Once upon a time we saw an angel, my late husband and I. A corny sort of beginning to a fairy tale, the start of every child’s story. But in our case, it is as true as I’m sitting here now.
Neither of us were religious, much to the disappointment of my parents, but a childhood of Welsh Methodist chapel Sundays, put paid to that.
The austere cold chapels were plain and dull in their decoration. Windows, totally unlike the elaborate gold, brass, and stained glass of the church. The Welsh dog-collared preachers spouted hell and damnation from the elevation of a pulpit, between long winded hymns. So dramatic in their telling and viewpoints on chapters from the bible. Veering from threatened whispers to the thunderous boom of vociferous opinions.
This never went down well with my little sister who was inclined to fall asleep in the pew. This caused her to jolt awake and hit her head on the hymn book shelf in front of her. Her squeal would be followed by loud hisses by be-shawled and fur-hatted elderly ladies. Their open despair at a clearly undisciplined child.
This was always followed by the passing of a mint imperial by my mother as appeasement of both hurt and boredom. Often this was dropped en-route, it rolled and clattered down the chapel’s sloped floor. Then, gratefully picked up by the young boy chosen that Sunday to pull on the organ bellows.
Childhood Sundays were dull, best clothes, and no playing outside. Sunday school was swiftly followed by an evening service. Nervous childhood voices recited learned verses to the frowning faces of the elders. Woe betide a forgotten word or hesitation.
At university, I was once persuaded to attend a church of the born-again type. So much happier an experience with the singing of joyful songs and guitar playing.
But, the telling of the visit was met with claims that I would be whisked away to America to become part of a cult. Which, in comparison to Welsh methodism at the time was an appealing thought. I had no passport back then, so that was the end of that idea.
So back to the Angel.
My husband an I had an early night and read until our respective books fell on our faces. He always fell asleep before I did. I followed to the land of nod, or up the wooden hill to somewhere or other, as my father told us as children.
Suddenly, I awoke with a start. I lay there in the dark silence and listened to the sound of my husband breathing. It made a change from his snoring. Breath sounds were always good considering how poorly he’d been not long ago.
There was no light at all in the room despite a full moon. Thick blackout curtains put paid to that. Huge bedroom windows are not always an advantage in the early dawns of the summer months.
My eyes adjusted to the dark, and I realised the reason for my abrupt awakening. My dear husband stood next to the bed. I was about to speak, when I realised he was, in fact, still lying next to me.
I looked again at the figure and how tall it was. Despite the darkness, I could make out a blonde curly haired childlike face, atop a body which was certainly not a child’s dimensions. In fact it was stooped over my husband as it’s head nearly touched the ceiling.
I wasn’t scared, this is the thing. I felt calm and serene and for a minute or so just gazed at the figure. It was male, I’m sure of it, but a child’s head on an adult body.
A voice from the dark – my husband’s asked, “are you ok?”
“I’m not entirely sure I am.” I answered in a whisper.
“What do you see?”
An odd question considering it was pitch black.
“I saw a tall figure stood on your side” I said. “An extraordinarily tall child” I added. Now, also realising I could no longer see the apparition. I reached over for the bedside lamp switch. “I must have been dreaming,” I concluded.
“No, you weren’t,” he answered.
I saw that he was already sitting up.
“It’s been watching me.”
“Who?” I almost squealed with nervousness. “Who’s been watching you? I thought I was seeing things, who was it?” Panic rose in my voice.
“I don’t know, but whoever, or whatever it was, meant us no harm. It may have been an Angel”
These were words coming out of my husband’s mouth who had never believed such things. The fact he had seen it too, made it very real.
If I was an artist, I could paint its face. Although, it wore no obvious discernible clothing, and as far as we could see, it had no wings either.
We barely slept for the rest of the night,. Each incredulous that we had both experienced the vision,
So, my once upon a time story comes to its conclusion. Believe whatever you may think. Is it truth, or a fairy tale? You decide.