A Direct Flight
Mary J. Breen
Every night, Lloyd insisted on kneeling on the cold tiles beside his bed to say his prayers, palms together under his chin just like when he was an angel in the Christmas pageant. He could no longer remember much, even the names of his children, so it was anyone’s guess whether or not he was actually praying. Not that it mattered. The staff agreed not to disturb him during those fifteen minutes. Then they helped him up off his creaky knees, got him his medication, and settled him for the night.
Tonight, soon after they’d turned out the light, they heard banging and whooping coming from his room. If he’d been able to remember his Sunday School lessons, Lloyd would have said it was “from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind.”
The nurses raced in and switched on the overhead light, and there was Lloyd bouncing on his bed in his blue pajamas, grinning like he was five again. Before anyone could reach him, his foot hit the guardrail, and he was aloft a brief second before crumpling onto the floor, still, and gone, and still smiling.