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by Edward F. Petersen
One morning, after dreaming a marvelous dream about flying around among the stars, Angela Di Volo woke up with wings.
She felt something lumpy beneath her shoulders and when there was nothing in her bed, she checked herself out in the mirror and there they were. They were tiny, yes, but there was definitely a pair of pearly white wings sprouting from her back. The white feathers shimmered ever so faintly with hints of pink and blue.
It was hard for Angela to get dressed that morning. She had to cut holes in her blouse and in the new yellow sweater that she just got for her birthday so that her wings could poke through.
Angela showed up at the breakfast table and poured milk on her cheerios as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
“Well, well, well, this is a wonderful surprise,” Mom said beaming a bright smile..
“Pff, why should you get wings?” Her brother Anthony asked in a disgusted voice. “You cheat at cards, you tell fibs and you’re always sneaking into my room and scratching up my guitar.”
“Angela - Always - Gets - Everything!” Her sister, Amanda complained. “I can’t stand it! Now she’ll really think she’s something special.”
Dad flashed Anthony and Amanda a frown over his newspaper.
“We’re ALL very proud of you, Angela” He said, ”VERY proud!”
On her way to school, Angela tried flapping her new wings, but they were too small to lift her even an inch off the ground. Billy McLoon swiped her speller and laid it up like a basketball on top of the school yard wall.
“Ha, you have wings and I can still jump higher than you, Di Volo.” Billy said strutting away.
Angela had to go back to the gate, climb the steps and walk all the way around to retrieve her book.
It was hard for Angela to sit comfortably at her desk in the classroom. She had to practice folding her wings a few times before she could lean back against her chair.
Angela’s teacher noticed and rolled her eyes.
“Let’s see if our winged wonder-girl can name the capital of New Zealand?” Mrs. Kribinski asked with a touch of meanness in her voice.
“It’s Wellington,” Angela said. Although she was quite amazed that she knew the answer. She certainly didn’t remember studying it.
“Hmmph, that is correct,” Mrs. Kribinski said.
At lunch break, Angela sat down with her friends as usual.
“You’re no better than we are, Angie!” Megan immediately insisted.
“That’s right!” Theresa agreed. “I think we should tell everybody all the bad stuff we know about you just to keep your head from swelling too much.”
“If anybody should have sprouted wings, it certainly should have been me.” Lizbeth said in a huff. “I’m the one who helps out at the homeless shelter on Tuesdays after school.”
After school, Billy McLoon replayed his morning prank and reverse dunked her speller on top of the school yard wall again.
“Let’s see you fly up and get that one, Di Volo.” Billy teased. And then he flapped his arms and made bird calls all the way to the end of the block.
Mr. Peck, the gym teacher walked by, but he looked away and pretended not to see what had happened. So Angela had to go all the way back around for the second time that day to get her book.
Angela stopped in at Palmer’s to get a Strawberry-Banana Nectar. Mrs. Palmer looked down suspiciously at her.
“I’ve got my eye on you, Missy. You ain’t foolin’ me with them there wings. Make sure ya take a bottle in front of the cooler. Don’t go diggin’ in the back for one ya think might be a little colder. You’ll let all the cold air out . . . and no free tastes of them cherries nor them grapes today either.”
Angela paid for the drink and as she was leaving, she heard Mrs. Palmer mumble under her breath,
“I can’t believe one of them little pains sprouted wings. What in heaven’s name’s gonna happen next?”
Angela decided to stop and drink her nectar in Silver Lake Park. She carefully draped her wings over the back of the bench when she sat down. Old Mr Griffin was there in his usual spot feeding the ducks and geese. He frowned as he watched her fix her wings.
“We don’t take kindly to peculiar development of feathers around here, Young Lady.” Mr. Griffin said. “We like our young people as well as our birds to grow up completely within the ordinary, down to earth, laws of nature . . . especially as they pertain to the acquirement of wings.”
Old Mr. Griffin grabbed his cane and his plastic bag full of stale bread and limped away.
Angela made her way home along Main Street. Every now and then she would catch a glimpse of her wings reflected in a store window. She tried her best to ignore all of the disapproving glances and sarcastic comments from the passers-by.
“Is that Angela Di Volo who grew those wings? I don’t believe it” Mrs. Martin said.
“Neither do I,” Mrs McLoon said. “My Billy should be the one with wings. He’s a perfectly splendid boy. Always kind to everybody . . . and he’s so good at basketball,” she whispered.
“Perhaps I should go home to see if my daughter, Lizbeth has sprouted wings.” Mrs. Swanson wondered. “ She volunteers at the homeless shelter on Tuesdays after school you know. I bet that I’ll find her with enormous wings fluttering around above our roof.”
It was spaghetti night at the Di Volo dinner table, Angela’ favorite, but Amanda and Anthony started in before the meatballs were even passed.
“We don’t like it. We don’t like being the brother and sister of THAT girl with the wings one little bit.”
“Now cherubs, Mom said, “we should all celebrate Angela’s wings. BE HAPPY for your sister!”
“Yes, Dad said. “You both have wonderful gifts as well. Anthony, you are a talented guitar player and Amanda, you won second prize at the science fair. Your volcano that erupted with melted chocolate lava was certainly a hit . . . and delicious I might add”
“Yeah, well, we’re not the cherubs. SHE IS!” Anthony exclaimed.
“All the kids at school are already calling me the Di Volo with nolo wings and they keep stretching the collar on my sweater so they can look down the back of it pretending to check,” Amanda complained.
“Everyone will get used to Angela’s wings,” Dad said. It’ll get to where no one even notices. anymore”
“I doubt it,” Anthony said.
“I double doubt it,” Amanda said
Angela double doubted it too and she was getting totally tired of all the commotion they were causing. She wondered if she were a little bit bad if they might disappear. Nothing evil or hurtful mind you, just some teeny weeny naughtiness. Deep down, she wished that she could keep them even though they didn’t really work and she knew they would probably always be trouble. But, for the good of her brother, her sister, her friends . . . and for her own peace, Angela vowed to do her best to be a little bit bad.
She thought she would start out by cheating at Solitaire, but she won on the first deal even though she had shuffled the cards very carefully.
Next, Angela figured that she would tell a lie. Maybe a nice juicy fib would be just the thing. She remembered that she had a lot of geography homework to do that night, so she told her mother that she didn’t have any at all. But later, when Angela looked in her notebook she discovered that she had already completed tonight’s assignment last night.
Angela decided to take one more shot at being bad. She would sneak into Anthony’s room and play around with his precious guitar. She always got in trouble for that. But when she got there, she noticed a stream of apple juice from a leaky bottle was about to drip down all over it. So Angela ended up actually saving her brother’s guitar from being ruined.
What was going on? She was trying to be bad, but things kept on turning out very good. Angela examined her wings in Anthony’s mirror. They were definitely still there and she couldn’t be sure, but they looked like they might have even grown a tad.
“Oh well,” she thought, “I gave it a try.”
Angela went out into the backyard to think. She looked up at the sky and she remembered her dream about flying around among the stars. She wondered where the stars came from and if they ended somewhere up there or just went on and on forever.
“Since I’m going to be stuck with these wings anyway,” she said to herself, “I only wish they actually worked. I would love to able to use them to find out all about the stars.
Angela was becoming lost in beautiful thoughts of soaring higher and higher among the stars when she started to feel something unbelievably strange and wonderful. She wondered what was going on and then she realized her tiny, pearly white wings were ever so gently flapping and she really was flying.
. . . even if it was only about an inch up off the ground.
ANGELA’S WINGS Copyright © Edward F. Petersen 2015
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