My mother always told me I was an angel.
Okay, had to put my pen down for a minute, I was laughing so hard reading what I just wrote. I don’t mean that in some sappy, warm and fuzzy way. I mean like an actual, literal angel — beautiful, terrifying, fire and brimstone, the whole bit. She used to say that with our power anyone could see we were born to rule, but our cousins had chosen instead to serve those less worthy than they were, to make themselves into slaves to a thing that didn’t even exist because they were too afraid to face the obvious truth that there is no power in the universe greater than we are, and that because of this it is our right — and responsibility — to rule.
My mom tends to go on like that sometimes. It’s kind of cool, but also kind of not? Anyway, she is definitely an angel. Why else would I be so scared of her? As for me… I mean, on the one hand it just makes sense: My mother is an angel, my father is an (extremely creepy) angel, even my idiot brother is an angel, therefore I am an angel — Q.E.D. But lately I’m not so sure anymore. I guess I have you to thank for that, just like I have you to thank for whatever the hell is going on with my eyes. Before I followed you up that stupid tree it never occurred to me to think I’m not exactly what my mother told me I was. But now…
They could have been lying. An angel can lie, I know that much. But the thing that keeps bugging me is that I can’t figure out what reason they would have had to lie to me about that. To make you pity me? Your Insufferable Highness had already made it crystal clear that’s how you felt about me, and to tell the truth it didn’t look to me like your angel pals were buying it.
How dare you pity me, by the way? How dare you pity me? You think you’re so special because some feathery suck-up gave you a sparkly crown and told you to go out and play hero? You
Okay, had to take a break for a minute. Anyway, the school library keeps copies of all the old year books, did you know that? Well they do. So one night while Mom was out plotting world domination and Azrael was off admiring himself in the mirror or whatever he does when he’s alone, I snuck off by myself to take a look. I figured if I really used to be a human then I must have gone to this school, right? Mom’s been living here since before this town was founded, there’s no reason for her to go looking anywhere else for children to steal. So I opened up last year’s yearbook to see if I was in it. I mean, I think I would have remembered being a human girl just last year, but then again I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and I don’t look any older than the rest of the kids in this school.
There wasn’t anyone in last year’s yearbook that looked like me — big deal, maybe I’m in the one from the year before that, right? But I looked, and I’m not in that one either. So I looked in the next one, and the next — I mean, I guess I could be a really young-looking freshman? — but no me. By now, I’m starting to think those angels really were just screwing with me after all, but still I couldn’t quite get myself to stop. I looked in the next book, and the next one, and the next. I went through a whole shelf of those books, carefully, page after boring page of middle schoolers’ pointless memories. And with every book I was going back a year — through the early 2000’s, the 90’s, the 80’s…
I was just about to give up when I turned the page and there it was, what I was looking for, one tiny little black and white rectangle among all the others, about two thirds of the way down the page — my face. It wasn’t exactly my face, of course. This girl had eyes, for one thing, and her hair wasn’t nearly as cool. But it was me alright — me as I had been as a human girl almost forty years ago. Does that make any sense to you? Because it makes zero to me. Forty years ago this dweeby-looking little human girl with no fashion sense had a name, a life, probably even some kind of human family, and then… what? Something, but I can’t remember. I can’t remember any of it. All I can remember is growing up in Qlippah with a megalomaniacal sea witch for a mother, who tells me I’m an angel. And now I don’t know what I am, but there’s one thing I do know:
I am definitely no angel.