell rings.. an angel gets his wings. big hint as to his fate.Loved that too..

  5. #6 by Laura Eno on December 18, 2009 - 2:51 pm

    Both tragic and triumphant, Shannon. Wonderful story and great pacing.

  6. #7 by Craig Daniels on December 18, 2009 - 3:09 pm

    a nice touch the glass bees and day dreaming of the child, loved the ending, thanks for sharing….

  7. #8 by Tony Noland on December 18, 2009 - 3:52 pm

    Oh my. You brought such a sad little life into such wonderful focus, and gave a present unlike any other. Wonderful story.

  8. #9 by Sam on December 18, 2009 - 4:01 pm

    Oh goodness, you actually brought a tear to my eye with this one. Wonderful story, thatnk you for posting it. 🙂

  9. #10 by Amy Taylor on December 18, 2009 - 4:11 pm

    What a sweet little character you built there! I really did believe him as an odd-ball 8-yr-old…terribly sad that he had to die, but at least he got his Christmas wish!

  10. #11 by yearzerowriters on December 18, 2009 - 4:26 pm

    Indescribably sad. Even though he is reunited in death, I can’t just draw a line under the indignities and cruelties suffered in his brief life. Heart wrenching.

    Well done, not many can crack my cynical old heart.

    Marc

  11. #12 by Laurita on December 18, 2009 - 6:31 pm

    Beautifully sad piece. I loved the voice. This line was one of my favourites – “The noise is a wall, I can’t think to move my feet.” Perfectly described.

    This one will haunt me for a while.

  12. #13 by Louise Dragon on December 18, 2009 - 6:43 pm

    Poignant, well told story. It tugged my heart strings a little. Perfect for this time of year! Bravo!

  13. #14 by Deanna Schrayer on December 18, 2009 - 8:16 pm

    Oh Shannon, I am nearly bawling. Fabulously told story, and you hit the nail on the head with the description. Especially like the ‘noise is a wall’ line. My son has autism and that’s exactly what happens to him when there’s a lot of racket – he just freezes in place.
    You always do a great job with your stories, but this one tops them all. Bravo!

  14. #15 by David on December 18, 2009 - 8:42 pm

    You’ve perfectly found the child’s voice in your writing: “We each have our own desk at school. Mine is cold and hard. Miss Gregory is my teacher.”

    The sentence “She smelled like clovers and wind” is especially beautiful, even more so when it is echoed by “She smells like honey and heaven.”

    Thank you for sharing a wonderful Christmas story.

  15. #16 by Eric J. Krause on December 18, 2009 - 9:57 pm

    The voice of the MC was superb in this one. What a sad story, but at least he doesn’t see it as such at the end. Great story!

  16. #17 by ~Tim on December 18, 2009 - 10:31 pm

    Clover and wind, honey and heaven — lovely!

  17. #18 by peggy on December 19, 2009 - 4:08 am

    Beautiful words. Sad and triumphant. This story moved me.

  18. #19 by karen from mentor on December 19, 2009 - 1:32 pm

    Beautifully rendered and delicate portrayal of innocence. Some people are just not meant for this cruel Earth. Glad he was reunited with his mom in the end.

    I loved your use of the bells too. It’s a Wonderful Life is one of my favorite movies.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Karen :0)

  19. #20 by Linda on December 20, 2009 - 1:46 am

    Beautiful. Just beautiful.

    Peace, Linda

  20. #21 by PJ @doublelattemama on December 20, 2009 - 5:50 am

    Shannon, this was absolutely terrific. You said that this voice is not your strong point and it may have taken some work, but you’re there. This is totally convincing and real. You’ve packed so much into such a short piece. Well done.

  21. #22 by Michelle on December 20, 2009 - 8:57 am

    There is something so simple, yet tragically beautiful about this story. Thanks for sharing it. Great writing.

  22. #23 by Chance on December 21, 2009 - 12:15 pm

    Beauty in tragedy , love the descriptions the boy gave, believavle for a 8 year old

    Good stuff

  23. #24 by mazzz_in_Leeds on December 21, 2009 - 4:54 pm

    Lovely piece, great voice for the boy! Clover and wind, honey and heaven – delicious!

  24. #25 by Mark Kerstetter on December 21, 2009 - 6:11 pm

    Wow, that was beautiful, I really loved it. The detail of the glass bees really made it vivid for me.

  25. #26 by Dana on December 21, 2009 - 11:11 pm

    Wow, this was really cool! Beautiful as well as sad and hopeful.

    After a couple of readings, I’m still not sure if I should take the narration at face value. I like stories that make me think!

  26. #27 by G. on December 22, 2009 - 4:55 am

    Good god, woman, crush a man, why don’t you, and right here at Christmas! lol

    You pulled off the eight year old voice marvelously, especially the sort of stop/start, stop/start way a little one writes.

    Beautiful, even if tragic, and a new one to rank up there with “Flight From The Battlefield.”

    Kudos.

  27. #28 by David G Shrock on December 22, 2009 - 8:01 pm

    Absolute beauty. Great character, voice, and near perfect pace. The noise on the bus freezing the character is spot-on.

  28. #29 by iapetus999 on December 22, 2009 - 9:05 pm

    Those danged Angels.
    Always snatching up the good ones.
    Also i find it hard to believe his mom would really be happy that he died so young.
    But it works.
    Good job!

  29. #30 by ganymeder on December 24, 2009 - 6:16 pm

    What a beautiful story. No suggestions or anything. It’s absolutely perfect.

    laptetus, I don’t think that the mom was hapy that he died young but rather it was the ‘funny smile’ that was bittersweet… sad that he was so young but happy t finally be able to be with him.

    Just…lovely.

  30. #31 by alabamapamela on July 12, 2011 - 4:04 am

    Why was he at the mailbox on Christmas day waiting for the bus?
    Didn’t the teacher tell them that they had a vacation from school?
    Why is the death of a little boy a sweet thing?
    sorry, I had a difficult time with this one.

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