A Morning Visit

The clumsy fluttering of a flock of cherubim wakes you, their wings battling gravity to keep their pudgy baby bodies afloat. They fill the room with the scent of fabric softener, wafts of lavender puffed with each bat of those tiny wings. It is time to wake up. If you wait too long they’ll move on and you’ll miss the delightful parade of their daily chores. They’d never wake you if you were still asleep, and they have so many other rooms to visit at the hotel.

You roll out of bed and dash to the closet seeking cover to watch. Two make the bed. They struggle pushing the comforter to the floor, tugging and air tumbling while they roll the thing off the mattress. Then they locate the corners of the top sheet, your favorite part, they each lift a corner, the sheet’s wrinkles fade to form a bulbous shape which parachutes down against the bed. Then the smallest cherub darts at the center of the bubble and bounces into the center of the mattress, the sheet ripples flat.

Up on a perch above the window molding sits the elder, plucking the strings of his harp giving the three other angels a soundtrack to go about fluffing pillows, struggling to lift and pull the comforter back atop the bed, tumbling into the gentle roll of their baby bodies, giggling while they fumble with all the too large objects.

You’d like to watch them all day. You’d like to squeeze one of them, confusing them for children, confusing them as objects that may want to be squeezed. But you musn’t let them know you’re here. You must enjoy their mysterious ways in secret, for this is just a daily chore to them, a job, the way that your job is a job. You think what it would be like to have someone lurking behind you as you sit in front of the typewriter, as you place files into folders, and folders into binders, and place binders on shelves in long rows of green, accounting, and blue, contract, and burgundy, archives.

You imagine the babies lifting the binders for you as you pluck the harp. You imagine the cold and small windowed room of the file library afloat in the clouds, with white puffs of air as shelves and the tiny babies everywhere, always fluttering, giggling, poking one another in the tummy. What you cannot imagine is that they have their problems too, that when they put on their masks and play war the world turns into a fiery hellscape.

What you cannot imagine is what’s at stake between their rounds, the poisoned wells of their cloud villages, the mischievous gods of the sea, and the cruel mysteries of the earth. On their days off, when they’ve had too much time on their hands they spear the innocent and the harp strings plucked are to the tune of vengeance against the demons that have wronged them. Best to keep quiet in the closet. Best not to cross them, best to lay still and allow some things to take their natural course.