He can feel it, the place in the sand where his wings would have brushed it, dug into it. Of course his wings are gone, ripped from him as a punishment. He has almost forgotten why they were.
He hasn’t sat on this beach since the very beginning of his time of breathing, smelling and fearing with the humans. It was hundreds of years ago and now his mind is clouded with the endless thoughts and emotions that seep off those around him and creep into his mind like roots digging in the ground.
When he first fell he sat here every year, waiting for his redemption to come. He soon learnt that snow doesn’t fall on a beach in the southern hemisphere on Christmas day very often, if at all and a sinking realisation came over him that he was stuck with the mortals, maybe forever.
Time passed so differently for mortals, so slowly and his imortality played a tune in his soul every minute, over and over reminding him of his eternal dismemberment from god.
The world became his classroom. Lessons in human living. How he hated them at first. Their weakness, their stench, their constant need to be told how wonderful they were. Why did they need each other so? What was so important about their need for love from another being? Couldn’t they understand that the universe had been made for them to experience?
He used to walk around the world, through the colourful markets, sit in the meeting places, the churches and just watch them and try to fathom them and why they were so foreign to him. Why they were so ignorant.
On one of these wandering days he came across a girl sitting crying on the dirt floor of a back room in a house. He watched her for a bit before deciding to ask her why she was bothering with the tears when the world belonged to her. For a full minute she stared at him before running at him, clenching her fists and proceeded to hit him, again and again and again.
When she had stopped hitting him, she sat on the floor again and spoke to him, but not just to him but to the heart that was beating in his chest. The heart that until now he had ignored.
“Archangel. Yes, I know what you are. I see things that others cannot. How can you judge my tears? How can you tell me that the world is mine when I sit on a dirt floor waiting for hunger to take my life. What good is telling me the world is mine when I cannot eat it, get warmth from it. Will it come and take me in it’s arms and tell me it loves me? No it won’t and you do nothing but mock me by telling me that it is mine.”
His next breath in was sharp in his chest, for he realised what he had been blind to all along. They didn’t know that the world and indeed the universe were created for them, for the plethora of experience. In that moment he understood that that was how his penance was really to be played out. Losing his wings was just a way to show his heart how to behave. How to beat. How to experience love the way it was meant to be experienced, through the eyes of mortality.
He took her in his arms and explained that if she truly understood that God was in her and that she could have his love and power whenever she wanted. All she had to do was allow him access to everything, every experience. If she allowed the source of all things to experience what being a human was all about through her – including her pain – then the world could indeed be hers. His words sunk into her soul and suddenly she knew how to be the person she was wanting to be.
He told her to tell this to other people, to tell as many as she could.
After he left her, he did the same. Going to marketplaces and churches, homes and meeting places and telling them what he had told her. Some believed him and some not. But after telling his message for a long time it finally started being told back to him and realised that maybe now he understood the real reason for his being on earth.
He went back and sat on the beach and watched the waves. He was not really expecting snow to fall, but he sat there anyway. As the day drifted on towards dusk a few flakes of snow started to fall on to the sand. More and more fell and he felt his back start to twitch and strain. Bigger snowflakes started to fall and as they hit him they turned into to feathers lining up along his back until he could spread his wings wide and take flight once more.
He floated for a while watching the waves from his new viewpoint and realised how wonderful the world was now that he had seen it with the eyes of a mortal. Flying into the sky he made a covenant with himself that he would never let his human heart stop beating in his chest as a reminder of how magic it was to be human.