When I meet new people, or even see others close up, next to me in the theatre, on the street, I always imagine the same thing. I lean over to them, place my lips right next to the folded shell of their ear, and whisper, softly,
"I see angels."
Their eyes widen, sometimes their mouth gapes, and no matter what they say, all I can hear is the crystal shattering of world I have worked so hard, sacrificed so much, to build.
I am Boston's most sought after homicide detective. My perfectly placed slate fireplace in my immaculate trendy condo on the richest street in the city, is covered with sparkling glass trophies, marble commendations, awards from foreign countries, and the grateful thanks of a small army of people whoese personal tragedies I helped alleviate. I have been told that some people pray to have me on their lost loved one's case. When I go to a restaurant, I never need to wait for a table.
And yet, I see them. Demons too. They go about average lives, newspapers, coffees, reports, buses, squabbles, dates, vacations. I think they know I can see them; it does not seem to matter.
I remember the first time I saw one. She was incredible, even standing on a street corner, waiting to cross. A head taller than anyone around her, a classicly beautiful face, high cheeks, soft lashes framed golden eyes, her brown hair curled playfully around her exquisite jaw, the halo behind her glowing softly like a proud parent. She was athletic, with massive wings folded genteelly behind her, garbed in a wafting greecian tunic. She was so stereotypical, I thought it was a religious protest, or an advertising stunt. But when she moved, She flowed through space as through soft waters and as her eyes fell on me, I could feel her presence in my bones, her blood pounded in my temples. Her breath was in my lungs, my chest heaving as she searched me for evil. The fear of God, awesome and terrifying, huge inside my mouth. Her hand gripped the sharpened blade she weilded, fire raced from my veins to it, then nothing. The light changed. She moved away. I looked up to the overcast sky and fainted.
I awoke naked on my bed at home, smelling the rain outside. My clothes, in the hamper luckily, bore the stains of my lunch, which I must have thrown up on myself. Looking at the remains of the hastily-consumed McDonalds, I knew I would never eat such garbage again.
I also remember the first time I saw a demon. I know, too, that I will never be able to quit smoking.
There is another secret I struggle to keep. A security blanket of a vice which could ruin me as well. I'm not sure I have strength enough to write it. I am sure lancing this boil would leave me gaping open, dribbling my secret to the world.
Two weeks after the First, I was walking to work, rushing to fill the gap made by the days I had taken sick to recover, when I stopped by a homeless man to give him my change. The folded five passed from my hand to his and our eyes met. I saw in them the same hollowness, wonder and horror, as I knew he saw in mine.
Without a word, he followed me to a cafe where we lunched in silence. He lives with me now, helping out where he can, existing silently by my side, and I by his. We have not spoken, instead relying on feelings to communciate. He leaves in the morning, to do what I know not, but I rountinely receive messages from companies saying, "Thank you for your interest, but the position has been filled." Once he entered the room as I was playing one. I deleted it, but his great hot shame overwhelmed me. I believe he cannot get a job because he does not list an address. In deference to me, he struggles with this challenge, desperatly trying to climb back onto the world he fell off of without cracking the thin ice of my own world.
I do not know why we have been given this gift. I do not know if it is a gift. Perhaps we are to do something with it, but I cannot think of anything to be done about it.
A month later, after he moved in, I was waiting in the park when I saw a demon approach a small girl. He began to smell her hair. I could not finish my coffee, my book slipped unheeded to the ground. My own uselessness sucked me into a pit, freezing me to the bench I occupied. Horror drained my face. But as she skipped away I saw an angel charge in. He held a great axe, which he buried into the demon's back with a scream that shattered my elbows, and heaved my shoulders. The demon turned in kind, slashing open the angel's consecrated face. The angel responded with a kick to the abdomen that revealed the edge of the axe through the front of the demon. The black soul bled to death, but not before delivering a final blow that broke the angel's legs. In the aftermath, he looked at me, we looked at each other; he pulled himself over to the shade I sat in, and lay his head on my lap. I covertly stroked his hair, weeping silently. Eventually he rolled into a patch of flowers, which all bloomed, and seemed to sleep.
That night, I went into the guest room that my ally slept in, and bawled while he patted me awkwardly. If this has a purpose, let it be known soon.