Shards of Glass

by Dhwani Yagnaraman

If I tell you that I glimpsed an angel, you would probably laugh your head off, and once you were done guffawing, you would look up at me through blurred eyes and ask me if I was kidding.

Seeing my serious expression, you’d probably say, “Hallucination, my dear friend! That’s the answer to your problem. I’m sure you’re not some kind of saint to be privileged to see one!”

Well, whatever you think or day, the truth is that I really did see an angel… it was, or she was…or whatever that was … was very beautiful. I’m guessing it was an angel or may be it was a person with a bird behind her (hence the wings)! I have no clue. But I’ll go with angel.

She was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Her curly hair reached her waist, slithering down her back and moving with the breeze. Streaking her hair were honey, lemon and ash blonde tinges, as if someone had had limited space to find all the shades of yellow.

Her eyes were sharp and daring like a feline’s, with precise angles and hazel eyeballs. A drop of innocence still lingered in them, despite the fear that had eclipsed the naïveté.

Her nose and lips could not have been moulded more perfectly, blending life and tone until they merged flawlessly as if God had sculpted her face himself, using only a chisel and his artistic hands. Her feet sounded like velvet drops on the cobbled steps of my house.

A radiant smile stretched across her lips, completely devoid of creases to taint the perfect picture. A simple dress that hung close to her made her look more gorgeous than ever.

It ruined the stereotype of angels I had in mind–a pretty woman with a halo and pale blue wings with gospel music playing in the background. She seemed distracted and hastily looked away. She hadn’t seen me yet.

A sound similar to paper burning and crackling under orange tongues of flame reached my ears. Her wings had unfurled, stretching across and obstructing my vision beyond her.

Gleaming raven feathers crumpled and ruffled. It would have made the proudest peacock turn away in shame, burying its heads in its pathetic amateur feathers. The light danced on her wings emphasizing the glossy black of her wings that emerged from her back.

She turned to look down, her eyes flickering towards me with contempt. And just like that, like a stone rippling water, the  taunt in her eyes marred her soulful expression.

The vanity I thought only humans possessed was the dead end I reached while running through the labyrinth of expressions that had built up inside her over centuries. With a bitter laugh, she began walking towards me, feet treading the imperfect contours of stone. I stood, numb with shock: What was she going to do to me?

I was afraid of the malicious expression that spread across her face. What was she going to do? I suddenly felt small and insignificant before this bright-eyed angel.

I stood there, fidgeting with the torn strings of my old greasy shorts. My hands were half in and half out of my pockets, while she was stepping over the splintered glass that had finally shattered into a thousand fragments and fallen on the floor.

What was I compared to her? Pathetic was an overstatement. She seemed like Perfection personified while I would probably Flaws personified with my perennially irrevocable scowl and short temper.

I dug my nails into my palm, enjoying the sting of pain that shot through my hands. I looked at her, overcome by curiosity.

She put her hand out, trying to reach for me, her eyes morphing into concern. Her hands came closer to my face with every passing second. But her hand stopped halfway, as if I was not worth trying to call, as if she’d had second thoughts.

The vanity and contempt flickered into curiosity, concern and another emotion that I failed to fathom. Her hand hit the glass; I recognized the noise I had made a few days ago when I had managed to break the only mirror in our house by tripping clumsily over nothing.

I could hear the glass’s impish giggles on preventing her from reaching to me. I couldn’t understand what she was trying to say through her actions. Nevertheless, I reached forward and put my hand over hers, ignoring the smashed mirror in between. They were identical, unlike the angel and I.

I had imagined her to have elegant hands with blue veins showing through her alabaster skin and long fingers like an artist’s. But they were thick and mundane like mine.

I looked up at here eyes, trying to decipher her message. I saw her eyes dissolve into my own cold charcoal ones, with hints of sarcasm, cynicism and bitterness. Beneath this protective hide, lay passion unlimited, for all that I loved, hidden beneath who I was, in depths that no one had ever bothered to explore. And so, the potential just sat there, waiting to be discovered.

She was now smiling and the concern escaped from her face. Was she happy that I saw my eyes in her perfect face, tarnishing her beauty? But why did this happen? Do angels have some kind of transforming ability? Or was I just daydreaming?

Maybe if I blinked, her eyes would return to normal. I tried it and it didn’t work. She stood there with her radiant smile and my imperfect eyes. I had no idea of what was happening.

Her eyes twinkled at me and her smile transformed into my crooked grin, causing me to hastily pull back my hand and clamp my eyes shut. My own eyes in her face twinkling at me, the way mine did haunted my mind.

The crooked smile that we now shared, revealed uneven teeth and a hint of a sneer. That, too, plagued my mind with uninvited thoughts. I was afraid that I would see some sort of distorted image when I opened my eyes again.

I tried to imagine what it would be like if there was no mirror between us, if she had actually managed to touch my face. Would her hand send chilly sparks through me, leaving me weak in the stomach? Or would it be warm and comforting like the firm, callused hand of my mother that left me trembling with warmth? I would never know!

With a sigh of exasperation, my eyes fluttered open, hoping that she was still standing there on the other side of the glass, waiting for me to understand what I saw. I was afraid to look at her, fearing that she had disappeared. For almost two minutes, I stood squinting at the mirror, with my eyes open, but not wide enough to see clearly.

After a while, a wave of impatience swept through me and I stared at the glass before my manipulative mind could protest. All that I was looking at, was myself in the mirror …

Dhwani Yagnaraman is 14 years old and a student at Vidya Valley School in Pune, India. She enjoys reading, writing stories and playing the violin.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tazeem
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 15:52:41

    heyy Dhwani…loved it seriously..! wat an imagination 🙂 beautiful..

    Please do reach me out to me if you are on FB….… please…


  2. Tejashree
    Jun 18, 2012 @ 16:28:17

    Good descriptive language and great imagination!


  3. -
    Jun 29, 2012 @ 10:15:04

    This was great! Beautiful imagination! Just loved it!


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