Angel Eyes

 Patty’s Angels from HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS

How would you react if you actually saw an angel?


Setup: Los Angeles, 1960. Geri is a down-on-her-luck actress. She’s met 4-year-old, Patty, and her mother, Mary Beth, through the free breakfast program at a nearby church. Mary Beth, the new choir director, has asked Geri to sit with Patty on Sunday mornings. A confirmed sinner, Geri, reluctantly agrees. Also–Patty’s best friends are two angels.

Geri and Patty have just sat down in the church pew.

Holding Patty in her arms made Geri feel all squishy and cuddly inside. The sappy music put a big lump in her chest and threatened to turn on the water works. These squeaky-clean people around her made her feel like a total fake. Where were the guys she saw on the week days? Good old Charlie, Bill and Ed? Weren’t they swell enough for this crowd? The only person she recognized was Auntie Z, dressed like Gloria Swanson, complete with a turban.

She hoped Reverend Samuel didn’t come out, point at her and proclaim, “We have a sinner among us!”

Of course, that didn’t happen. There was a lot of stand up, sit down, sing this, recite that. She totally surprised herself by spitting out the words to the Lord’s Prayer. She and Patty made quite a team on that one.

Reverend Samuel delivered his sermon with verve. Geri thought he could probably make a few bucks doing voice-overs. She sensed the service was wrapping up and glanced down at Patty. The kid didn’t look happy. Maybe she had to go to the bathroom.

Geri whispered, “What’s the matter?”

“No angels. Where are they?”

The girl and her angels. What an imagination.

“Maybe they’re on vacation,” she whispered.

Patty’s face puckered, but she remained silent.

Reverend Samuel closed his Bible and strutted to his throne-like chair. Geri glanced at her bulletin. Mary Beth was up for the grand finale, a solo.

Wearing a maroon and silver robe, Mary Beth seemed to glide to the podium. A brighter shade of lipstick than usual gave her a Sandra Dee look. The music swelled.

Geri lifted Patty onto her lap so she could see her mama better. Mary Beth closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and let the first notes rise from her throat. The words, the tones, the feelings surged from the soloist like a wave rolling across the shore. Peace washed over Geri, drenching her spirit.

Patty smiled and whispered to Geri, “They’re here.”

“Who’s here?”

“The angels. Don’t you see them?”

Geri didn’t understand what was going on. Her head felt light, almost dizzy. The song pouring out of Mary Beth seemed to be filling cracks in Geri’s soul. A light glowing in the rafters drew her attention. She didn’t think the church was set up for special effects. Golden light swirled and sparkled near the ceiling. She couldn’t take her eyes off the illusion. The music crescendoed. Two figures materialized. Geri blinked. Angels? For real? One shimmered in a golden robe; the other twinkled an iridescent blue. White wings completed the 3D image. The Gold one smiled at her. Geri stared dumbstruck.

Patty whispered. “They’re happy you can see them.”

Geri glanced around the room. No one else seemed to notice the angels except Patty and her. Okay, this was getting a little scary.

Light from the angels streamed into Mary Beth. Music flowed out of her in tones and colors. Geri could actually see it. Swirls of visible music wrapped around the congregation.

Geri continued to stare with a rising sense of terror. Mary Beth’s song faded and so did the angels and their crazy light show. But not Geri’s fear. She was scared witless.

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