One night, when fate had separated us and I knew I was losing you slowly, a fireball visited me in the darkness and woke me from my sleep. Having awoken, I could no longer see it, but felt you writhing inside me like a Dantean character clawing his way out. I held on to my aching chest as if heart-stricken, my beating pounding for the two of us, and collapsed upon the floor on my knees, gulping the breaths you were gasping for. The tears streamed down uninvited as my head warred against the idea that you suffered, that pain engulfed in a backdraft. My soul struggled to understand the sudden loss of yours emptying out like disgorged victuals on an irreverent altar of oblation; I, your sacrifice on a pedestal, and you the profane priest that held a knife across my throat. So I cried out to the God that hears even the desolate whispers of His beloved sinners, but not for me; I murmured your name over and over again like an ancient incantation in another tongue, the image of your burning flesh impressed upon me so that the pain of losing you over and over again would escape in the repetition like blisters forming upon my skin. And, in the end, I collapsed, exhausted and afraid that my intercession had not reached the inner sanctum of Heaven where angels gather to worship and convey messages from His people, that your own guardian angel had abandoned you in the darkness of your room where you fervently prayed like a virtuous saint, longing for the hankering of a second chance.


“Angel Underground” by Michael Reineke



Two pellucid pearls were placed in the palms of my hands, each serving a divine purpose, both proof that God’s unwavering love cannot be unveiled by mere human experience. Each pearl came with a choice that had to be made: one of true love and the other of falling in love, both destined for me, neither of which could interfere with the other. And so I chose the shinier pearl of loving and being loved, and brandished it around my neck, to cherish closest to my soul, two flames burning in the same hearth, where I could be reminded that unconditional, pure love exists even in a fallen world. I placed the other pearl of falling in love upon the ring finger of my left hand, nestled close to the palm as a testament that romance and love sometimes intertwine to blossom the mingling of two hearts and meld them into one.

But humanity, in its brokenness and sinful nature, was not meant to hold such loves for their fate is one destined for righteous holiness or holy condemnation. Perfect love on Earth only had only come once, and the gifting of pearls had become so rare in its benefaction that only few had received such blessing. But too late did I realize that I had been among the blessed few because I had taken for granted the pearls that had adorned me for years, and, in doing so, I had forgotten their divine appointments to show me God’s love in its purest forms. My soul burned for the attentions of the heart, and my heart yearned only for fealty, but all I wanted was to appease my aching, troubled mind with the distractions of the flesh, and so God, in His infinite wisdom, stripped me of the pearls, leaving only the husk of a charm and the monotony of an overused band, both still with me, but devoid of the purity that had bound them to me.

And so somewhere between the storms and tsunamis, between losing all hope and drowning in misery, I lost God’s message and the beauty of His pearls, for it was never meant for me to hoard or to abuse; it was meant to remind me of His timeless love. The pearls, with their exclusive purposes in my life, the gifts within them shining forth the purity of God’s love to humanity, were meant to remind me of His love during the times they would not complement my heart and soul, when my mind would wage war against both heart and soul, and bury me in the burning pyres of depression.

Unfortunately, I have forgotten the way pearls feel in the palms of my hands when they are so lovingly entrusted to me.