Friday May 27th 2022

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A Ray of Hope

Returning Chapter 9


The older woman walked as fast as she could toward Lake Street. She felt that she was being called further south, and had planned to wait for the light to change. But as she saw the car lights reflect off the mirrors in the huge mural at La Mexicana, a saying came to her mind:

Light is not lost in its reflection

She wasn”™t sure where the saying came from, if she had heard it spoken by someone or read it in a book. Maybe I just made it up, she thought. But it was so clear and strong that she decided to heed it. The light that she saw reflected came from the east, so she turned east. That”™s when she saw Angel and Luz and little Angelito, walking briskly. She could sense the fear in them.

They stopped in front of where the bakery used to be. The phone store was mostly boarded up; it had been looted recently, and the owner was waiting on the insurance. Whatever Luz and Angel were looking for, it didn”™t seem to be there. All they could see was a little broken glass on the floor, and boxes scattered around.

The older woman smiled and said to them,

“It may look empty, but there are a lot of memories in that place, if you have eyes to see.”

Angel thought, Oh great, another thing that doesn”™t make sense.

But Luz looked at the older woman”™s face, and a spark of recognition lit up her own smile.

“Agnes?” she said. “Is that really you?”

“Yes, dear,” the older woman replied. “And Luz, my Lord, how your little family has grown!”

Normally, Luz would have introduced Angel and her son to an old acquaintance, but given what had happened, she only blurted out:

“But we”™ve lost one of our little family””our littlest one””we don”™t know where she is!”

Agnes sighed and reached out her arm to comfort Luz.

“Who is lost?” she asked.

“Our daughter Lupita!” Luz cried. “She”™s only two, and we went to her day care, but she”™s not there!”

Right at that moment, Agnes realized why she had been sent to that place. Even though she was a lifelong Lutheran, she had begun praying to the Virgin of Guadalupe when a new member of her church told her the story of how the Virgin had saved her and her little one when they crossed the desert. That very morning, she had been thinking of Xochitl and her daughter, who was now almost a teenager. Her daughter was also named Guadalupe””or Lupe””or Lupita””and Agnes had become her unofficial abuela. Her Minnesota grandmother.

“I think we need to go see Mother Light,” she said to Luz and Angel.

Mother Light had been the mysterious teacher who had guided the couple at the beginning of their journey together.

“But I thought that Mother Light had passed!” Angel blurted out.

Agnes smiled and leaned in for a whisper:

“Even when we pass, dear Angel,” she said. “We are still together.”

Angel was stunned by her words. How did she know about Mother Light?” he thought. And how does she know my name? And what does she mean that we are still together.

Angel would have had many more unanswered thoughts, but at that moment, both Agnes and Luz said, “We have to leave right now!”

Agnes led the little party down the alleyway, where the faded mural of San Miguel Bakery was barely visible. Angel had never seen an older woman go that fast. But Agnes had seen the van coming, and seen the look on Luz”™ face. She knew that if they were to get to Mother Light, they would have to use the path through darkness.

To be continued.

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