Something quite different today: the beginning of a story that dates back almost 30 years. Yes, I was a child when I first got the idea for it (and the title – the name Edna has never changed). I’ve lost the original version and have ended up rewriting it once or twice every decade since. The ending always varies, and sometimes disappears altogether. I’ve never been satisfied with the story, have never felt it was complete. Perhaps this is the story of my life?
Edna had her devilish streak of course, but on the whole she resembled the great-aunt she had been named after: trim, prim and efficient. She didn’t own a TV – instead, she liked curling up with a good or even average book on her sofa. She cooked twice a week and froze it all in neat little batches. Occasionally she might keep herself company with a small glass of sweet sherry. No excesses of any kind.
She also liked going to the library. Which was quite fortunate, really, since she was the village librarian. This was no poncey Multimedia Resource Centre, but a good old-fashioned village library that had somehow managed to survive local council cuts, although it was no longer open daily. It had a play area for children, a cosy seating area for reading the papers and countless dusty reference volumes outlining the delights of the local area, of which there were many. They had some CDs and DVDs, of course, but no computers, and the returns were still done with card index files. This was the job that everyone thought was deadly dull, but Edna quite liked the sheer mindlessness of it.
It was precisely those card index files that Edna was re-indexing one quiet Thursday morning, when, under her curtain of hair, she saw two bare feet come to a stop in front of her desk. She looked up and saw an angel. So startled was she, that she dropped the card-drawer with an almighty crash and the cards all came tumbling onto the floor.
‘Heaven’s bells and hallelujah!’ The angel jumped.
This was so extreme that Edna had to smile amidst her confusion. It must be a joke. A fancy dress party. Or a poor madman wandering about lost.
‘Can I help you?’ asked Edna in her most professional voice.
The angel smiled beatifically. He really was gorgeous, with very big, strikingly blue eyes, long lashes, wavy hair right up to his shoulders and rosy cheeks.
‘No, no, let me help you!’