I don’t know how long it’s been.
There are people I’ve met who will use that phrase flippantly. “Oh, I haven’t been out in I don’t know how long,” and laugh. I’ve stopped. I don’t know how long it’d been since I stopped using such terms so easily, but it happened. How many days, how many years, how many bodies, how many ages… I closed my eyes.
We’ll tell you a lot, if you ask. Any fallen angel will tell you the most horrible pain they’ve ever felt is the fall. None of them will ever say it was losing their wings—partially because we never speak of it, mostly because, no matter what the movies show, that’s not it. Demons don’t lose their wings, and if anything that is their curse.
The pain is the separation. When you’re there, you are a part of everything, you are connected to literally everything, by threads and cords and ropes and wires. And it is the most amazing thing I have ever felt. It is being a part of everything that is. Humans don’t notice it much, because they’re only connected by the one little strand that connects with a few other people. The nexuses, the ones that connect at least two people—and usually many, many more—are what goes up.
Is it really up? I wondered, not for the first time. I know that, technically speaking, it’s everywhere. But every time I go to earth, I feel like I fall. And I do remember having wings in that brief period that stretches for so long in my head, because I know really feeling my wings means I’m about to fall or rise again.
I opened my eyes and stared out at the crowd, sipping at a cup of coffee. The first few times, I’d avoided anything that could be considered even a little sinful. The absolute minimum food, always stuff I didn’t much like; the least comfortable clothes that didn’t call attention to my penance; and absolutely nothing that could be considered a drug. I’d gotten over it. Separation was punishment enough.
I rise, I fall. I wrote in my journal. It’s not the first time I’ve written it. Of course, the first time it wasn’t English. English didn’t exist yet, not really. Oh, I suppose you could say that the first time I’d gotten enough money together for a journal—because a journal helped, and I wasn’t sure if that was okay for the longest time—was technically in very old Old English, but that’s so far from modern English it makes about as much sense to call it German.
I rise; I fall. I corrected. No matter how long I’ve lived here, I still forget the semicolon. I’ve written this so many times; you’d think I’d remember, but when I started stuff like spelling and punctuation were optional. Anyway, it’s a journal.
You got cast out of heaven for any of the seven deadly sins. I’m not entirely sure if that goes for humans. They might just be floating in that rapturous tangle of thread and cord and rope so close and thick and not quite tangible that it’s more of a cloud. It’s still here, down here. The first few times, I couldn’t see it or feel it, but I’ve learned to sense it. That’s my special little self-made curse. Because, yes, I know how it feels. And, no, I can’t feel it.
Angels get to fall. We come down here and pay our penance, and pay extra for any other sins we commit while here. I wonder, sometimes, if the little sins add up, too. I wonder if I’ll ever get to stay. When you sin so many times, can you truly be forgiven?
I gripped the cup tighter. No. No. Not that cruel. Impossible.
I finished my coffee and picked up my jacket to go. It was a nice little place. You could sit in a dark corner or in the open air, you paid first, and it almost made me forget the little upside-down split V scar down my back.