She lies down the whole day. At night, she raises her head just a little, to maintain her energy, and her mouth fills up. She hasn’t eaten anything in a week except dew and manna. After years of hearing mumbled reading in the neighboring house, she recognizes the food. Of course she’s been listening. Of course, she knows it by heart.

Someone in a purple woolen hat and a white puffy coat caresses her with wings. They are soft, the wings, but not as soft as hands. For these she’d wait forever. She won’t let go of another breath, and will open her mouth for her share of dew and manna.

The hands appear again with the right pressure and the good scent of water colors and yogurt, sweat and plastic buttons. They spring from the one who’s hers, who’s so right and good she doesn’t even open her eyes, to save her energy, to rejoice.

Energy is essential. She’d like to chase after cars. The angel stands on the road at the best positions from which she could have leaped. You can do it, the angel says with a waving of the semi-soft wings. Come and run barking. You’ve done it forever. Come, come on now.

Food has lost its taste, the hands don’t stay long enough, and the angel is calling. Exciting cars pass one by one. Soon, soon, the hands. The voice too. The scent. She gets up because a fast car has passed. She limps. Her instincts are shot, someone says. The angel.

It’s night again, time for dew and manna. She’ll have her one last go at cars. Then, she’ll coil within the arms and the hands and will have everything forever.

Avital Gad-Cykman’s flash collection published by Matter Press is called  Life In, Life Out. Her stories have been published in The Literary Review, Ambit, CALYX Journal, Glimmer Train, McSweeney’s, Prism International, Michigan Quarterly Review and elsewhere. They have also been featured in anthologies such as W.W. Norton’s International Flash Anthology, Sex for America, Stumbling and Raging, and The Best of Gigantic. Her work won the Margaret Atwood Society Magazine Prize, placed first in The Hawthorne Citation Short Story Contest, and was a finalist for Iowa Fiction Award for story collections. She is an Israeli living in Brazil.