Thursday, June 3, 2010

Decorated Angels and Absent Gods

Starlight - 471 words
Lindsey Thompson

Annabelle lay in bed, counting the clicks on her analog clock, waiting for her stories to come. She had already counted 642 clicks since her mother had told her to put on pajamas and banished her to her room. With the blinds pulled open—she refused to shut them at night—she watched the clouds move across the moon, waiting. Her princess nightgown itched a little, being brand new, so her fidgeting engendered more itches and more fidgeting. But finally, her stories came.

The slamming of the door announced the arrival of her father, who was greeted with harsh criticism for the noise. Her father yelled in response, clearly possessed with the powers of that gross drink that makes adults act weird and extreme. The arguing commenced, and Annabelle wiggled anticipation, for arguing meant that after the screaming and occasional banging and smashing about downstairs, he would come upstairs. And, true to his ways, he stomped defiantly up the steps and semi-quietly peeked into Annabelle’s room.

“Hey, papa bear.” She tried to whisper, to sound sleepy, but she failed.

“Hey, baby bear,” he murmured. “Why are you still awake?”

“I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been thinking.”

He grinned as he sat on his daughter’s small twin bed. “And what have you been thinking about?”

She shrugged beneath her My Little Pony comforter. “Stuff.”

He began to pat her leg, still smelling of that gross drink, and teetering a little on the edge of the tiny mattress. “Well,” he asked, “what would help you sleep?”

She beamed and sat up, almost giving away her true anticipatory excitement level. “A story!” Finally, they came.

He leaned in closer and began a story. Her favorite story. The story about the angel with stars for earrings and a heart-shaped moon as her necklace. Annabelle’s father always made up the best stories, and once he knew her favorites, he would retell them, embellish them, and occasionally get small facts wrong just so she could pout, cross her arms and say, “No, daddy, that’s not it!”

Drew lived for the stories he wrote for his daughter. Her chestnut eyes would gleam with curiosity and wonder as he narrated the betrothal of the angel and the hunt for the moon-necklace, how with her sadness, the stars she wore began to die, and that with her happy marriage to a man, she relinquished her wings and her stars, but gave the moon to the man’s world—after a bit of breaking and reshaping.

During his storytelling, he forgot the mortgage he was late on paying, the nights he heard his wife cry herself to sleep, the affair letters he discovered in her dresser. He would go to sleep praying for some kind of god to keep an eye on Annabelle.

And Annabelle would sleep, praying for starlight to decorate her jewelry.

Slumber My Darling - Alison Krauss and Yo Yo Ma

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