‘I think you might have something I want,’ the purple winged angel said, strolling into my dining room.
‘I’m not speaking to you. Really, I’m not. I’m doing a lot of thinking, and I am rapidly reaching the conclusion that you’ve got nothing to do with anything. You didn’t sort out that prescription on Saturday. I’d just forgotten I’d already done it.’
‘Ok.’ The angel went over to the CD collection. I left him to it. I’d just managed to coax the sewing machine back to life after it died in the middle of the craft party on Sunday, and was trying to catch up with the backlog of carefully cut-out shapes that the children’s friends had prepared, ready to stuff with lavender and present as gifts. ‘Can we listen to this one?’
‘You’ve got the man himself up where you come from. I don’t see why you’d want to listen to our CDs.’
‘Yes, but I don’t have the option of listening to him live, do I?’ I was lost in a train of thought about how, if I were to write about making the lavender bags, and someone made a film in which someone like me was making lavender bags, the film would show the various shapes whizzing easily through the machine as a small pile of finished bags grew steadily to an uplifting soundtrack. And I was thinking about how far removed from that image the experience actually is. I’d bought a remnant of pink velvet and a piece of printed cotton. They look so pretty together but the velvet pile slips all over the cotton, so the two sides of the bag don’t stay together and unless you keep the most careful of eyes upon it, you find you’ve lost one half while the other is stitched into oblivion.
And then the machine jammed again.
‘See?’ I snapped. ‘I am doing a GOOD THING here. And I am being frustrated at EVERY TURN. You could just wave a feather and fix the machine. You could wave two and have these lavender bags all done. Or three and have dinner in the oven at the same time. Well? Couldn’t you?’
‘Let’s say I could. How would you want me to use that gift?’
I was on safe ground now. I read a lot, and I know better than to waste a wish on lavender bags or getting ahead with dinner. I’ve dreamed about this scenario so many times that I know exactly what to ask for.
‘I want you to make James well,’ I said. ‘I want God to take away the auto-immune condition that hovers over him, and therefore over this entire family. I don’t ever want to worry about strange drugs, or the side effects of steroids, ever again. If you do that, then I’ll make every single one of the rest of my Advent posts a heart-warming, life-affirming testimony to Christian faith. I’ll never doubt his existence again. I might even start using a capital letter for his pronoun.’
‘If that’s still your wish tomorrow. Have a think. Can I borrow this?’ He held up Prince’s CD Planet Earth.
‘That’s the one that came free with the Daily Mail in 2007,’ I said, astonished.
‘I know,’ the angel said. ‘There is no Daily Mail where I come from.’