NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Tuesday July 5th 2022

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RETURNING: CHAPTER 21: GO BACK!

By PATRICK CABELLO HANSEL

The two men on horses did not wear cowboy hats or chaps or boots; they didn’t have belts of bullets crossing their chests; they weren’t drinking rotgut or chewing on a blade of grass or smoking the butt ends of cigars. In other words, they were not born out of a common psyche determined by movie moguls.

They weren’t hallucinations either. Or ghosts. Or bits of undigested beef in Luz’ or Angel’s stomach. They were visions that each of them held, deep within them; united in their common lineage, and united in their desperate search for their dear daughter.

So, what did our beloveds see in these two figures?

There is a saying in Spanish, taken originally from a poem by 17th century Mexican poet Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz: “Todo es de acuerdo al color del cristal con que se mira.” That is: “Everything you see depends on the color of your lenses.”

What were the lenses our loving couple had on? Rose colored glasses? They had lost those a long time ago. Mirrored sunglasses to project an image of invulnerability while hiding fear? Nope.

What they saw was the beginning of the blessed, twisted lineage they shared. Without speaking a word to each other, they knew the two men were Marcos and Mateo Kelly Hidalgo, their broken ancestors. Distant in terms of the century and a half since the twins were born in 1868. Not at all distant in terms of their shared inheritance: one born not of blood or the will of any flesh but of spirit, of a fierce and holy struggle.

For the whole of their life together, Luz and Angel had wrestled with an inheritance of joy and trauma that had been passed down. They had talked many times about how their lives were linked in a history, and how their future depended on not being chained to that complicated past.

Both of them had so many things to ask Marcos and Mateo, especially Mateo. Was his death a violent one? Did he still haunt the swale as a ghost? Could he help them? But when they tried to open their mouths, they could not.

Their ears, however, were opened wider than ever, and they both heard this simple command, coming from both brothers: “Go back to where you started.”

Angel and Luz looked at each other, and simultaneously said: “Go back to where we started? What does that mean?” When they turned their gaze back on the two horsemen, they had vanished in the fog.

“Does that mean we should go back to our apartment?” Luz asked. “I couldn’t stand to be there without Lupe!”

“Or maybe it means to go back to where we had first met years ago,” Angel said. “You know, the bakery that your uncle worked at?”

“That isn’t even a bakery anymore, but a cell phone place, “ Luz said.

A thousand thoughts raced through their heads. Not only did they not know where to go, they had no idea how to get back to the time they had left. They both sighed, from the heart space deeper than words.

And then, as they had so often during this journey, when they had found no answer in their hearts, their first born, little Angelito, surprised them with wisdom beyond his years.

“Mami?” he said “Papi? We know there is a train here, and we know that there’s a train back where we live. So maybe we should follow the tracks and find our way that way.

Luz and Angel were stunned by what their son had said. But having no other idea about where to go, they each grabbed a hand of his, and started walking down the tracks.

To be continued…

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