Dear readers, tonight is another special double interview. With us on the interviews is the archangel Gabriel, as well as the mortal woman he fell in love with, Mary Granger.
They are here to talk about love, light, and music – and how all three are connected.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
[Gabriel] I’d like to answer this one if you don’t mind, Mary. My name is Gabriel. I’m an angel and have always “been”. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t conscious of myself in relation to all that is and ever will be so I’ve never “grown up” as it were. I don’t remember why I was called Gabriel or who called me that. Eons ago my Father recognised my singular creative genius and 2IC’d me into helping Him create worlds upon worlds, one of which humanity calls the Universe but there are many more. If I had a mother I can’t recall her. There’s only ever been me and my Father orchestrating life. Now, of course, my Father no longer speaks to me and I depend on Mary for…well, everything.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
[Gabriel] Why don’t you answer this one, Mary?
[Mary] Very well, I became who I am the day I heard the music. It came to me winged, unbidden and fully-orchestrated. I was six. My home life was unmanageable and it was driving me mad because I depend on order to keep control of events and the people around me. And yet, this music took me to places where I had no control…under the sea, distant galaxies, foreign cities, fairyland. It showed me life without constraint or restraint and I learned to trust it completely. It was the only thing I ever trusted. The only person, too.
[Gabriel] You trust me, don’t you?
[Mary] No, Gabriel, I do not.
What do you do now?
[Mary] Now I am a concert pianist living on a vineyard just outside of Florence. Gabriel visits me in my apartment in Florence. I am married to a lovely man who helps me raise the angel children Gabriel sires. The arrangement my husband and I have is unconventional but it suits us well because he is gay and I give him the children he adores.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
[Mary] My latest adventure is living my life without trying to control every aspect. It took me a long time to let the world just be and know that in spite of all the dramas and tragedies we are part of a universe that is far bigger and grander than anything we can imagine here on earth … and it is expanding. It took me a long time to trust that gravity would support me on this spinning world. Gabriel isn’t making any comment but I feel confident that he is exploring a new way of living, too, without the need to orchestrate humanity. Am I right, Gabriel?
[Gabriel] I’m biding my time, Mary. One day my Father will realise He needs me and when he calls me…
[Mary] You’ll go. I know.
[Gabriel] But in the meantime the view from your balcony is beautiful, the wine is superb and the company is brilliant.
[Mary] So, no hurry.
[Gabriel] No hurry.
What did you first think when Wendy Waters told you she’d write your story?
[Gabriel] I wondered how she knew about me – an angel drifting through interminable night hoping for a glimmer of light that would signature redemption and relieve me of the burden of enlightening this recalcitrant planet. When did she see me? Nobody else was looking up. That, to be brutally frank, was the problem.
[Mary] But you like the way she ended your story, don’t you?
[Gabriel] My story is far from over, Mary, but yes, I love being with you. It was getting very lonely up there and I may have been going a little mad.
[Mary] Just a little?
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
[Mary] Being alone.
[Gabriel] Yes, for me, too, Mary. Being alone was even scarier than being haunted by my father.
What is the worst thing about flying at night for centuries?
[Gabriel] That’s obviously a question for me, not Mary. The worst thing was temptation. To relieve the loneliness and boredom I did some things I’m now very ashamed of. I hunted with bats and owls. It doesn’t sound like much but I got to enjoy the camaraderie of pack-raiding and the thrill of tasting warm blood on my tongue. And later, I released my tension in other ways. I visited lonely women whose husbands were away fighting some pointless war or scaling some impenetrable mountain. Men do ridiculous things in the name of vanity and they neglect their most precious possessions – their wives and children.
[Mary] You’d never do anything ridiculous, would you, Gabriel?
[Gabriel] Hardly. My judgement is impeccable. I’m an angel, after all. During the Renaissance I posed nude for Michelangelo and Da Vinci. They immortalized my beauty. You can see me in many of their paintings and I’m splattered all over the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Da Vinci said I have the most beautiful profile he’s ever seen.
[Mary] But of course, you’re not vain.
[Gabriel] Just telling the truth, Mary.
What is the best thing about music?
[Mary] My question?
[Gabriel] Yes, Mary.
[Mary] Music is a conduit to heaven, an umbilical cord/chord that flows both ways. Light passes from me to God and back again through the medium of melody. I believe it was Leonard Cohen who wrote “They say there is a sacred chord that David played and it pleased the Lord.” I knew my music was a bridge between heaven and earth when it brought an angel to my window.
Tell us a little about your friends.
[Gabriel] I have no other friends but Mary.
[Mary] My friends are my sister, my mother, Gabriel and the music.
Any romantic involvement?
[Gabriel] Mary is my greatest and most enduring love. She won my heart when I first saw her by the well in ancient Judea. Through myriad incarnations I lost track of her but when I heard her music I recognised the light of her soul illuminating the spaces between the notes. Blue and gold.
[Mary] Like the Florentine sky.
[Gabriel] Yes, like the Florentine sky that holds light suspended. It was as if Miriam Bat Boaz had risen from those ancient sands. I wondered if she’d forgiven me my part in that ancient tragedy where she lost her son to heaven.
[Mary] I couldn’t remember being Miriam. Nor could I remember our son, except what I have read about him. The great virtue of human rebirth is forgetfulness.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
[Mary] Gabriel hates more vigorously than I do but then Gabriel never had the blessing of forgetfulness. Immortals carry their sins and vendettas eternally. I don’t even hate my father who robbed me of my innocence. I now see that he had lost his own long before he stole mine.
[Gabriel] I stole your innocence when I asked you to raise a son of heaven two thousand years ago.
[Mary] Yes, but I’ve forgotten.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
[Both together] Drinking red wine.
What does the future hold for you?
[Mary] A new symphony. Gabriel?
[Gabriel] Another dark stretch of loneliness waiting for Mary between lives.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
[Mary] I have a secret. Our son will bring my music to the world through the medium of ancient stone.
[Gabriel] What do you mean?
[Mary] Our son will utilize the ancient amphitheatres the Greeks, Romans and Alexander the Great built around the Mediterranean Sea to bring my music to the world at affordable prices. He has yet to meet the girl who will inspire him but he will meet her in Wendy Waters’ next book Fields of Grace. And music will save the world.
[Gabriel] But enlightenment is my job!
[Mary] No, Gabriel, that’s everybody’s job.
Wendy Waters aka Wendy Anne Waters was born in Australia. She is a singer, lyricist, author and librettist. After winning the Women’s Weekly/Penguin Short Story Contest 2007 Waters had her debut novel Catch the Moon, Mary published in the UK. She has written a play based on the novel and is co-writing a musical with composer Shanon Whitelock based on the legendary Scheherazade.
You can find Mary and Gabriel on the pages of Catch the Moon, Mary.
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