Angels On High
By Julie Galosy
We were lying on the beach. Directly on the beach actually, couldn’t be bothered to put down a blanket or a towel. Intertwined like the lovers we were, we were content in our isolation with the soft sand supporting every curve. The night was deep blue-black and clear, with a generous palette of bright stars. As we lay there silently watching the heavens, the townspeople began to populate the beach, anticipating the fireworks occurring every year at these fiestas in Spain. Unlike us just-arrived foreigners, they brought blankets and chairs and beer and three generations of family and noise. Our reverie over, we turned in the sand and inspected the gathering crowds.
The people spread out across the crescent-shaped beach as it hugged the Mediterranean, one point going out to sea and the other supporting El Cid’s castle. It really was El Cid’s castle. Charlton Heston’s fake, dead, movie body was strapped to its horse in that very castle. We watched the moon shine over that castle now and direct its beam across the sea to the beach now covered with the still-arriving villagers.
No movie set anymore, the fireworks were starting as anticipated, with the rockets and the starbursts and then the staccato explosions, eliciting the “oohs” and “aahs” of the gathered spectators. The booms were immediately overhead, sprinkling down on us from above as we lay embedded in the sand. As these things go we expected the noise and the excitement to escalate—more, bigger, brighter—until the grand finale.
We scootched down into the sand preparing for the inevitable last great blast; but it never came. Instead a series of quiet shots almost whispered the incendaries into the air. With a gentle whoosh they opened overhead. No great booms followed by canon shots. To our surprise and wonder, the heavens were blanketed instead with thousands and thousands of silent gossamer parachutes, a sea of gelatinous jelly fish floating in the night sky.
The stars shone through the fragile creatures as they rode the gentle breezes. Each parachute trailed a luminous filament at the end of which burned a flame. A blanket of reverential quiet covered the crowd as the battalion of angels spun and twirled and jumped through the darkness. The threads with their accompanying flames followed them like lions´ tails. The silence was deeper now as we all watched the celestial ballet performed overhead.
On and on they danced as they gently floated toward the earth. Down they twirled swaying: a swarm of alien creatures. As they came closer and closer–still shimmering overhead—the fire climbed up each filament to meet its host. Angels coming down, flames going up, until just ten feet above our heads, they met in one last breath of existence until they disappeared one by one. All was silence.