NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
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A Strange Feast

Returning Chapter 11

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

As Agnes led Angel and Luz and little Angel to the basement community room, the smell of fresh baked bread and cinnamon grew stronger, along with hints of fresh coffee. As they entered the dining area, they saw tables filled with cinnamon rolls and pan dulce, trays of sambusas and fry bread, and coffee urns. 

“Is this just for us?” little Angel asked.

“Yes and no,” Agnes laughed.  “It is just that you are be welcomed and fed, yes.  But no food and no light is just for us, but for everybody.”

Luz and Angel didn”™t realize how hungry they were until they started eating.  They ate and drank, almost forgetting they were on a mission to find their lost daughter.  Again, it was little Angel who brought them back to reality.

“Do you know where my sister is?” he asked Agnes.

“Oh yes,” Agnes said.  “She”™s being cared for by some friends.  They will bring her here soon.”

At this, Luz and Angel jumped up and peppered Agnes with questions. It was hard to tell which one was speaking which lines.

“Where is she?”

“Is she OK?”

“Who has her?”

“Why didn”™t you tell us this at first?”

“Please, please, bring her to us!”

Agnes smiled and simply said,

“Do not worry. She is on her way.  But please, let me introduce you to some friends who you may or may not know.”

She pointed around the room.  Angel and Luz rubbed their eyes as she gave them the tour.  Were these people here the whole time, or are we imagining them?

“Here”™s our resident card shark, Lefty. Behind the counter is Chef Abdi. Over by the pop machine is Alice, who made the wonderful rolls.  And lying by the elevator is our dog Voltaire.”

Lefty, Abdi and Alice waved their hands in greeting.  Angel was sure the dog Voltaire had done so as well, and was scratching his head in wonder.

“And who is that couple over there, holding hands?” Luz asked.  She pointed to an elderly interracial couple.

“Oh, those are our newlyweds,” she said.

“Newlyweds!” Luz exclaimed.  “But they”™re so”¦so”¦”

“Old?” Agnes laughed.  “Not that old.  She”™s only 84. And he”™s not a day over 87.”

“And they are newlyweds?” Angel asked.

“Indeed!” Agnes replied.  “A beautiful June wedding, just like they always wanted.”

All of them marveled at the love of the couple, and for a moment, the room became even warmer and brighter.  Then little Angel tugged on Agnes”™ skirt.

“But what about my sister?” he asked.

“She”™s almost here,” Agnes said.  “There”™s just one more person I want you to meet.”

You can imagine the joy and the impatience of Angel and Luz as they heard these words.  They stood up and walked closer to Agnes, the two of them almost glowing in the warmth of the welcome they received.

“Just one more person,” Agnes said.  And then she seemed to shrink, and the light and warmth of the room suddenly took on a chill.

To be continued.

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