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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday May 19th 2024

SEARCHING ”“ a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 11: Calling

By Patrick Cabello Hansel

This time, Angel did not vacillate. He walked south, past Waite House, the Islamic Center, the airplane graveyard. At the Greenway, he paused for a moment to look down. The plows had not come yet, but intrepid cyclists had carved little paths in the snow. From his point of view, they looked like chromosomes stretching themselves out. Angel wondered if the genes we receive from our ancestors and pass on to our descendants stretch and contract with the joys and trials of history: marriages, wars, miracles known to many and those known only to a few.

As Mr. Bussey had told him, the little store on Lake had phone cards. Dozens of them, some with outlines of countries, cartoons, women in bikinis, the lucha libre hero his younger brother David idolized. He ended up buying one with dancing and singing hot peppers. He remembered where the last pay phone in the neighborhood was: incongruously off an alley on a side street. The aluminum shell was dented in two places, someone had written, “I love you, Katrina. VERY LOVE!” with a dark red marker, but the phone worked.

Unfortunately, the city plow had thrown up a wall of broken ice and snow, so that to face the phone, Angel had to climb the little hill and actually stretch down to reach the numbers. By the time he dialed the access number, the twelve digits of the pin on his phone card, 011, the country and city code and his abuela”'s number, his neck was throbbing. And yet, with each number punched, he felt an energy grow in him. Finally the phone began to ring in that far off way he remembered. Not a ring, not a beep exactly, but something that felt almost like a bird.

“Bueno”. His grandmother”'s voice, weaker than he remembered, but still pulsing with love.

“Abuelo. Soy yo””Angel. Angel de Minneapolis”.

“Hola, mi amor””¿Cómo estás?”.

They always talked like this, trading endearments for a while, but Angel could feel the impatience growing in him.

“Abuela, your mother was an Hidalgo, right?” he asked.

“Oh, si. My mother, my grandfather, going back a long time”.

“And some of them were famous, ¿verdad?”

“Yes, some were famous”¦and some were”¦well, they were famously bad.” Angel could hear her chuckle.

“Did you ever hear about a Guadalupe Hidalgo who lived up here?”

“Guadalupe”¦well, yes there”'s a lot of Guadalupes in our family. You know that.” She hesitated and Angel, from 2,000 miles away, felt she was hiding something.

“But did we have a Guadalupe who lived here, who married a man named Kelly. Or Kiley? An Irishman, who fought in the Mexican War.”

Angel could hear her sigh, and then breathe deeply, in and out.

“Yes, mi amor. Guadalupe was my great, great, grandmother. A sad story. A beautiful story, but sad.”

“What happened to her son””to Mateo?”

Another sigh, another long pause.

“Why do you want to know this, Angelito?” she asked. “How did you learn about this?”

“Abuela, do you remember how you used to talk about the spirits. About how they communicated with us even when we didn”'t realize it.”

“Of course, mi ”˜jito. Everybody knows that!”

Angel thought for a moment. It seemed to him that only some people knew that. Luz, Mr. Bussey, whoever out there was calling him.

“I think he may be calling me”, Angel said.

“The Old Tecolote””calling you?” She laughed. “Well, it doesn”'t surprise me””you always had that look. What is he saying?”

“I”'m not really sure. Strange things have been happening, but it”'s starting to become clearer. So what should I do, abuela?”

“Oh, that”'s easy, mi amor. You have to listen. You have to let go of your life and listen.”

Angel was about to ask her what to listen for, when a loud noise shook him. All around him people were running, and as if by instinct, he ran too”¦.

Patrick Cabello Hansel, creative & amiable poet, author, dramatist, and pastor (and so, too, Luisa Cabello Hansel) St. Paul”'s Lutheran Church – 28th Street and 15th Ave. in Midtown Phillips. Writes a new Chapter for Novelle Searching in each month”'s The Alley.
*A new chapter appears every month in The Alley. You can influence the story by contacting the author with your ideas and comments.

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