In Retiro Park, Madrid, one mid-afternoon in late September, I gazed up at the statue of the Fallen Angel all tangled and disgruntled on his plinth. His wings splayed out at strange angles and his mouth contorted in pain. I felt I was witness to the aftermath not of a freefall from holy heights but more of a mighty shove down the stairs of heaven.
I’ve always felt closer to Lucifer. Clean-living seems as dull as your reward: floating in a cloud world of chubby cherubs with tiny harps: no fountains to Bacchus, no karma corner. Though he was kicked out for being too beautiful and over-reaching, he did become a god in the end: one of dark things.
I walked a lap around the Fallen Angel whose fountain heads were spitting beasts. There he was five meters up, so near and in such distress and yet closer to heaven than I was on the ground. Dropping my bag and camera and discarding my sandals, I climbed in and waded through the monsters’ pool. I wrapped my legs around the column, as far as they would go and got purchase with my hands and feet. Sweat snaked down along my back and my dress stuck to my skin while I scaled the base towards him. My nails split and broke from digging in and my blood streaked down Lucifer’s plinth, dripping down over the bat’s head and into the fount. My thighs ached from pushing upwards but I was almost there. Placing my hand on his bronze foot, though the hot metal burnt my palm, I hauled myself up. I put my arms around the Fallen Angel to cradle his mangled form, for this was my Pieta.
Bayveen O'Connell has worked in teaching and journalism in Dublin. She's been published in The Bohemyth and is forthcoming in Nilvx, Train Lit Mag and Selene Quarterly. Bayveen has recently completed a Gothic novel which she's busily sending out to publishers.