The Angel in the Car Park

By Nik Perring

Location: Intersection of Palmerston Street and Hurst Lane, Bollington

Two old ladies were standing in front of me as I waited at a bus stop near a car park. It had snowed heavily and while I waited to see if the bus would arrive – there were rumours it had been cancelled – I listened to them. The first one, the one on the right, with hair as fine as thread jutting out from under a headscarf, said, ‘Might not be able to buy my angel this year.’

‘No,’ her friend said. It was neither a question nor a statement.

‘First time since I was nine, it’ll be,’ she said. ‘My father gave me my first, as a present. Brought it back from a business trip. Said it’d watch over me, keep me safe, just like he did.’

‘Really,’ said the lady’s friend.

‘It was beautiful. Made of china. No taller than my thumb. Lips as pink as a kitten’s paws and oh how I loved it. Loved that I had something that’d look out for me.’

I moved closer.

The lady continued. ‘I had quite a collection – even before my father died.’

‘Oh,’ said her friend.

‘Heart attack. I don’t know what I was thinking, really. But it seemed that with him gone I needed a little more looking after. So I jumped on the bus and I went into town and I came home with another angel.’


‘Really. And I’ve done it every year since. Never missed one.’  She shuffled closer to her friend and said, ‘And I always make a point of doing it on his anniversary.’

‘Lovely idea,’ said her friend.

I noticed then that people were beginning to drift away. One lad, a mobile phone to his ear, said ‘bus has been cancelled,’ as he walked past me.

‘Cancelled,’ said the lady’s friend. ‘Doesn’t look like I’ll be able to buy my chops. And you won’t be able to get this year’s angel.’

The lady said nothing. I think she shook her head slightly, though I can’t be sure.

She walked then, slowly, to a corner of the car park where the snow was thick and untouched. She placed her bag on the ground and she lay down on her back. Nobody said a word. Everybody watched. The lady moved her arms, down then up, flapping.

When she’d finished she stood, collected her bag, and walked away, not looking back once at what she’d created. Not once. I suppose she didn’t have to.

Nik Perring is a writer and workshop leader from the North West. He doesn’t live very far from Manchester at all. His short stories have been widely published and he’s the author of a children’s book.



8 Responses to “The Angel in the Car Park”

  1. April 02, 2009 at 4:04 pm, Claire Yates said:

    Loved the simplicity of this story, the connections with childhood and the sheer improbability of her actions. Definitely outside the box.

  2. April 05, 2009 at 5:08 pm, Jacqui said:

    You story conveys so much, Nik. It made me question material posessions and think about self-preservation.

  3. April 05, 2009 at 6:52 pm, Douglas said:

    I liked that you didn’t tell us she had made an angel in the snow… left it for us all to know without the telling… that for me made this a great wee story.

  4. April 07, 2009 at 6:59 pm, Nik said:

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, folks. Thrilled you liked it.

  5. July 15, 2009 at 9:20 pm, Jessica said:

    I loved this.
    I thought the ending was just beautiful, the angel in the snow, something so childish by a grown adult just brings a smile to my face! Not in a mocking way but in the sense that of how some people derive the greatest pleasures from the smallest things in life.
    [Apologies! I can’t seem to express what’s in my head! Damn!]


  6. July 20, 2009 at 10:42 am, Nik Perring said:

    Thanks Jessica – this sort of thing’s always lovely to hear!


  7. June 18, 2010 at 6:19 pm, Eavesdropping in the corridors of power…. | Bugged said:

    […] What can this mean? How did Michael Jackson’s death make the suitcase so undesirable? There are plenty more on Facebook and Twitter so if you can’t wait till July 1st to start writing, then practise your skills on one of them. Already a skilled eavesdropper is Nik Perring, as you can see from his story The Angel in the Car Park. […]

  8. August 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm, Jessica said:

    Two years on from when I first read it and this is still one of my favourite stories! It always, always makes me smile <3


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