My grandmother says that freckles are Angel kisses. She says that an Angel comes to every child when he or she is born to give him or her freckles. She said that no one ever saw the Angels – just that it always happened when no one was looking. Everyone has at least one freckle, one Angel kiss.
I don't have any freckles.
I've checked everywhere. I don't have a single freckle. No Angel has kissed me. My grandma says that it must mean the Angels have something special in store for me.
But I saw her anxious expressions when she thought I wasn't looking.
I had some problems at school because I had no Angel kisses. People have compared them: "How many freckles do you have?" The more freckles you have, the more Angels have kissed you, and made you blessed and lucky. My sister has freckles all over her face. She's said to have a Freckle Mask, one of the highest honors. People who get Freckle Masks, or have freckles all over (like my brother) are great assets to mankind. They always accomplish great things, and always for good.
Even the greatest criminals have one freckle, to show that they will be Forgiven if they wish to be.
And I have no freckles.
It's never been heard of before.
Today, I become an adult. Freckles appear all throughout childhood, so the adults, while worried, were not overly concerned. They expected me to get at least one Angel kiss before tomorrow.
And I haven't.
I have always been worried about it. I was different, and I didn't know why. Was I going to be such a bad person that I wasn't ever going to be Forgiven? I hoped not. I always tried to be good. I tried to follow the rules, even when the other kids didn't. I listened to my parents.
But no one else had seen Angels.
I had seen three in my 18 years in this world. I had seen one in the room with all the babies at the hospital. She had been kissing the babies, and giving them freckles.
She looked up and saw me, and she looked really confused when she saw me watching her. When she recovered, she put a finger to her lips for silence and disappeared.
The next Angel I saw was in my sister's room. She had been putting the finishing touches on her Freckle Mask. The Angel had been surprised to see me, but not as surprised as the first Angel. She just smiled and disappeared.
I never told my sister about it. I had tried to tell my grandmother about the first one, and she hadn't taken me seriously. She told me not to tell lies, so I never told anyone again.
The third Angel I had seen many times. He watches over me. I first saw him when kids from school had first realized that I didn't have any Angel kisses. My mom had told me not to tell anyone, and I had listened. All the kids from school were in a group, talking about how many Angel kisses they had. When I came up, they tried to rope me into the conversation. I didn't want to talk about it, but they wouldn't let it drop and wouldn't leave me alone. I finally told them that I didn't have any freckles, so they would end the conversation and play with me.
They freaked out and ran. Having no freckles was something they had never even heard of before, and it frightened them. It still frightened them. The Angel had come over to me and sad that I shouldn't worry, and that he would play with me. He wiped my tears and since then he has always been there for me. He was my best friend, and I haven't told anyone about him. I haven't even asked him his name.
I'm afraid that if I do that he'll disappear, and I'll never see him again.
He means too much to me.
The Ceremony for coming of age was simple. We walked down Main Street in a line, the very oldest of us to the youngest of us. I was the youngest, so I was at then end of the line. All the adults nodded at us as we stopped in front of them, formally accepting us as adults. (We had been living as adults for a week now.)
My curled auburn hair was left unbound to my shoulders. I was wearing my best clothes, just as everyone else was. My shirt was a thin white top with a wide neck, and it stopped right above my tan skirt. The shirt had tan embroidered flowers starting from the bottom and stopping a palm's length from the top. My tan skirt was embroidered with white flowers, stopping just above my knees.
I was thinking about my Angel as I went to stand before the adults. Until I had come up, they had been nodding together, like it was rehearsed. When I came up, the nods were haphazard and tentative. I was about to turn away when I saw my Angel.
He was wearing his long white robes. The robe covered all of him but the tips of his old fashioned sandals and his fingers. His brown hair was cut at his shoulders, curling slightly at the end, just like always. He walked toward me, and grabbed me just below the elbow. I stared into his green eyes. His white wings were brighter and whiter than his spotless robe, almost glowing with their brilliance.
"My name is Caerwyn. You never asked, but I figured you would want to know." He gave me the nervous smile I liked so much. "I was to guard you until you became an adult. You are the only person, in this entire century that has the potential to become an Angel."
I stared at him, my blue eyes were wide. I could become an Angel? I thought… no, I'm some sort of freak. I'm so evil that I am not even given a chance to be Forgiven… I'm going to destroy the world or something…
I didn't notice I was shaking my head in denial until my Angel – Caerwyn – reached out to grab my chin and stop me. His green eyes asked a question, and he voiced it, "Why do you refuse? What is wrong?"
The second question made me curl in on myself and try to pull away. It was such a personal question – one that I don't think he had to ask – that it pulled at my heartstrings. What I felt was wrong. No human… it would never work.
"I don't have any Angel kisses," I said, instead of voicing my feelings, "Even people that end up doing something really bad have one. I don't have any!"
Caerwyn – my Angel – moved his hand and my chin so that I had to look him in the eye. "And you think that means that you will be bad?"
My chin trembled. "The one freckle means that there is still Forgiveness for them. I don't have any! Doesn't that mean… that – that I don't have any chance for Forgiveness?" my last words softened until they were barely audible.
But Caerwyn heard them anyway. "Humans do not know what the freckles mean. Just that they are Angel kisses. You know what they mean. That is a Sign that you are to be an Angel."
I still didn't believe what Caerwyn was saying. "What if my having no freckles means that I'm supposed to do something so bad that I can't be Forgiven?" I asked softly. Caerwyn still had my chin and now one of my arms. He held me loosely, softly, gently, and I couldn't bring myself to pull away. I didn't want to hurt him.
Caerwyn smiled. "I have seen what makes you the only person that could become an Angel in this century."
"What is that?" I asked.
"The reason that we find only one person like you in a whole century, is that if more of you were born… nothing would be like it in now. Everything would be better," he stressed the word, like he knew that I needed to hear it. "You are so pure, so kind, so tenacious, so…" he looked up at the sky like he was searching for words. I recognized the gesture. He did it every time I refused to understand something he was trying to explain to me. He rephrased and started again, "You are everything that an Angel needs to be. That you have survived your childhood being different without losing what makes you a potential Angel… That part of you life is done now. It was a test that has been in place since Angels first began."
Caerwyn moved his hand from my chin to my cheek, and ran her thumb across my cheekbone.
"You could be an Angel… but it is your choice."
Everything that I had believed for 18 years was being ripped out from under me. I didn't have any Angel kisses because… I could be an Angel? My entire life thus far has been a test?
And I could be an Angel, and see Caerwyn, for the rest of my life?
Caerwyn's green eyes never wavered from my blue ones. It was like he was following my thought process through my eyes. I knew that my hopes from all my time with him would never work. A human and an Angel simply could not be. But now, I was being told that I could be an Angel. Does that change everything enough for it to work? He watched me grow up. He probably just thought of me as a little sister.
But his thumb was still running over my cheekbone (decidedly not a familial gesture), and I couldn't help but think about the question he had asked me, and the feeling I had gotten about him not having to ask me that.
So I asked the question: "With you?"
Caerwyn stared at me for a moment, and then smiled. He smiled his happy smile; his really big one. He leaned down and pressed his lips to mine. I could feel my cheeks heating up, but I opened my mouth to him anyway. His tongue explored the contours of my mouth, and I could feel something behind his movements, something that I mirrored. I knew what it was, but to name something is to give something power, and I was still scared.
The hand holding my head was gentle, but the hand at my waist pulled me to him tightly, like he was afraid I would run.
When we finally had to breathe, when we could no longer continue without air, Caerwyn pulled away - but he didn't go far. We were panting, sharing breath, and staring into each other's eyes.
And I finally had the courage to name the emotion behind his eyes, the emotion I mirrored, and had felt in his burning kiss.
Love. Caerwyn loved me. Not as his sister, but as…
"For as long as you'll have me," he finally answered.
"Forever," I said, and threw my arms around his neck.
He laughed and picked me up, cradling me to his chest.
"So you say, so it shall be…"
There was a light, and I knew I had white wings just like my Angel's.
Credit for the title of "Angel Kisses" goes to my grandma, who came up the idea of freckles being Angel kisses when she was younger.