Must be Talking to an Angel
By Susan Browne © Susan Browne 2012 and 2018
Angel Story. Published by Woman’s Way Magazine, Ireland February 20th, 2012.
Marilyn gripped her mug of tea as her friend Annabel continued with zest. ‘You should read the book after me. And since I have started reading it I have had lots of angel signs. I keep finding white feathers, hearing songs about angels on the radio and I know it’s them. Of course, it was probably happening all along I just didn’t notice.’
Marylin watched her as she spoke. She did look different. She had a glow that wasn’t there before. But something about what she was talking about seemed to create a knot in Marilyn’s stomach and transported her back into a classroom where she was about six.
She allowed herself to drift away from her friend and into the memory for a look around. The children were all listening intently. She couldn’t hear what the teacher was saying, but she sensed it was somehow connected to what Annabel was telling her.
‘Well, what do you think? I’ll be finished by this evening. I could drop it over.’
‘Okay,’ she sighed heavily.
‘What’s wrong? You love reading.’
‘I don’t know, Annabel. All this angel stuff. It’s not really for me.’
Annabel looked at her, crestfallen. Marilyn tried to make amends. ‘It’s certainly suiting you though. Just look at you; you’re radiant.’
‘I know. I feel a hundred times better. My life is changing in a way I can’t explain.’
That night Marilyn dreamed of being back in the classroom. She could smell the little pile of fresh pencil shavings carefully discarded in her inkwell as she tried to rub black marks off her fingers.
Miss Kelly was pointing at chalked letters on the blackboard. Little Marilyn watched colours dance and swirl around her. She saw a figure of light standing close to her, glowing and watching on lovingly. The golden form looked over at Marilyn and smiled. Then she demonstrated breathing slowly in and out, pointing at Miss Kelly. Marilyn’s mouth opened and the words simply tumbled out, ‘Miss Kelly I think your angel says you must stop and take a breath.’
The class went quiet and thirty-six eyes turned to face Marily. Miss Kelly’s angel seemed to flinch.
‘What did you say?’ the teachers face turned crimson and the colours around her turned into an ugly grey mist. Miss Kelly stormed over and cracked a wooden ruler across her little hands. The hurt and confusion she felt were much worse than the physical pain. Miss Kelly was her favourite teacher. She woke out of her dream and quietly got out of bed, reading the time as only 4:44. She wept as she relived the incident, trying to make sense of it. She made herself a hot drink and did some tidying before her body demanded she get back into bed. Immediately she slipped into another dream. This time Miss Kelly was an older woman dressed in a green jacket. Miss Kelly was apologising to her profusely. The dream was so clear.
‘It’s alright,’ she kept telling her, embarrassed.
‘I would love to make it up to you. What a beautiful child, telling me my angel’s message. How cruel I was.’ Marilyn saw her angel again, laughing and rejoicing, shining and spinning around her. She was also aware of her own angel embracing her with golden light.
‘I forgive you Miss Kelly,’ and she did.
When Marilyn awoke the next morning she had the urge to ring her friend Annabel straight away to tell her about the dream but something stopped her. It was just a dream after all. On her drive to work she turned on the radio only to hear the lines ‘must be talking to an angel,’ by The Eurythmics. It made her laugh. ‘So maybe there are angels,’ she smiled. She remembered to buy some sugar at the last minute and stopped at a different shop than usual. She joined the queue and gasped as Miss Kelly joined after her. She hadn’t seen her in years but was stunned to see her wearing the same green jacket that she had worn in the dream. The retired teacher gave her a warm smile.
‘You’re Marilyn, aren’t you?’ she said.
‘Yes Miss Kelly,’ she said.
‘Please call me Margaret. Can I talk to you for a minute?’ she said after a pause.
Marilyn agreed, feeling apprehensive as they walked out of the shop together.
‘Here is okay,’ she said. ‘I just wanted to thank you.’
‘What for?’ asked Marilyn.
‘I know this might sound a little strange, but I’ve always believed something you said to me when you were a child made me stop smoking. I was very hard on you when you said it, because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I used to smoke sixty a day, I had terrible chest problems, and my mother was the same and died young because of it. I grieved terribly for her. But what you said made me stop immediately. I never smoked since. I am deeply indebted to you.’
‘Wow. That’s quite amazing,’ said Marilyn.
‘Can you still see angels?’ she asked.
Marilyn’s face reddened. Then she realised there was no need to feel afraid. ‘I did in my dream last night.’
‘Well I often see them these days, and your angel says there is a book you ought to read,’ she grinned. The light twinkled in her eyes. ‘I’m so delighted I met you,’ she said, and waved as she walked away.