The Fall

As he sang, they listened to him with utmost reverence. Their faces shone in the mild orange of the setting sun, their hands clasped together unbeknowst to themselves, standing there huddled together, small and insignificant as lost sheep looking for their shepherd. They had never heard anything as beautiful before, and tears of fearful joy rolled down their cheeks as his voice reached the highest pitches of pure passion. Behind his closed lids some of them saw the One reflected in his dark pupils; his hand was unconsciously reaching for Him, clinging to His guidance and wisdom, scared that he would do something wrong in His name, wanting with his every pure cell to transmit all the bliss and perfection he was bestowed upon. Others saw their long lost children, brothers, fathers, husbands and lovers in the crystal pool of his eyes, and weeping of happiness they held out their hands to meet their lost ones once more.

His voice soared higher than eagles flew above stormy skies, and plunged deeper than gentle dolphins dared to drift in the oceans. When he opened his eyes to look at them they forgot to breathe, not needing air anymore, their souls filled with what he gave them. They never noticed that he stopped singing, as the love surrounding his whole being kept reaching out to them with unseen tentacles, grasping their hearts and holding them in the gentlest, warmest embrace; their tears were flowing unstoppably, washing away all the bad that had ever happened to them, all the sorrow that ever lived there, all the menacing evil that had ever threatened to take hold of their existence. And instead of all the unhappiness that was the only life they had known, sparkling streams of bliss and serenity flowed into their souls.

He saw he did well, and he was calmly content. He never had to move a muscle in his perfect body to embrace them all and keep them warm in his arms. They were so grateful, oh, so grateful and pitiful, so lovable in their neediness. Their simple, human beauty hurt his eyes which were used to perfection; their skin was not creamy and soft like his, but rough and calloused from toil, eroded by the sea of emotions that assaulted it from inside every day. Their eyes shone with hopeful bliss, their lips were sealed on blunderous promises they made and never kept, their wretched souls were ragged from oaths they never dared take, and words of love they were too scared to utter. And yet, despite all the suffering he saw in their eyes, they seemed resigned to their circumstances, cherishing the scant memories they could muster from their insignificant past, and building perfect worlds onto the few pledges fate was generous enough to render. They seemed… they seemed happy.

The feeling was new to him; they looked remote in their putrid palaces of hope, he could not reach them, not in a way that he could also share in their bliss. As he started singing again, the soaring voice was his soul, trying to reach out to them, touch them with his heart, understand their fears, joys, and sorrows. They were thankful to him, but did not seem to allow him to get any closer. Why? Why was he not allowed there, down where the simple humans lived and loved? He wanted to live the way they did, and to love with his every particle, to hurt and get hurt in the process. He sang, but his eyes were not set on the wish to give them joy, but the infinite craving to become one of them, be able to really touch them, gently, roughly, endlessly, bruising skin on skin, tearing flesh and soul. He knew he had been ordained there, high above them, as leader, messenger, shining star of hope to those bereft of everything, but his yearning to feel what they were feeling was stronger.

His instincts awoke from their slumber, and as he decided to take the fall, he hit the ground with mighty power.

It hurt, oh, how it hurt! But he stood up, and with trembling lips he kept singing. He stepped closer to them, and they saw the bruise on his arm, the blood clotting on his beautiful lower lip, and the dust of the earth masking his creamy skin. At first they could not believe their eyes, but when slowly, shily one of them touched his hand with a fleeting gesture, they both shook and then smiled at each other. He saw how happy they were that he was one of them now, and sang with powerful voice and brave flights of passion.

They stood and watched, and encircled him. He was one, and they were many. He smiled, happy, and let them touch him, grab him, caress him, love him, even hurt him. He went through with it all, because he knew he had to be selfless in their eyes. He enjoyed basking in their adoration, he understood what fame meant, and he gave, gave, gave- and then he learnt how to take, little by little, only enough to keep him going, but by then the circle had been broken. He accepted a smile, then an embrace, then a flower, and eventually the world that they were ready to offer. Oh, it was delicious- he loved every moment- how can he have lived without it?!

And then it happened. His voice faltered just a tiny little, almost inaudibly- but the ones who had been eagerly expecting a flaw in his aura of perfection noticed it, and their lips stretched into a vicious jeer, their eyes alit with vengefulness. Their fingers pointed at him, and their throats sent evil guffaws into the wind. He heard their mean voices and saw their ill-meaning glances, but stood his ground and kept singing for the sake of all the others who remained motionless in the huge circle of human mass around him. He knew he needed to give them all the love he could, showing them how strong he was, and how well he could cope with the situation.

When his voice faltered for the second time, a significant number of his followers left the circle and slowly backed away, leaving a trace of disappointment behind them. He saw their eyes, which have already lost their glitter, and he wondered why he was losing them. Was he not giving all he could? Was he not doing his best to make them happy? He had sacrificied his immortality for them, for the sake of being closer to them and being able to love them more fully. He wondered, and had of course forgotten that it was for himself and himself alone that he took the plunge. It was not their happiness he was considering, but his. In giving himself to them completely, he received more love than he could ever need; and yet, he wanted more, and more, and more- and he sang more powerfully, and he moved faster, with more gracious moves, and when they saw he was capable of more than they had ever imagined, they grabbed him more forcefully and their demanding shrieks filled his ears. He sang, and he danced, and he gave, and he loved-

And then he couldn’t give anymore. He collapsed onto the empty ground, exhausted, his throat hurting, his lungs squashed under the weight of all that he felt. They had cleared the space around him, and were slowly disappearing into the dark background, dissolving, as if they had never existed. He had thought they were the ones to break his fall- but they never caught him, and he hit himself so hard he started weeping. His voice was rough and screaming from all the exertion it had undergone, and he sounded like a pathetic ghost, begging for his old life. He looked around, but he was almost all alone now. They left him, all of them. A few faced were lingering in the twilight, and in their eyes he thought he saw mercy and a glimpse of understanding- but even they had withdrawn by the time he mustered all his strength to scream his sorrow into the void.

As he lay on the ground, used up and spent, forgotten and superfluous, he remembered what he had given up. He remembered how he used to know exactly what to do, and what he was destined for. He used to be happy, so happy. But he let them too close.

And they stole his wings.

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