Wrestling Angels by Geoffrey Orens

I took up wrestling so I could be blessed. That’s what happens in the Bible. Jacob wrestles an angel till dawn, then the angel dislocates Jacob’s hip but blesses him and his offspring for eternity. I figured if that’s how God works, then if I wrestled enough people, I could find one angel among them to bless me. That would be amazing.

My friend Derrick thinks I’m crazy. “Even you were wrestling a person who blessed you,” he said, “how would you know they were really an angel?”

This was true. It also made me doubt the original story for a while, but my pastor put a stop to that. Another problem is that I know all the wrestlers in the club and all the ones from nearby towns as well. Steve Richmond isn’t an angel, he also works at the hardware store. Mason has a really bad Christian rock band, but he’s not an angel either. Looking on Facebook, I can see the profiles of other local wrestlers. Unless one of the profiles is a divine creation meant to throw us all off the track, I’m not seeing any angels. 

Still, I followed through with my plan. I didn’t discover any angels or get blessed, but I did get mocked a great deal by the other wrestlers. So, with no luck, I told Derrick about my idea to put an ad in the paper that said “looking to wrestle a stranger all night, must be anonymous,” but he told me that sounded like I might get something I didn’t want or couldn’t handle. So, it looks like the wrestling mat is where it’s going to have to be for now.

While the other wrestlers used to mimic me in jest, the blessings slowly became a part of the match culture. In fact, now everyone demands a blessing from the opponent they pin. And in the sweat, the struggling and the pinning, perhaps enough human blessings can make up for one angelic one.

Geoffrey Orens teaches high school English and art history in New York City. His work has been published in Eunoia Review and can be read in Down in the Dirt in September.

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