is “love is blind.” It hides from you the imperfections of
the person you have given your heart to. It’s such a silly
phrase. How can you not know whom it is that you love?
Blindness doesn’t prevent you from seeing those that you
I know…I am
blind. But I’ve always seen the face of my beloved.
To be fair,
I used to be able to see once. I was born with perfectly
normal vision, two china blue eyes. My mother used to tell
me that even as a baby I would stare at everything, watching
her as she would move across a room, reassuring myself that
she was always near me. And I remember watching things, for
hours. I took delight in sitting quietly, my eyes fixated
as I caught the little things in my world. The way that my
mother curled and pinned her hair for church, the special
smile my father had for Mrs. Hartbridge down the street, so
very different than the one he had for mother. I saw when
the neighbors across the way argued, and the bruises on the
wife’s face, the ones she tried to hide with too much make
up. And I knew about Billy Broward, the big kid from the
high school, who used to make little kids do things to him
he always promised to kill them for if they ever told.
I saw a lot
of things in my short span of sighted life. Perhaps with my
keen eyes I could have been anything, a reporter, novelist,
even a gossip columnist. But I made the mistake of not
looking one day, while riding a bike. The car wasn’t
looking either. I only remember the roll I took up the
hood, and the sickening crack to the back of my skull. When
I woke up, a week later, my mother was crying at my
bedside. I knew I could hear her sobs beside me. But I
couldn’t see her. I couldn’t see anything.
He was about
as boring and plain of a man as I had ever seen. He wasn’t
tall, nor was he fat, nor was he skinny. His hair was
brown, his eyes were dark, and he wore a rumpled gray suit
and hat that seemed to blend in with gray cloud that
filtered over my eyes. He stood over me, watching me, a sad
smile on his pale, average face.
is Kathy,” he asked conversationally, his hands clasped in
front of him.
murmured sleepily. Everything felt muzzy at the moment. I
I confirmed again, blinking at him curiously. I wasn’t
afraid of him, not really. There wasn’t anything about him
that struck me as particularly frightening. He looked like
one of the accountants at my father’s office. “What’s your
replied simply, holding out one of his long, thin white
hands. I took it politely, just like my parents taught me
“I like the
name Sam.” He seemed nice. His face was serious, but his
eyes smiled. He held my hand much longer than most people
would. His fingers were icy cold against my skin.
“You had a
very bad accident, Kathy,” the man sounded upset about
this. He pulled up a chair out of the gray mist around me,
sitting till he could look at me levelly. There were tears
in those dark eyes. “The doctor’s do not know if they can
Save me? I
frowned hard, trying to understand what happened to me. I
had been riding my bike, and I blinked. The impact, my
head…nothing…there was nothing after the smashing brightness
of white in my eyes.
“Am I going
faced man nodded softly as he stroked my arm with his long,
cool fingers. “I am afraid you have to, Kathy. You hit
your head, you injuries are severe, and they do not know if
they can fix what is wrong.”
have been scared, perhaps, but there was something about the
grief in his eyes. I felt so sorry for him, sitting there,
holding my hand, and telling me I was going to die. It hurt
him to say that, I could tell, he didn’t like telling me
that I was going to die. Was this what he did all the
time? Sit at people’s bedsides and hold their hand while
they went to heaven?
That must be
an awful thing to do. “Does it hurt much,” I asked quietly,
wanting to hug the man, to tell him it was OK I had to die.
dying…not at all.” He didn’t understand what I meant.
dying, your job. Sitting here watching people like me,” I
meant the words, but they seemed to surprise Sam. Had that
not occurred to anyone else?
he admitted slowly. “It is not an easy thing to do, but its
part of life. It’s the One’s will.”
deciding that the One must be God. “Why does God make you
do it if it hurts so much?”
“It is what
I was made for, I can not be anything else.” The man looked
even more startled that I would even ask. “Why?”
know. You seem so upset.” It didn’t seem right to me that
anyone should be sad about something like that…well, outside
of my parents. I was told that the dead went to heaven.
Wasn’t that a happy place?
“Are you an
angel?” It finally occurred to me that I hadn’t ever asked
the most obvious question here. Who else would be sitting
here telling me I was supposed to die.
man’s sad expression softened, and he looked almost as if he
wanted to laugh. I didn’t understand why, I hadn’t said
anything particularly funny.
“My name is
Samael. I am an archangel. I oversee all matters of life
watch over me then, like a guardian angel?”
they are very different angels. No, I just fill a very
curious now. Perhaps I was dying, but I wanted to
understand who this angel was and why he felt so sad for
me. “If you were made to make sure I got to heaven, Sam,
why is it so upset? Is heaven a bad place?”
exclaimed, “No, heaven is a good place, a safe place. Most
souls are happy to go there.”
would you cry for me going?” It seemed a very logical
question to ask. After all, if heaven was a good place, why
cry about someone going there.
uneasily in the seat beside me, his gray suit looking
suddenly tight around his collar. “You are a child. You
have a life left to live, and that’s being denied to you.
That is something to cry about.”
I suppose it
was…I hadn’t thought about that. “That is sad,” I agreed,
thinking about the sound of my mother crying. I didn’t like
the sound. I wished she wouldn’t. It hurt to hear that
sort of keening noise out of her, as if it was her that was
hurting instead of me. I wanted to stop it somehow, to make
her better, to make Sam not sad.
asked gravely, turning my eyes up to his deep, dark ones.
“Is there any way I can go back? I don’t like to hear my
mother cry like that.”
He looked as
if he was going to say no, his white lips forming the words
in his face, but the sound not quite leaving his lips. He
paused, cocking his head carefully, as if thinking about it
for a long moment.
“No one has
ever asked me why it is I cry, or what makes me so sad. Not
in thousands of years.” Sam sounded awed I even did.
“I do not
know,” he admitted, eyes darting down to where I lay.
“Kathy I can do something I have never done for anyone, not
once in all of existence. I can give you back your life. I
can give you back to your mother, and I can let you live out
your days as anyone else does. But you have to give me
something of value in exchange.”
had nothing. Perhaps my favorite doll or my bicycle? I was
sure that was destroyed when I was hurt though. “What do
“You are a
little girl who sees and observes much. Much more than the
average person does. You saw the truth behind me
immediately.” There was a sort of pride on his face as he
smiled so gently it made me want to cry. “If you will give
me your eyesight, I will give you your life. You can return
to your mother, return to your friends, and live your life.
And it will make me happy seeing you alive.”
happy?” I hoped he would be. I didn’t like seeing Sam cry.
reached a hand up to brush at the hair on my forehead. “I
have never met a mortal so curious nor so concerned about me
before. You’ve touched a part of me that I did not think
was capable of being touched before, Kathy, the compassion I
had forgotten I had.” He leaned over, his breath smelling
of lilies and lilacs. “I’ll watch over you always, Kathy,
till I come to see you again.” His lips pressed against my
forehead softly, like the fluttering of butterfly wings. I
sighed as my eyes fluttered closed, stirring, opening again
to the sound of my mother’s quiet gasp.
baby,” she choked, her fingers smoothing my face. Fingers
that I could feel against my skin but couldn’t see, “Kathy,
its mommy. I’m here…can you hear me.”
momma,” I murmur, tears already clogging my now blank eyes,
I could hear her, but I couldn’t see her. Sam had been
right. He took my eyes away from me.
over you always, Kathy…
I cried more
because I couldn’t see my mother’s face than because I truly
missed my eyes. But I learned to see again, after a
fashion. My eyes never worked, but I could hear, and I
could smell, and I could touch. I learned to read the
things around me that not even keen eyesight could reveal to
me. I learned the nuances in my parents’ voices when they
spoke to each other over dinner, the hardening and cutting
of simple words such as “pass the peas” and “how was work
today, dear”, words that had I been seeing I wouldn’t have
understood nearly as well. I could feel the emptiness in
the house after my father left, mourned the lack of his
familiar tobacco and whiskey sent, and still stepped over
the spot where his slippers always used to lie in the living
I missed my
father, but I hated him as well. I knew about the secrets
he didn’t even tell my mother, not just the women, but also
the money, the other children, things he had lied about and
thought well hidden because no one could see them, least of
all me. He didn’t have to sit in the dark at night,
listening to my mother’s sobs, muffled by the pillow she
clung too, nor hear the despair under the tight smile I knew
she was wearing. She always smiled, even though I couldn’t
ever see it. It was important to Mom to keep up
this world often don’t say what they mean. The lack of
eyesight meant I learned to listen to the world around me
just as much as I had once watched it. And I learned, about
what people thought, and how, and why. I learned the
complexities of what we hear and what it might mean. It is
fascinating what people will say around you when they think
you can’t see them in their lies.
The ink on
my psychology degree was hardly dry when I saw Sam next. It
was my first job, a counseling service for troubled
students. I hadn’t thought I would see him again so soon,
not really. I was young, vibrant, thriving. I had someone
who loved me, and I him, and we were discussing marriage and
family, a life together. He didn’t care that I was blind,
and I didn’t care that I couldn’t see what he looked like.
I had to
admit, seeing Sam worried me this time. I had so much more
to lose than I had when I was just a child. I felt his
presence before I saw him, the lighter-than-air touch on the
shoulder, the scent of lily and lilac, his fingers on my
shoulder as his lips found my forehead.
I closed my
eyes and sighed. “Hello, Samael.” I turned to him;
surprised I could see him, but not overly so. His eyes were
just as fathomless, his smile just as dark and sad. He
seemed less plain now, more angular than I remembered,
almost beautiful, but in a way too sharp and bright for most
humans to find beautiful.
remember my name,” he seemed so pleased, lounging against
the far wall in jeans and a sweater, much like any of my
students would wear. “You have grown up, Kathy.”
Kathleen now,” I pointed out with a shy smile. “I want a
PhD, they have to take me seriously now.”
Kathleen it is,” he grinned broadly, a smile so dazzling it
nearly hurt to look at. “You are doing well for yourself,
my dear, so well. I am so very proud of you.” There was
pride glowing in those dark eyes of his, the sort of pride I
always envisioned on my father’s face. If he had ever
bothered to pay attention to the achievements his blind
daughter had earned.
Sam,” I smile shyly at him, basking in the appreciation so
rarely granted to me in life. “I could have hated you for
what you took from me. But I didn’t. I grew despite of it,
I achieved my degree, I want to help people like me who have
gone through what I have.” I could have allowed my lack of
eyesight to beat me. I didn’t.
“I suppose I
should thank you, Sam,” I murmur softly holding out a hand
for one of his thin, long ones. “You not only gave me life,
you gave me a purpose. And I can’t thank you enough for
eyes bore down on me, wide and full as something within him
welled and burst to the surface. I didn’t know if angels
can have feelings, or if they feel so much more than we
mortals do. It was so lovely, so blinding, that for the
briefest of moments I had to look away, unable to stand
seeing his face for al the sheer joy he radiated.
beautiful creature,” he whispered, over and over. “You
beautiful, beloved creature, Kathleen. You once touched my
heart by caring enough about me that you wanted to make me
feel better. Now you thank me for taking from you that
which you valued most? What the One did in creating you, I
do not know, but I thank him for it. You have given me
something I never thought I would ever have as one of the
that,” I wonder allowed, finally able to look upon him
replied, his fingers in my hand untangling to stroke my face
ever so lightly. Love? My thoughts swirled in a whirlwind
of panic, thinking of my fiancé, whose face I had never
seen, only touched. Here was an archangel offering me his
heart, a creature I had seen at least, the only thing I
could see with my ruined eyes. But he wasn’t flesh and
blood, he wasn’t mortal, he couldn’t live with me, be by my
side, love me as a mortal man could.
What did he
want from me?
sensing the anxiety and fear welling within me, he snatched
away his caressing hand, sorrow filling those glowing eyes.
“But I am divine, and you are not, Kathleen.” There was a
well of sorrow and pain in those words. “There are many who
have chosen to leave behind what is divinely theirs by right
for the world of man, for the love of mortals, for the
weight of the world. But I am Samael, the ‘bitter beverage
of God’; I am the cup that all mortals must drink from, even
you. And I can not turn my back on the One, not even for
the love of a woman as dear to me as you.”
relieved, yes…but saddened. He was such a beautiful
creature, such a lovely thing, so sad, so lonely, so
misunderstood. Humanity loved to fear and hate him for what
he was, death. But they never saw the beauty in death that
was Samael, the kindness, and the compassion. All they saw
was an ending, not a beginning. He was a creature to love,
to admire. But he wasn’t human, and we both knew that. And
somewhere, deep inside of me, I mourned that, despite the
amazing man whose ring I wore on my finger.
Even as this
realization solidified within me, Samael’s affection turned
darker, sadder, taking on a seriousness that broke the
warmth of our greeting. “I haven’t come here merely for
social visits, Kathleen. I do have grave news for you?”
have imagined you’d come to me if you didn’t,” I replied,
the worry returning with the gravity in his expression.
young people he was dressed as, he slid to the floor,
crossing his legs in front of him, looking up at me as if
pleading for an apology. “Kathleen, your father is dying.”
Somehow I knew he would say someone close to me, my mother
maybe, perhaps the man I wanted to marry. But my father? I
didn’t know what to say to that.
all I could manage softly, meeting his apprehension with
confusion. “I didn’t…has he been sick for long?”
Samael replied. “He has had it for years, but he refused to
say anything to you about it. He was afraid to.”
scoffed, anger rising up within me rather than the hurt, or
despair, or sadness I should have felt at the news that my
father was dying. “Afraid that I would be hurt, or afraid
to face what he did to my mother and me?”
Samael acknowledged reluctantly. “He knows the sins he
committed against you were wrong, Kathleen, they were things
that broke your mother’s heart and hurt you gravely. But he
is dying. I can not spare him like I spared you. He
deserves to have the ability to make his peace with you
before I take him away.”
peace,” I spat angrily, staring at the archangel as if he
were crazy. “He had no use for me, his blind daughter. Not
once in all of these years has he offered to help. Why
should I forgive him?”
“I did not
say forgive him, Kathleen, merely listen to him. Give him
the chance to clear his conscience before he is never given
that chance again.”
Damn him and
his angelic gaze, it cut through to my soul, and it hit the
part of me that knew that he was right, but didn’t want to
admit it. Damn it, and damn him, I seethed privately, as
Samael smiled softly, knowing what my thoughts were.
“I can not
be damned, Kathleen. But you are making my heart very
glad. Go see him, soon. He’ll be waiting for you. And so
reached up again for my cheek, grazing the bone just below
my eye, as he dissolved from before me, my vision clouding,
my world turning drab and gray once again. The brightness
that was the Angel of Death now was nothing more than a
vague play of light against shadow in my quiet office,
“Kath…Kathleen, you there?” It was my driver, one of the
students who made sure I got in and got home every night.
Her voice was bemused, frightened as she opened my door.
“You OK in here?”
turned by sightless face towards the voice. “Why?”
know, just sounded like you were talking to someone.” She
laughed, reaching for my elbow to help me up. “I don’t
know, perhaps I’m just imagining things.”
are,” I agree with a teasing smile that I don’t quite feel
in my heart.
I had a
heart, and my father broke it, a man who had betrayed my
mother and I in the worst way. But I did go to him, as
Samael asked. He was ill indeed, his lungs eaten away by a
hunger from within. I couldn’t see my once vibrant,
athletic father with my own eyes anymore, and for once I was
glad I couldn’t. Just hearing the wheeze in his voice, the
sound of the machines surrounding him, keeping him alive,
that was enough for me, enough to know that my father was
I sat by his
bedside for those last, final days, as he told me idyll
stories about growing up, about how he had once loved my
mother so much, about how proud he was of me as a daughter.
But with each shared story, each remembered laugh, I could
tell he was failing. I could hear the fading in his voice;
I could sense that the end was coming. And something about
that moment made me wish I could hold it back, just for a
moment, just to have an extra minute, an extra second with
It was on
the last day, in the morning, that he finally admitted to me
why it is that he left my mother and I. It wasn’t the women
he had been sleeping with for years, those were a dime a
dozen he said. “I couldn’t forgive myself for what had
happened to you, Kathleen.” He cried, dripping tears that
choked his feeble voice. “I was your father, I was the man
who was supposed to protect you from everything, and I
couldn’t even protect you from losing your eyesight.”
from within the room I could smell the soft, heady sent of
Samael’s passing, even thought I couldn’t see him. My
vision remained clouded and gray.
was an accident.’ I used term of endearment I hadn’t used
since he left us. “You couldn’t have stopped it.”
“No, but I
could have kept a better eye on you, called out to you when
that asshole hit you.”
couldn’t, and didn’t,” I replied softly, my fingers
searching for and finding his tear streaked, wasted face.
“Just think, how much worse could it have been? I could
have died in that accident.” I should have, and would have
if it weren’t for one archangel who took pity on me.
hand rested on my shoulder though it wasn’t visible. There
was comfort there in the ghostly presence, and I drew from
it as my father sobbed. I wiped at the tears, murmuring
soft and low to my father that I loved him, that it wasn’t
his fault, and that I knew that death was not a thing to be
frightened of. I knew because I had seen it. And it was a
lovely, peaceful event, and one that would take him from
this painful world to heaven. I knew it was true; I had
spoken to Samael myself.
later that day, with me at his bedside, holding his withered
hand, dozing in a chair beside him. Samael had come and
gone, without even a word of goodbye.
was buried, but I went on. I married my young man, his name
was Rick. We moved to a suburban house, much like the one I
had grown up in, so my mother said. I don’t know, I never
saw it. I wanted children. Rick loved me desperately, but
worried about how I would cope, blind as I was, with small
children in a home. My mother moved in, eager to remove an
impediment to her status as a grandmother, and eagerly
encouraged us “young ones” to get into the process of baby
I can’t say
I complained about that part at all.
I knew I was
pregnant almost from the moment my body began its physical
change. I couldn’t see the glowing that everyone said
expecting women had, but I could feel it. I sensed the new
and difference changes with my baby everyday. I would wake
to sense of another awareness fluttering within me, a small
life awakening to life. And at night I would lay down,
humming my baby softly to sleep, eager with the anticipation
of finally holding and meeting my child, of touching its
soft face, of breathing in its sweet scent. My days became
centered and focused on that one event, when everything in
my life would change forever.
was I to that sense of being within me that when I awoke one
day nearly nine months into my pregnancy and realized that
it wasn’t there, I felt naked and alone. As if someone had
stolen something vital from me while I slept in my own bed.
My hands reached across my swollen abdomen, but it was still
just as full, just as heavy as when I went to sleep that
night. But the presence was still, silent. And fear quaked
in my heart.
I waited for
it, refusing to rise out of bed, thinking perhaps the baby
was simply sleeping. Perhaps it was resting, and I was just
unaware of it. But I knew when the baby slept, and when it
was awake, and neither of those times felt like this, the
absolute quiet within my womb. Dread cut through me as I
lay in the silence of my room, hugging the round firmness of
my middle and wondering what had happened to my child.
“You know it
as surely as I do, Kathleen.”
It was the
voice I had feared the most.
I rose up in
my bed to face the one creature I had prayed not to see.
Samael sat on the end of the mattress, more delicate, more
beautiful than he had been before. He was ethereal, his
shining jet eyes meeting mine, unflinching, wrapped in robes
that were neither fabric nor light.
demon, at this moment I didn’t care. “Samael, you can’t
have my baby.”
it is done,” he said firmly, in a voice that lacked the
gentleness of my childhood and the love of my youth. It was
tired, sad, regretful…perhaps frightened. I couldn’t tell
as the angel tore his gaze from mine to my swollen belly,
covered in the fabric of my maternity nightgown. There was
anguish in his face, horrible anguish. Worse than the tears
he shed for me as a child, dying in her hospital bed.
“I am sorry,
Kathleen,” he murmured, so low I could barely hear him. “It
is the will of the One.”
“The will of
the One to take my child?” My voice was ringing so loud, it
hurt my ears, and caused the angel to flinch back, his
divine presence shrinking slightly at the sheer weight of my
outrage. “God can spare my life as a child, take away my
eyesight, destroy my family, and now take my child?” How
could this be, I wondered, silently demanding this of the
can not question the One’s will, no more than I can…” he
paused, stopping in what he was going to say. I knew the
words that almost tripped off his lips. He didn’t have to
than you can restore my child back to me.” The syllables
fell cold from my mouth, landing in between us like an
accusation. “Twenty years ago, you felt compassion enough
to save one little girl.”
and only time in existence, Kathleen. And I asked something
from you that you gave freely, that you gave out of
compassion for someone about to take your life.”
hurting him, paining him, tearing at him like nothing I had
ever seen for Samael. And somehow I couldn’t bring myself
to care. “You couldn’t show the same for my child? I
thought you said you loved me, Samael.”
If I had
slapped him, I couldn’t have wounded him deeper.
“I love you,
Kathleen, more than any mortal I have ever known. But I can
not change what I am. And I can not be anything else other
than that which the One created me to be. I told you that
before. Not even for the love of a mortal woman.” He rose,
slowly, his deep eyes aching as they swam before me, his
long, white fingers splayed as they reached, not for my hand
or my cheek, but for the swollen belly I cradled in my arms.
please don’t,” I wept, as his touch, so familiar, so
cherished once, fluttered across my skin, as the cramping
and pain began, fluid gushing from between my thighs as
tears brimmed over my eyelashes. Solemnly, Samael leaned in
close, his scent wrapped around me as I moaned and cried,
the pain cutting across my abdomen in ripples.
be other joys, Kathleen, those that I will not take away
from you. And I promise, I will take care of this little
one for you. You will see her again, and I will love her as
I love you…as I will always love you.”
you,” I cried through bitters sobs, twisting away from him
in pain and grief. “I hate you. Leave me, get away from
me, and never come back. I hate you!” I screamed and
screamed as he watched me, exquisite anguish on his face. I
didn’t care. I took my child away from me. How dare he say
he loved me?
my eyes against the rippling contractions as my mother
rushed into my room, terror lacing her voice as she called
first and ambulance, then my husband. When I opened them
again, the world had returned to the dark shades that my
life had become, and no Samael was in sight.
I gave birth
to a little girl…still born. I name her Angela. It just
seemed fitting. Rick thought it appropriate for his lost,
little girl, “an angel up in heaven” he said, sobbing the
whole way through her funeral. I didn’t shed a tear that
day, I couldn’t. I thought over and over of Samael’s
promise, of how he would take care of her, how he would love
Did he take
her to be with him because I didn’t want to go? I wondered
that some nights, as I lay beside Rick in our shared bed, he
sleeping soundly beside me as I patted the womb that had
once again been filled with Rick’s seed. This baby
survived, a boy named for his father. Three more came after
Ricky, two girls and a boy, all adored by their father,
doted on by their grandmother, and patiently loved by me.
But my heart
never stopped aching for Angela, the daughter I knew was
somewhere, with Samael. I wondered if he was living up to
the promise he made me. I couldn’t imagine he wasn’t.
Samael loved me dearly, something he had never given a
mortal before. And I returned his love with hate.
He had taken
my child. But would she have been happy living? Rick had
asked the doctors why it was this had happened. The had
sighted some confusing explanation of birth defects, a
random sequencing of genes in the cellular division that
meant Angela was created sick, even before she was born. It
was a combination that had missed her brothers and sisters.
Some strange twist, some fluke of fate, of will…of the One,
and Samael had been right.
I had been
wrong, but I couldn’t ask for his forgiveness. I hadn’t
seen Samael in years. My children had grown, married, and
had children of their own. I dotted on them as my mother
had dotted on my children, blind, Nana Katie, who would tell
them stories about the angel who visited her when she was a
very little girl. They grandchildren thought they were
pretty stories, and were amazed that Nana, for all of her
inability to see any of them and their antics, could tell
them such vivid stories about an angel with eyes as deep and
as black as midnight, who cried for a little girl who should
away shortly after our fiftieth anniversary. They didn’t
allow me to be with him that day. He had developed
Alzheimer’s, and being blind they didn’t trust me to take
care of my own husband. Instead they trundled him to a
nursing home, far away from me, where he died in his sleep
one night. I don’t know if Rick ever remembered who I was.
I had wanted to be there in the end, to be with him…and in
the hopes that Samael would be there, waiting for me. I had
wanted to apologize to him. To admit to him that after all
these years, I knew I had been wrong. But my children
hadn’t allowed me to go to him. They thought it would have
been too much for me to be there in Rick’s last moments.
indignity of old age is that one can’t force their children
into submission any longer. Not when they are grandparents
in their own right. And so I waited, at the house of my
eldest daughter, waited for the day when finally Samael
would come to me, as he came to everyone. My days moved by
patiently, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, more funerals
than weddings, birthdays. I had passed my own 87th. I
accepted the gifts, the well wishes, and waited, patiently
for Samael to arrive.
evening when he came. I was on my daughter’s back deck,
enjoying the last lovely evening of summer, a warm breeze on
my parchment cheeks, the mild sunshine I hadn’t seen in
decades. Roses bloomed out there, and their scent mingled
with the lily and lilac that was as familiar to me now as
the sound of my grandchildren’s laughter.
appear to me, not at first, but I could feel him, waiting
Kathleen,” his voice was soft and low, full of sadness and
longing. His fingers brushed against my wrinkled cheeks,
his lips glided against my brow. It was so welcome that
sensation of my old, familiar friend, that for a moment I
basked in it, the feel of him, and the smell of him, knowing
that he had returned at last.
Samael, I’m so sorry,” I whispered, tears leaking out of my
aged eyes. “I shouldn’t have blamed you for Angela, I’m
he whispered gently in my ear, “I forgave you before you
even grew angry with me. How could I not, my love?” I felt
him tip my face up, to look at him as he stood before me.
breath, he was so beautiful, they say his name meant “bitter
cup”, or “poison”. But there was nothing vile about him.
He stood before me, an archangel in all of his majesty, tall
and terrible, so bright I could barely stand seeing him.
Around him showed the aura of what he was, the glowing
brilliance of the divinity that marked him as the powerful,
awful being known as Samael, an Archangel of God.
He was as
naked as an angel could ever be, I suppose, hiding nothing
from me. And I could somehow stand it without losing my
why, my love,” he chuckled, his eyes, once dark, now glowing
with silver fire as he smiled down on me. “It’s because you
are not mortal any longer.”
sense. “Oh,” I replied absently, realizing for the first
time that I wasn’t resting on the chaise lounge on my
daughter’s deck. I was standing before him. And despite
the brilliant, blinding presence that encompassed him, it
wasn’t just Samael that I was seeing.
everything, all of creation, in bright, vivid colors. Just
like I had seen them as a child, so long ago.
died,” I murmured in awe, just as I did when I was still
just a girl, and he first came to my bedside, so long ago.
yes,” Samael replied, bemused. “I do not think you can give
me anything to save you this time, Kathleen.”
right,” I assured him, laughingly spinning to face him, this
lovely, divine creature. “You’ve given me so much already.
A life perhaps that I should never have had?”
perhaps it was the will of the one you should always have
it.” Always with the will of the One, I smiled. It was
“And it is
not for any of us lesser beings to understand,” Samael’s
smile nearly outshone the fading sun. “Kathleen, I have
waited for a long time for you to be with me. Are you ready
to leave this place, to see those you love?
To see those
I loved? My heart nearly sang with the idea of it. Seeing
them, really seeing them. My parents whose faces were
locked forever in the memory of a child, my husband whose
features I only knew from fevered fingers playing across
them in the heat of passion. My daughter, my darling
Angela, who died before I could even hold her, kiss her, get
to know her. I could see them all…really see them.
whose face was now fully revealed, and just as comforting to
me as it had been all of my life. Bright and brilliant and
shining in the eyes that I had forgotten I had. Or at least
the eyes that had been, up to this point, veiled, waiting
for the moment when I would understand all of the things
that my keen observation saw.
out his hand to me, gleaming and shining, surrounded with
shimmering, fiery light. “Come along, Kathleen.”
hesitation, I took it, my heart full and my eyes wide. “I’m
ready to go now, Sam.”