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SEARCHING – a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 15: The Ties that Bind

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

Our searchers, Angel and Luz walked west in the alley, holding their silence like a candle in front of their faces. They paused for a moment by the mural at Kaplan’s. Angel said he knew some kids that had worked on it; Luz said that she did as well, and as they compared notes they realized that their world was both smaller and more connected than they thought.

They walked past the makeshift memorial in front of the store where Eddie had been shot on his way home from basketball practice. The teddy bears and dried flowers poked their heads through the fresh snow. At first, neither one of them spoke, but then, almost as if a wind had blown through them, they both sighed.

“What a waste,” Angel said.
“He was such a good guy.” Luz said.
Luz said, “I think I know who the shooter is.”
Angel replied: “I know I know who the shooter is.”

And in that moment they knew that their lives which were weaving together into the future, were also intertwined in the past. How far past they had no idea.

After they stood at Eddie’s memorial for a few minutes, Luz asked, “Angel, where are we going? You said your teacher could help us—where is he?”

“I’m not sure it’s a he”, he said, softly.
“You’re not sure it’s a he!” Luz said, not softly at all. “What do you mean? I thought you said you had a teacher who could help us find Uncle Jaime. Is this some kind of game for you?”
Angel turned to look at Luz directly. “It’s not a game. When we were talking in the dark in the puppet theater, I was thinking of one teacher who actually is a teacher although he’s not teaching right now.”
Luz stared at him: “If you think that made sense to me, you’re wrong.”
“No, Luz, listen. I was thinking of my teacher from Roosevelt, Mr. Bussey. He has been helping me understand my history, and the history of my people, the Hidalgos”.
“The Hidalgos?” Luz said. “You told me your name was Angel Cruz Rojas. Since when are you a Hidalgo?”
Angel thought she said that last name of his grandmother as if she owned it, as if it were hers to confer or withhold.
“My great grandmother was a Hidalgo, and my great, great grandfather, and going back and back.”
“Hidalgos where—here or there?”
“Now you’re not making sense.”
“I mean are your Hidalgos from Guanajuato or are they from here, from the swale?” Luz said.
If Angel had been holding anything at that moment, he would have dropped it. He could feel a cold wind up his back, even though the air around them was still.
“Luz, did you say Hidalgos from the swale?”
“Yes, and Hidalgos from Guanajuato.”
“How do you know about that?” Angel asked, although he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
“From my abuela. Her family goes way back—to Guanajuato, to Texas, all the way to Spain. Her great, great, grandmother was Guadalupe Hidalgo, who lived for awhile in the swale—right over here around 18th Avenue. “
“Luz, mi abuela said the same thing: that her great, great grandmother was Guadalupe Hidalgo, who was married to an Irishman, who gave birth to twin boys here, in this neighborhood.”

Now it was Luz’ turn to be surprised. Shocked. She opened her purse, and rummaged through it until she found a copy of a large family tree. At the top were Guadalupe Hidalgo and Matthew Kelley. Below were two boys, Marcos and Mateo Kelly Hidalgo. Below Marcos’ name were straight lines showing descendents. Below Mateo’s name was a gap, with three penciled in question marks. After the gap, a line of descendents. As the lines of the two boys grew, they began to intertwine in the center, almost like a double helix, then separated in different directions.

“This is where I am”, Luz said, as she unfolded the genealogy to show a greater widening web of names.
“And this…”, she said, turning the paper over, “this I think is your abuela. Socorro Cruz Rojas.”
“So that means…”, Angel began to ask.
“Yes we’re related,” Luz said, calmly.

Angel had two equal and opposite reactions: joy in finding someone that was closely tied to him in blood, and wonder about what would have happened had they kissed. The look on his face made Luz smile
“Don’t worry, Angel”, she laughed. “If we’re cousins, we’re like tenth cousins or something.” And then she reached up and kissed Angel on the cheek, a kiss that promised more.

Angel looked at the family tree intensely.
“So are you and I descended from Mateo or Marcos? Did Mateo even live long enough to have children? Is his ghost still around here like I’ve heard? ”
“Yes! No! Maybe!”, Luz said, laughing even harder.
“So what do we do know?” Angel asked.
“I think we need to go talk to abuela—my abuela”, and they started to walk again.

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