Praying Him into an Angel

Death has a rather peculiar effect on the memory of the living… or more accurately put, on the way some of the living tend to remember those who are no longer breathing. I recall standing near my little brother’s coffin listening to people say things about him, which had nothing to do with who he was. The things they said were lovely and sweet and… total fabrications. I wondered, Why try to turn him into someone else? He was a good man—wild, and not as responsible as we wished him to be, but a good man nonetheless… The bit of fiction below was inspired by my feelings towards the whole situation.  

“Praying Him into an Angel”

“My own viewing and they have the cojones to glue my eyelids shut.”

I turned away from his casket. The voice behind me wasn’t familiar. But the ire-infused mirth in the words told my heart’s ear that the body being viewed by friends, family (and by pretenders trying to pass for the former) was only soulless meat.

“Want a spin?” he said.

“These bones were made for dancing,” I answered, but cocked my head towards the black and white teary gathering. “You know anything lively will piss them off right now.”

“Fuck ‘em,” he said, extending a hand and spinning me around and around, until I was clad in a blood-red dress with spaghetti straps and tiny polka dots sprinkled blackly around the hem.

Two young women, one in tight white leather and the other in very little of anything, began to argue over his casket.

“He loved me,” said one.

“In your heifer dreams,” said the other, snatching a handful of straight blonde wig.

He picked me up by the waist, and we leapt-danced into the middle of the fight.

“Tell her you loved me often,” said one.

“I did,” he told her with a grin.

“Tell her you love me best,” said the other.

“I did that, too.” He winked before gliding us out of reach of clawing shrieks.

“You are still a scoundrel,” I said.

“I died, but I’m still me. Always me, no one changes me without my permission. You should know that, brujita.”

“I’m a big one,” I said, as I always did when he called me little witch. Then I stopped laughing, and told him, “They’ve been trying to pray you into an angel.”

“Ha!” He twirled me closer to him. I grinned at his teeth made of light. “I would look ridiculous with wings. A flying Cadillac or no one’s getting miracles out of this baby.”

I was quiet for a while.

“Plotting, sister of mine?”

“Wondering about eyeballs and Universal Truths,” I said. “Someone told me I might be able to find my answer, if I were to look into the empty fullness of your eyes. Would you—”

He opened his eyes before I finished asking. “Anything for you.” His eyes were full of books, frogs, and skulls surfing powerful wee waves made of letters.

“What does it mean?” I said.

“I know what it means to me.” He tapped the tip of a finger of light between my eyes, then pressed a hand over my heart. “But only you can see through your eye.”

“Will I remember this when I wake up?” I said.

“And who said you’re sleeping?”

I blinked until my brother’s casket came back into focus. The funeral home was still bursting with black and crying. A pretty woman in a white leather suit and gold stiletto shoes jabbed a finger at a mirror image of herself in a micro mini dress. I grinned (and perhaps cackled), letting the words dancing in my mind’s eye spin and spin until they morphed into this story.

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the wee notes…
First published in 2014.
– All the characters that appear in this story are fictional… except the ones that aren’t *cough*.
– Linked to Sanaa’s Prompt Nights (That which we seek; deep within will find – “Identity”)

dancing-with-a-ghost-by-lucille-rusty-umali“Dancing with a Ghost”, by Lucille Umali

53 thoughts on “Praying Him into an Angel

  1. I’ve always loved this story. It seems crazy to me to try to recast the dead as some sort of perfect creature. Baloney! It’s almost like killing them again, “remembering” some sanitized version that never really existed. No, I’d rather remember the true things, and grin and grimace through all the honest memories.

  2. This brings back memories.. I agree, why do they always talk about the ones who have passed as if they were some deity? is it to ward off what they think may happen to others that they know? When my husband died, you would of thought he was some super duper special person? Little did they know, he was just an average Joe… sure, he was good w/business, smart, and yes he had his faults.. He wasn’t someone special… I had to double take when I over heard the revering a few were spewing about him…unbelievable, is the word..
    Your story as always is so true w/what I’ve experienced w/the death of someone… Maybe the reverence is due to the uneasiness so many people have w/the subject of the inevitable?

    • It might be the case, indeed… that they are just so scared of what others will remember after their own time comes, that they start saying things which they hope others will say about them. I don’t know. But I still don’t like it. It feels like the dead are being erased.

  3. Still love this story! It is woven with truth and mischief, the words themselves dancing moving pictures into my head. By writing so, you let us in to see the brother you love in all of his allness. Wonderful write!

  4. Oh Magaly ❤💜 Words aren’t enough to express just how beautiful and poignant this is! I am so overwhelmed by the images here especially “Will I remember this when I wake up?” I said. “And who said you’re sleeping?” makes me smile and believe with even more fierceness that the people whom we love and hold dear always remain with us (regardless of anything) Beautifully penned. Thank you so much for participating at Prompt Nights and for your constant love and support ❤💜

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

  5. Oh, Magaly, that is just so beautiful – you’ve made me cry. And so very true. We are still who we were when we die. I’ll never understand the need to make ourselves more.
    blessings
    ~*~

  6. What a fantastic revealing of the truth and the parody of funerals where that is usually far from the fact. I loved the dialogue and the memories filtering through for this really great write.

  7. I love that you are you..and your brother is your brother – and that you share a truth perhaps – a being.. that dances high above the black and crying. I can’t imagine losing my sister. You give me hope that our most treasured live within is…if not somewhere a little more magical where we can dance and cackle every once in a while

    • Losing someone this close to you is surreal… It never feels like it’s really true, even if the hollow bits of your heart tells you that something precious has gone far away. The only way to preserve them is to remember them exactly how they were, to honor who and what they were–the good and the not so awesome–to travel, with their spirit, into a place “a little more magical where we can dance and cackle every once in a while.” 🙂

    • I believe you assessment is true of most people. Still, I want to be remembered as I was… Anything else would make me bare my teeth and wish for the power to pull the toes of the living after I am dead.

  8. Oh my! Oh my! It amazes me how you can take one real scene, and turn it into a wonderful flash fiction, one that the reader cannot stop devouring until it’s over. And then wish it continued…..

  9. Love this dialogue between the living and the dead so much. Your imagination is outstanding my friend, “His eyes were full of books, frogs, and skulls surfing powerful wee waves made of letters.” and the reality of loss, “I blinked until my brother’s casket came back into focus.” is moving.

  10. This is a magnificent piece of writing, the story is vivid , the characters are real, the concepts are credible and the image will chosen and teamed, I truly enjoyed the piece meat and bones

    much love…

    P.S. I enjoyed this word ” ire-infused “

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