by Alli Kirkham
Michael stood at the bottom of the telephone pole and looked up. Perhaps it was not so very high as he had supposed. The angel sitting on top of it certainly didn't seem to mind, anyway.
"Sir?" Michael called up to it. He wasn't sure if it was a boy angel or a girl angel or a neither angel but "sir" was the only honorarium he really knew. He was just a very little boy. "Why are you up there, sir?"
"Don't shout, child," the angel said, very quietly; its voice carried down to Michael easily. "I can hear your heartbeat from here - your shouting only hurts my ears."
"I'm sorry," Michael whispered, glancing around to make sure that they were still unobserved. It was getting to be close to time for the schoolbus to arrive. "But why are you up there?"
"It seemed like the place that I was supposed to be." This was answer enough for the little boy. He nodded cheerily and waved his hand and scampered away to the orange vehicle rounding the corner.
Hours later the creaking bus squealed to a halt and Michael's energetic form bounded out if it and down the street. He bounced into his house and up to his room, and was just piling up a mound of comic books in front of him when he noticed that the angel was now perched on top of the neighbor's house. Michael cocked his head to the side, studying the bright gold and white and gray creature only a few feet away and looking into his window. Michael pushed the pane out of the way and waved.
"Why are you over there now? Was it too windy on the pole?"
The angel nodded. "It was quite windy, and it smells better here too."
Michael sniffed cautiously at the air outside. "It smells the same to me."
The angel shrugged. "Well, then let us just say that is smells more right here than it did there. Read your books; I must think."
So Michael closed his window and pored over his comics until his parents called him to dinner. When he came back upstairs the angel was gone.
Ten years later, on a trip to the museum with his school, Michael saw the angel reproduced in stone. While the rest of his class wandered on and looked at paintings and laughed with one another, Michael spoke to the stone angel.
"Was it too windy on the roof too? Or did the smell change that night?"
Just as the young man was about to turn away, feeling foolish for his fancies, the angel spoke in its quiet voice. "It was no longer the place where I needed to be. That is all."
Michael frowned. "What changed?"
The angel answered: "You did." It spoke no more to Michael that day, or ever again.