Christina Coates

pewter angel

It’s 5.30 am and I’m in the Gardens and there is a pewter angel sticking out of my mouth. It’s like she’s a fekking emblem on the front of a car or on the bow of a ship. Words, ideas explode in my head because I just can’t get them past her – she’s taken up residence, the bitch. I can’t say a thing. People stop and stare at me walking here in the Gardens – it is like I’m a bloody Rolls Royce or something. “That’s beautiful,” an old woman says and stops to reach to and touch it, I want to say, “Fuck off! Leave me alone!” but I can’t so I stare at her – stare daggers at her eyes until she says, “I’m sorry. I beg your pardon,” and slinks off. I’m walking around the tall pear tree – it’s Van Riebeeck’s blasted pear tree. Lightening should strike it down properly next time. A boy points at me and stares. I hiss – that’s a relief. I can make a sound even though I sound like a snake. He skittles off to his mother. “Mommy’s boy,” I hiss after him.

My heart is cleft in two. Half of it lies on the gravel at my feet. A trail of blood, like a string, pearls its way to me and everyone can see it’s my fault. I don’t know how I did it but I’m guilty as hell. There’s blood on my hands. People cluster around, One points at me and I hiss, steam escapes my nostrils. It’s a pressure release. He fucking left me and now it’s all my fault. My blood is what’s on my hands and I can’t even tell them what happened.

A policeman is coming – he parts the crowd like he’s fucking Moses. His arms are stiff wings and he takes hold of my arm making as if to lead me away but I buck like a fekkin bronco and he misses. He shouts into his walkie-talkie thing. Don’t they have cell phones these bastard cops? It’s the bloody 21st century! I wish I could scream that idea to him but my mouth is full of angel and it’s hurting my teeth, teeth I wonder about them. Would they have survived? I had nice teeth – the one nice thing about me and my sister was jealous. Her teeth were like bad mielie pits. But here’s the hero Moses again parting the waves and it’s fucking Joshua with him, they’ve brought their chariot and I suppose they will take me to fucking heaven now.

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