Cyril Rum was an angel on sabbatical to earth. He lived in a non-descript house in an even more non-descript town. It was ideal for Cyril as he had been an angel a long time and as everyone knew eternity was “a heck of a long time” and Cyril was due some respite from it all.
On earth, he had settled in nicely and was intrigued from the very start with the intricacies of human life. They seemed to get caught up emotion a lot he observed. For Cyril this was something very new for in eternity emotion was never a cause for anyone to get the least concerned with let alone caught up on.
After all, eternity was by its very nature, eternity. You were there, so you’d best accept your lot and get on with it. Most did and eternity was happy when most of its occupants found solace in its very nature.
But on earth, that didn’t exist. Cyril was slow to explore his environment cautious as to what he might discover or give away. But the street he lived on was a quiet street, and his house was the last on it before the road stretched away into the scrub and sandhills.
He found a mentor, though she didn’t know it, in his neighbour Mildred Thrup, a sixty-year-old single woman, bereft of family and it appeared to Cyril, friends.
They became firm friends and shared the occasional cup of tea on Cyril’s back veranda where he had two white chairs facing each other. Mildred was a font of information to Cyril.
She knew a lot about the people in the street and was known to ask Cyril about himself which Cyril initially skirted around but over time did reveal to Mildred his true angelic qualities.
He did so but he swore Mildred to secrecy, and she was happy to be the only person who knew his true identity.
Cyril often asked Mildred to explain why people found it difficult to do one thing. To Cyril, everything that happened seemed to be subject to a whole bunch of conditions or circumstances that were accepted as stumbling blocks.
Happiness Cyril said was a state that in eternity you could achieve if you were in the right place. On earth, he observed people searched everywhere and every how to find it and when they thought they had it they let it slip through their fingers.
Mildred explained to Cyril that humans were subject to greed. Over her years of observing the people around her she’d come to the conclusion that basically people were greedy and as long as that existed, they would never be happy.
Cyril didn’t understand greed either until Mildred showed him the Lantrys.
They had two of everything, each object better than the first one. Be it cars, houses, kettles or toasters the Lantrys were forever seeking to be bigger and better than everybody else.
“It’s about social standing,” explained Mildred. “You want people to think you are better than everyone else.”
Cyril listened to all this and thought for a moment that the intricacies of the human being he would never understand. Thank goodness, he thought all this greed comes to nought in the next world.
Later that night as he sat at his kitchen table sipping a cup of his favourite herbal tea, he thought to himself that if he managed to stay on earth a little longer, he might come to understand what it was they were all on about.