There were soap bubbles in the air. Eric Chambers leaned his spade against the potted apple tree he'd just bought and watched them floating over his garden, iridescent in the morning sunlight. Most caught on the high hedge and popped, but several climbed high enough to look like floating angels.
He remembered them from his childhood, a once-a-year treat when he was taken to see his nana at the seaside, the clean scent of the bubbles competing with the salt-laden ait and the sound of seagulls mingling with her admonishments about spending his money on rubbish.
"Mr. Chambers? Did you see the angels?"
Eric smiled at the tousled head peering trough the gap in the hedge. "Is that what they were, Peter? Yes, I saw them."
"Were you scared?"
"What would I have to be scared of? They were beautiful."
"What'cha doing? That's an awfully big hole."
"I'm planting an apple tree," said Eric. "In a year or two you'll be able to pick shiny red apples."
"I won't need to," said Peter. "Mum gets them from Sainsbury's. Can I help you dig?"
Eric shook his head. "Not today, Peter. Another time."
"Oh." His face fell, then brightened. "Aunty 'Rene usually gives me one of her sweets."
Eric glanced over at the carpet shrouded bundle next to the shed. Irene wouldn't be giving Peter sweets ever again. "She's not here, love. You run along now."
"Okay." Peter vanished from view and soon after, Eric could see angels, floating overhead.
Image: Soap-bubble Stories: For Children ...