And I Have WingsM. Stanley Bubien
"And I have wings, and I can fly," the Angel said.
"Yes," the Lord God replied, his lips drawn slightly, mischievously into a grin.
"So what then of man?"
The Lord God raised an eyebrow, unfolding his hands over Creation.
"A little below angels?"
"For a time," the Lord God answered.
The Angel gazed across the expanse he perceived as his domain, considering not Creation, for still he felt no threat from below. "And what shall he do when that time arrives? For I have wings, and I can fly. And he has none."
The Lord God nodded, saying "even those without wings may one day fly."
The Angel lifted a stone aloft and let it slip from his grasp. Slowly it spun toward his feet. And thus he scowled. Such an image he had planned, and at the moment of fruition only a single nugget lay nearby, and yet he had wondered not. For stone, he knew, a stone of any size or shape or substance should have served his purpose none better than any other. But rather than plummeting into oblivion, gradually this bit of earthenwork descended. Having neither a dearth of choice or course or option, he made due, though his desire was otherwise.
"But he will fall," the Angel continued.
"Ah." Upon angelic lips bent a half-smile of victory. "Such things are inevitable, and wholly without grace."
The Lord God inhaled. A tear formed ever so lightly, bubbling like a brook broken free, it began its meandering course downward. "Inevitable, yes," he responded. But keeping the remainder of breath within the depths of his chest, the Lord God touched the dampness upon his cheek, lifted it upon a finger tip and kissed it into the sky. It drifted downward like so many falling stars. And all those who stood upon green earth and gazed upward saw the broken trail as it spread and scattered and rained upon them. And they too dropped upon their knees, heads folded into up-spread palms.
Of stones the Angel spoke naught, never yet daring to break the silence which spread through Creation.
And so the ache grew within the Lord God like the silent outcry of millions. And the Lord God let the lids of his eyes fall, and the remainder of breath, he expelled upon Creation. This too rained downward, though invisible in its passing, and poured upon all who no longer gazed upward.
The sweet breath filled them, and the Spirit quickened and rekindled in their hearts. As one to another, palms slid across brow, and freed, lifted still-upturned, toward heaven. As one to another, they rose and stood again upon green earth. And as one, they expelled the breath that filled them, and it too rose as a thunderous cry.
The Angel trembled and covered his ears, lest he been torn asunder from the Spirit of such pain, of such joy.
As the silence returned, the Lord God looked upon the Angel and his lips drew together and he said, "Yes. Even those without wings may one day fly."
For the Space Shuttle Columbia Astronauts, February 1st, 2003.
Copyright ©2003 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.
Please contact the editor for free text versions of this very short story formatted for e-mail, usenet news, or ftp.