I saw a shadow move across the chocolate truffles in front of me. Maybe I have a speck of dust in my eyes. The shadow came back, though, so I had to rule out dust. Well, what about the cat? It was lying peacefully on the ironing board. Since there was no one home except for me and the cat, I decided it must be an intruder and turned sharply to look.
What I saw made me wish it was a burglar. Burglars don’t wear sparkling white robes; behind me stood the Angel of Death.
“You have one minute,” he said.
“Am I imagining things? Maybe it is a speck of dust,” I thought, cowardly.
“Do I look like a speck of dust?” he asked angrily.
“No, quite the contrary,” I said.
“Then get ready. You have 55 seconds.”
“53 seconds,” he said.
I opened and closed my eyes. Yes, the Angel of Death really was standing in my room. He leaned his head against the ceiling, and a supernatural breeze blew through his hair. In his hand was a clock that reminded me of an alarm. My cat also rubbed against his legs, having been turned to the dark side by such radiance. Foolishly, I stood up from the table.
“What do you want me to do?”
“15 seconds to leave a legacy of your earthly experience.”
“How many words?” I asked, professionally.
“30,” he answered. “You have 30 seconds to live, maybe 20. I can’t see anything!”
He held the watch close and then at arm’s length. Then he put it to his ear.
“Is it working?” I asked.
“None of your business! You talk too much. You have, uh, 25 seconds. Max 27.”
I wondered what I could fit in such little time. And what is the quintessence of my earthly experience?
I greedily drank some tea with lemon. The angel had caught me in a very fatigued state after dinner, when I am least receptive to surprises. I looked at the Angel mournfully and swallowed a chocolate truffle that I had hidden in the roof of my mouth.
The Angel stared at his watch with bottomless eyes, as to not miss the deadline.
“11 seconds. Maybe 13,” he said.
I remained silent.
“Five. No, seven! 8 seconds tops.”
I blurted out desperately, “Do not waste time!” This is the quintessence of my earthly experience.
The Angel paled, and his shine became unbearable.
“What’s wrong?” I whispered, looking at the floor.
“I’m beside myself,” he said, “everything is over.” He sat down at the table and poured himself some tea.
“Did I die? Where should I go?” I asked. “I have a terrible sense of direction, especially in the sky, so I was hoping you could hel…”
The Angel choked down a truffle and cleared his throat.
“Do not waste time. God, that’s terrible. That’s all you could come up with?”
“What should have I said? What others used to say? Can I have another truffle?”
“Shut up!” He became indignant. “This is the first time I’ve seen a death so pointless.”
He ate another truffle. I reached for one myself….
“Hands away from the box!”
“What do you mean? Listen, you’re the Angel of Death, and I didn’t come to you; you came to me.”
“The Angel of Death is actually on vacation, so I’m filling in for him. And I can’t see for shit!” he complained. “Everything is blurry as hell!”
“Sounds like you have cataracts,” I said.
“What’s that? I know catabasis, catechesis (…)”.
He listed about 20 words.
“It’s an age-related obfuscation of the lens,” I happily exclaimed, distracting him from the original topic. “I didn’t know angels had lenses like humans.”
“We even get cold sores,” he sighed. “And sometimes problems with our wings. I’ve asked 100 times for them to fix my tail feathers. And vision, too! I can’t see addresses, or even a clock face, I can’t tell people’s faces apart.”
“Then you went to the wrong door. My neighbor smokes; I think you meant to go there. Don’t forget her dog, too.”
“Her name is Seva?”
“Listen,” I whispered. “I have the best ophthalmologist.”
“Uh, no… an eye physician that deals with the most neglected cataracts. Restores the human eye, even superhuman ones. A real virtuoso.”
“Does he take winged creatures?” he asked. “I don’t have your kind of insurance.”
“Would you agree to be photographed at the office after your procedure?”
“We are strictly forbidden to leave material traces.”
He ate another truffle and moaned with pleasure, before adding under his breath, “If he’s as good as you say he is, I could hide my wings…”
“Even if you have some kind of special, celestial eyes, the doctor guarantees results with laser correction.”
“He has a specialized laser, a little snip-snip, and you have eyes like Adam.”
“Ok. I still haven’t killed you, so we’ll see…” He stood up, spread his wings, and rushed to the window. It took him two attempts to find it.
An irresistible force threw me onto the bed. I closed my eyes and breathed easily. For the first time in many nights, I slept peacefully and without worry.
The next morning, the box of truffles was empty. This was a good sign.
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Text and photos: Seva Varo