Written and Illustrated by Alexandra Roberts.
My name is Karen Finch. I am eleven years old.
My best friend’s name is Joseph, and he’s thirty-two thousand and a half. He’s also really tall and has great big feathery wings, like a swan’s. Joseph is my angel. You’d think that’s pretty amazing, right? The thing is, nobody else can see my friend Joseph.
Most people can’t even see their own angels, which I think is crazy, because the angels follow them everywhere and always try to join in whatever they’re doing. I know, because I can see them. It often makes me laugh, and then they give me funny looks. People are so strange. They say there’s no such thing as angels.
A lot of people think I’m strange. They never know what I’m talking about when I say I’ve just taken tea in the garden with Seamus the Leprechaun, or had a most intriguing conversation with the big old oak. You know, the one in the park, with the face. But people say I trees don’t talk.
They think I’m being childish when I tell them about the time I was a pirate captain, or a knight, or an Egyptian princess, or a Medieval basket weaver, even though I could recount every detail since I was three. I was, you know – all of those things. I know, because I remember. But people say there’s no such thing as past lives.
Even other eleven-year-olds think I’m strange. I don’t like the same things they do. They like to watch television and play video games. The boys like sports and the girls like going to the shops and wearing make-up, pretending to be grown-ups. I like to climb trees and draw dragons and read books about faraway places. And usually I don’t mind being different…
But it gets rather lonely sometimes. Normally I just try to forget about it, but it really bothers me that everyone else seemed to have friends, other people they liked to do things with. Nobody likes to do things I do. Then Joseph asks me, ‘Karen, why are you sad?’
I say, ‘Because I don’t have any friends. Everyone thinks I’m strange. Should I try to be more like them? Would they like me then?’
Joseph smiles his big, glowing angel smile. ‘You don’t have to be like anyone else, Karen.’
‘But I’m lonely, Joseph,’ I say. ‘I like talking to you, and to Seamus the Leprechaun, and to the oak, and to dragons and unicorns, but what about human friends? Can’t I have a friend other people can see?’
‘Well, have you tried making friends?’
I shake my head sheepishly. ‘How can I? I’m so different from everyone else.’
‘You know, Karen, there’s no-one on this Earth exactly like you… but you’re not the only one who’s different.Friends come when you least expect them, and not always in the way that you expect.’
At first I didn’t know what Joseph meant by that. He said I’d understand when I am ready. And you know what? I think it’s already beginning to make sense. I’ve begun to notice more and more people a lot like me.