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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday May 23rd 2024

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.”Â  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.

“I know this sounds strange,” she said, leaning toward the woman, who had sat down in a chair opposite her own.  “But I feel I”'ve known you my whole life, and yet I just met you today.  Do you know what I mean?”

“Of course, dear,” the old woman smiled.  “We”'re always searching for that which we lost before we knew we had found it.”

Luz welcomed that sentence into her heart, while at the same time her brain was trying to figure out what in the world it meant.  “Class, how would you diagram that sentence?” she heard Miss Mostrom, her 9th grade English teacher say in her head.   Luz had not thought of her for years, and it caused both hope and fear to rise in her.

“Don”'t worry, dear,” the woman continued.  “We don”'t need to understand everything.”

Well that”'s true! thought Luz. But I sure would like to understand something about what”'s been happening to me.

She took another sip of tea, cleared her throat and set her cup down on the coffee table, covered with the most exquisite doily she”'d ever seen, crocheted in patterns that reminded her of a garden.

“What did you say when you called me?” she asked the woman.

At this point, the man in the corner””if indeed he was a man””stopped playing his violin and leaned into the conversation.

“Oh, it”'s just something we say,” she smiled.  “Something I learned from my grandmother back in Sweden.  Have a ginger cookie.”Â  She handed the silver tray to Luz.

Luz ate one bite, and then continued on:

“But what does it mean?” she asked. “It sounded like Comma till mi”.  Is that Swedish?”

“Yes it is, dear.  Komma til mig.”Â  And smiled again at Luz, but did not translate.

I really wish she”'d smile less and tell me more, Luz thought.  But her smile feels nice.

“But what does it mean?”

“Well the meaning is for the hearer to understand,” the woman smiled, and the man””if indeed he was a man””began playing again, a melody that Luz knew she knew, a tune she was hearing for the first time.

“Do you mean that I have to choose to understand it?” she asked.  “I need to figure out what it means to me.”

“Oh yes, but not just to you, but to your angel as well.”

How did she know I have a boyfriend named Angel? she thought.  And then thought: Does she know I have a boyfriend named Angel?  And then she thought: Is he my boyfriend?  We”'ve kissed once, and we”'ve been chased a lot more than that. I wonder where he is right now, she said.  And as she said it, felt that she was speaking it aloud.

The old woman bent toward her and tapped her knee with her hand.

“Don”'t worry,” she said. “He”'s OK.  He is searching just as you are. You just sit here and drink your tea and get warmed up.  Point your toes towards the fire.”

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