“He’s going to be with the angels,” Mama told me. I was just a little girl, but I knew it wasn’t the right time to ask about the angels because all through our whole house everybody was breathing slowly, like it would be wrong to show off all the breaths you had when Uncle Bill could barely wheeze in the narrow bedroom off our kitchen.
Mama sent me outside to play, so I couldn’t hear if Uncle Bill still breathed. I wanted to be inside to see what was going on, but I was mostly curious about the angels.
A black car drove down our driveway, which was just two ruts where grass didn’t grow. The men who got out of the long car wore black suits with white shirts and black ties. I thought they were funny looking angels, but maybe the angels in our Bible were just old-fashioned angels, and these were modern ones. Course I couldn’t remember a picture of man angels, just lady angels with long blonde hair. Could be I mixed them up with queens and princesses and fairies from my fairy-tale book. I didn’t know, but anyway these were the angels Uncle Bill got.
I walked to the back corner of the house outside Uncle Bill’s room. It used to be my room, until February when Uncle Bill came to be sick with us. Mama put my bed at the end of the upstairs hall. At first it was cold even under Mama’s extra blanket, but this was May, and I didn’t mind sleeping there anymore. Now I heard talking from Uncle Bill’s room and no wheezing. I couldn’t tell what Uncle Bill’s angels said because they hid their voices.
I stood on an old crate to look in the window bottom, and Uncle Bill’s angels had him by the feet and shoulders. He must have been asleep because he sagged when they moved him. And for a long time, I didn’t like angels because I never saw Uncle Bill again. I don’t like them now either.