“Gabriel,” she says.
She could willingly utter his name over and over until her throat gave out. The pilgrimage it makes across her tongue and passed her lips traces a familiar path that no number of repetitions could exhaust; every syllable is its own unique gift.
The first is sharp. It can crack like a whip when needs be, and effortlessly commands the attention. Slow it down just a little, though, and it soon becomes a purr, stretching and unravelling to become the croon of a lover. She takes the time to do this often.
The Welsh lilt to her voice creates a stumbling block at the midway point, and for a moment the whole venture is in flux, as a stutter upsets the rhythm that until now has been so artlessly fluid. There it is, the unavoidable hint of a trill as she passes over the ‘r’, as if her tongue is tripping over itself in eagerness to reach the final stretch.
But who could find it in themselves to reproach such zeal? After all, the concluding flourish possesses an unparalleled delicacy, serving as a prudent reminder that this was a name deemed worthy of an archangel. There is an appropriate lightness to it, and it swells momentarily before diminishing to nothing.
Before she can truly acknowledge it, the journey is finished and her declaration is free. Her lips are a precipice, and it had not paused before leaping.
“Gabriel,” she says. A fleeting odyssey.