by Mercy Bell


The angel Gabriel kicks me awake. Mania makes you think you don't need sleep, but your body gets it either way. "Wake up kid, it's all gonna be okay".

Really though?

Gabriel has smoked it all, out of necessity. Gabriel is gonzo as they come, has to know the minds of the stubborners he talks to or we'll all shoot the messenger. Mary was the only one who listened now, wasn't she? She was an easy day at work. And that was a lot of millennia ago. I can listen after I take my legal amphetamines and a cup of coffee. Sorry Gabe. Just wait a sec.

Well today I am full of regret for hurting you. Because you are beautiful.

Even though we weren't bringing out the beautiful at the end. And for that I'm sorry, for ever making you doubt it. Did you know I miss waking up next to you and falling asleep next to you and midday naps? Did you know I miss your laugh and your smile? Did you know I miss you? Do you know you saved me once? I can't tell you that because it will give you hope, and this is the only instance that hope is cruel.

But I'm wallowing. Gabriel doesn't have it for an instant. Gabriel says there's a life to live and that Raphael says there's another one I need to meet. I've met her before and he and Gabe have done everything to get my attention but I resist like a dog on a leash because I don't know what's best for me and I can't see above the bushes and I’m really making them work for it, but they've arranged some things. Gabriel brings coffee and bacon and bagels. He sends me off to find my annunciation. He wants to put the sofa I was sleeping on back in order. He has things to do.

Now I'm hungover in the back pew of a church full of tourists, wearing my sunglasses inside, next to my brother. It's been a good weekend at the lake. But this is a scene I've repeated for years in many churches in many cities. My tour of church is a tour of hangovers. The sabbath seems like it was invented because of my Saturday nights. (Or Tuesday nights with the right people.)  Cuz when you wanna be a character in everybody's memoirs going to sleep sober doesn't help the plot along.

So now the creed asks: do I believe in the resurrection?  I don't know. It would be nice to see my mama again. It would be nice to see my grandmother again. It would be nice to see my cat again. It would be nice to revisit us again. I'd like to believe in the resurrection just to undo the damage of this year alone.

I do know my heart has broken 4 ways in six months and has stopped bleeding out.

But healing a heart feels similar to learning to swim in open water. If you don't learn how to breath you might drown. If you don't drown you will get a lot of water in your ears. Keep kicking.  Sometimes when you have the worst best year you gotta grab whatever joy floats near. Sometimes it's dollops of joy. One pint at an airport bar at a time, when all your frequent flier miles come from funerals. One embrace from a friend who wouldn't let me go just yet because she knew better because she's seen worse. Her arms like the jaws of life  I kiss her cheek. The air smells like blossoms and life for a brief instant. Her skin tastes like nothing bad ever happened at all. Good Friday. This is not the end. 

Maybe Christ is a friend on a patio.

In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Ghost.

Maybe I do believe in resurrection.





Mercy Bell is a musician and writer living in Nashville. She has lived in California, Massachusetts, New York City, and Arkansas. She loves food, is part Filipino and part WASP, is kinda gay, speaks fluent feline, and can't control her hair. 

Alaina Latona