Wednesday October 20th 2021

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‘Searching’ Archives

EDITOR’S NOTE Regarding “SEARCHING” by Patrick Cabello Hansel

EDITOR’S NOTE  Regarding “SEARCHING” by Patrick Cabello Hansel

Alley Communications has been honored and pleased to have been able to publish this novel by Patrick Cabello Hansel in The Alley Newspaper, chapter by chapter, each month for nearly three years. It has been a first for The Alley and for any local community paper as far as we know. We have been reminded by Jane Thomson, one of our most avid readers, writers, and active Alley Allies, that many noteworthy writers published novels in a serial format in newspapers or other periodicals. For example Jane points out that Charles Dickens published some of his works through serials in newspapers. He would publish chapters at regular intervals and if they were popular he would publish it as a book. Some writers sought and even depended upon reader comments and suggestions as they developed their novels. Readers are encouraged to send or call with responses to “Searching.” Did you enjoy it? Would you have changed any part? Would you like to see this story continued or another one sometime soon?


By Patrick Cebello Hansel “One person’s found is another person’s lost.” We are taught that this is true, that there always must be winners and losers, that it is part of the way the world is made, that the “invisible hand” directs the fortunes of everyone, and that as one rises, another must fall. But what if by searching and finding, or even by searching and not finding, we are more connected to our fellow human beings? What if our search, our healing and our wisdom multiplies unto others, so that as one of us is found, we all are? It is easy to speculate on what will become of Angel and Luz, our beloveds. It is easy to speculate, and hard to know. They have found each other, and they are willing to go to any length to keep that treasure that is their love. But we know that love untested is not real love, and that it is in trial that we often find our true strength. Luz and Angel will now walk together, and discover together, what their search will show them. Perhaps we will catch up to them a few years down the line: perhaps with babies, perhaps with degrees, most certainly with life’s troubles big and small, and with life’s joys, small and bigger than we can imagine. But what if by searching and finding, or even by searching and not finding, we are more connected to our fellow human beings? What if our search, our healing and our wisdom multiplies unto others, so that as one of us is found, we all are? And what of the others we have found along the way? Will Mr. Bussey return to Roosevelt a more curious and courageous teacher? Will Ana use her law degree to free the captives and ruffle the feathers of the powers? Will Angel’s and Luz’ families intertwine in a new weaving that reaches south to Mexico, deep into the past and far into the future? Will the man with the violin—if indeed he is a man—learn new melodies hidden in old, old songs? It would be foolish of [...]

Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 34: Everywhere you are is where you’re supposed to be

By Patrick Cabello Hansel There is something about coming in from the cold that warms the heart along with the rest of the body. Angel and Luz had literally come in from a long, cold search; as they woke on that clear, bright December morning, their hearts knew—ahead of their brains—that they had come in out of the cold of fear and hatred, and were new immigrants in the country of hope. The morning sun caressed the stained glass above their heads, and cast deep rays of color upon the baptismal font. They had not noticed last night that they were resting in the shadow of that marble and wood river. They had not noticed that the picture that was causing such a riot of color was of Jesus welcoming the children. Luz got up first, and rubbed her eyes. “Angel—did we sleep here all night?” she asked. “It seems so,” he said. “Although I think we’ve learned that nothing is ever as it seems.” “Oh, my dearies, but that is not true,” a voice answered them. “Who are you?” Luz asked. “Ask me who I was,” the voice replied. (more…)

Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 33: In Their Unknowing Grew A Great Joy

The procession was led by a group of children, dressed in bright red vests and carrying the most beautiful stars on thin poles. Each star had a face, and each face had a story.  Ahead, the bright star on the church tower grew bigger and bigger.  A guitar and the words of a Christmas bolero floated from the tower. All around them, Angel and Luz could see the faces of people illuminated by their candles, and as they prepared to cross 28th Street, the police stopped the traffic and waved the freezing pilgrims through. All around the church steps, brown lunch bags with candles growing. The crowd passed underneath a large banner that said only “¡Bienvenidos!” and entered into the old church.  You could almost hear each body release the cold as they stepped into the warm. Luz and Angel intended to sit in the back.  Angel had been to church only once in the past few years, for the funeral of his friend Andres, who was shot down in plain daylight on Lake Street.  Luz had gone to Mass faithfully with her Tio, but always felt that the people were staring at her, staring into her wounded, broken soul.  She would pray to God, but more often than not, she felt that God’s eyes were leading the crowd that glared.  But tonight was different. (more…)

Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 32: Crossing the Bridge

By Patrick Cabello Hansel The next night, the longest and coldest of the year, Luz and Angel were out on the streets walking. Their plans had only extended to meeting at the Mercado Central for dinner, but as they sat in the dining area—Angel eating a Sandwich Cubano from Manny’s, Luz finishing off her Sweet Corn Tamal and Champurrado from La Loma—they noticed the exhibit of children’s photographs on the wall. It had beautiful photos of children smiling and butterflies, and strange ones of shadows, feet, and junk in the alley. “Hey, look Luz,” Angel said. “It’s called ‘God’s Backyard’. What a weird name for a show!” “I think it’s cute,” Luz replied. “Besides, isn’t the backyard where things happen: barbecues, toddlers swimming in tiny pools, little gardens of tomatoes and chiles?” “Do you think we’re in God’s Backyard?” Angel asked, as they took their seats again. Luz paused for a moment. “This may sound weird, but I think we are God’s Backyard!” (more…)

Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 31: Towards the Unkown

By Patrick Cabello Hansel We use the phrase “love birds” to describe a couple in love who seem to have grown wings of joy.  They can be 18 or 19, 80 or 90. It is the quality of their embrace that lifts them off the ordinary ground.  When Luz and Angel kissed in the deep snow at the cemetery, they were the love birds we love.  When they got up and walked, hand in hand, toward their evil and their freedom, they were birds of a deeper, stranger love. There are no paths in a cemetery after a heavy snow.  There are only the stones and the white wilderness.  They followed the flight of the hawk they had seen, and walked through knee deep snow towards the center of the holy ground.  Without a word, they both stopped at the place they felt they had to. “I don’t see the hawk—el halcón,” Angel said. “Nor do I.” Then both of them looked up and to the east, and there on a bare branch rested the whitest bird they had ever seen. (more…)

Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 30: Drop The Maybe

By Patrick Cabello Hansel Luz and Angel walked in silence to the cemetery. The clouds had disappeared, and the nearly first quarter moon hung like a bowl tipped up to pour out blessings. They stopped by the closed gates and looked at the sky together. Midnight passed, and the slow December march t the dawn began quietly. “Do you think we’re going to die?” Angel asked Luz. “Yes—I mean everyone has to die,” she answered. “No—are we going to die soon?” His lip began to curve into the same shape as the moon. “I don’t know—why?” (more…)

Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 29: Hammer And Chalice And Jail

By Patrick Cabello Hansel As the evening rolled on, and Luz became warmer, the little man in the corner—if indeed he was a man—played a mournful, soulful tune on his violin. Luz realized she was humming along, and was about to ask where the song came from, but the old woman spoke first, almost as if she heard Luz’ question in her mind. “Yes, that’s an old Swedish folk tune,” the woman said. “But we sing that at my uncle’s church,” Luz said. “It’s called “Soplo …” She began to sing, “Soplo de Dios Viviente…” “About the breath, the wind of God, am I right?” the woman asked. “Yes!” Luz replied. “But how did you know that?” “Oh, that song is sung in many lands,” she said. “It started in Sweden. Or should I say, it came from Sweden. Where it started, nobody knows.” “The breath, the wind of God…” Luz hummed. Just then a burst of wind—the last breath of the storm that had already passed—blew the storm door open and rattled it. (more…)

Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 28: POINT THEM TOWARDS THE FIRE

By Patrick Cabello Hansel Sit down, dear. You must be so cold. Let me take your wrap, and have a nice cup of tea.” So spoke the old woman into whose house Luz had stumbled.  She didn’t realize how cold she was until she found herself in the warmth of this woman’s house, a house full of candles and music and smells of baking.  For the first time in a long time, Luz felt safe. “Take off your boots, hon,” the woman said, even before Luz realized that her feet were freezing.  “Just point them toward the fire, and they’ll get warm soon enough.” Luz gratefully tugged off her boots, and as she did, she felt something loosening its grip on her chest.  A longing, a gratefulness poured out of her. “Thank you so much”, she said to the old woman.  “I didn’t know where to go, and then I heard your voice calling me.”  Luz didn’t say that the old woman’s voice sounded like something she’d been listening for her whole life.  She sat in silence for a moment, sipping her tea and wiggling her toes. (more…)

Searching – A Serial Novelle Chapter 27: “Komma”

By Patrick Cabello Hansel While Angel was having the ride of his life, Luz was trying to get back from the deep darkness that had crept—no, roared back—into hers. She had never forgotten the pain and humiliation of her adolescence, in fact on some days she could almost taste what the boys had done to her and said to her, and what the girls whispered around her. But she had tried to stuff it down so far into herself that she felt her body always heavy and tired. And now, one of those who had hurt her had come back. He wore a new scar on his face, courtesy of the man she loved. “I’m glad Angel cut him,” she said out loud, “I wish he would have killed him!” And immediately begin to sob. Luz had been taught the way of forgiveness. Not just by words at her church, but by the loving actions of her uncle and aunt who had raised her. After her assault, when she had become by turns withdrawn and openly hostile, they had hung in there with her. Even when she ran away, when she came home drunk, when she cursed at them, they still loved her. There were consequences, but there was always more than enough love. When she began to cut herself, they got her help. They never gave up even when she did. She had survived because of that, she had grown. Deep in herself, she felt she should forgive. Deeper still, she didn’t think she could. (more…)

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