A Guest Story

This short story first appeared this month in Lionhead Literary, a new e-zine by young adult author Kris Noel. It is written by a friend and colleague. I asked her if she had been inspired by seeing a piece in an art museum, but this is completely from her very creative imagination. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Broken By Casey Whisenant

Muck and grime clung to my jeans as I slid down to the ground in the alley. I felt it seep into my skin, but I kept my eyes straight ahead and ignored my discomfort. These precious moments I had each day were more valuable to me than a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and a laugh in my throat. This alley wall represented all the hope in my life. All the dreams, desires, and wonderful possibilities that might come true.

The glittering masses of broken soda cans, glass store fronts, Christmas ornaments, lights, champagne glasses thrown out by fancy restaurants, clock faces, faux diamonds from the local pawnbroker, bits of metallic machine parts – anything that could shimmer in the weak light of the alley – were plastered to the wall.

With swooping wings and hair down to her ankles, the angel stood confident against the bricks, absorbing the light like a sponge. She was created by an unknown artist over a period of six months. Each morning brought a new set of trinkets adding to the overall theme, until at last she was finished. My coming started as a daily ritual. First, I had been critical of the artist, watching the wall with a narrowed eye. Curiosity turned into habit, and the slide from habit to need took me by surprise.

Her chin, a lovely green from a broken wine bottle, was raised in proud defiance as she overlooked the sewer rats and homeless youth who dug for day-old burgers in the trashcans. Her broken pieces were like beacons for me. They begged me to believe that my own broken pieces could make something equally as beautiful.

I was almost positive I wasn’t the only one who purposefully sought out the angel. Her opal-button eyes shimmered with knowledge of her guests. It was like she absorbed a part of you when you visited and shared it with someone else. I hoped whoever it was that came after me didn’t mind what she reflected from my stay.

I hoped she said to them, “Even if you have broken parts that don’t always fit together right, even if they sometimes fall off and get a little dirty, you can still shine.”

Too many people shatter and think they can’t be put back together again. True, they might have cracks and chips, but “broken” doesn’t always have to mean something bad. Sometimes when you’re broken, you can still be made into an angel.

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