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Searching ”“ A Serial Novelle Chapter 19: (“I will go with you.”)

By Patrick Cabello Hansel When Angel and Luz came back into Denny”'s, Mother Light and Ana had left. Such is the wisdom of love. The cards were put away, and the plates of food on the table were in their original uneaten state, growing cold. Angel stood before the remnant of that strange Guadalupe night and said, “I”'m sorry. I kind of destroyed the mood.” He and Luz sat down, next to each other, almost holding hands, almost leaning into each other. If you had magical powers of listening to thoughts, here”'s what you would have heard inside each of our players: Angel: “I know there is something in me that is broken. I need to keep searching””for it, and for whatever is out there that is meant for me. I can”'t do it alone. But I”'m afraid to ask.” Luz: “I love this man so, but I don”'t really know him. I”'m not afraid of being hurt. I”'m afraid that I will hold back, give just a piece of my heart, pretend I don”'t care.” Augusto, Angel”'s dad: “My son carries the weight of our heart scarred people. I never took the time to get to know him. I hope my words touch, but not tear.” Dolores, Luz”' grandmother: “I didn”'t know Denny”'s had blueberry pancakes!” Mr. Bussey, the social studies teacher on sabbatical: “It”'s way past my bedtime.” (more…)

Searching ”“ A Serial Novelle Chapter 17: Family History [“Paper” proof of birth]

By Patrick Cabello Hansel As the party wound down, Angel danced one more dance with Luz. As the song melted away and they began to release their embrace, he noticed who was left in the room: Mr. Bussey, talking with Mother Light and Ana; Luz”' grandmother Dolores, and Angel”'s father, Augusto. It was nearly 11, and though tomorrow meant heavy work, Angel could tell no one felt like ending this party. There was still an hour left in December 12, one hour to celebrate la Virgen de Guadalupe. He called to Mr. Bussey: “Hey, where can we go to keep celebrating Guadalupe on such a beautiful cold night?” Mr. Bussey scratched his head and said, “The only place I know that”'s open is Denny”'s.” “Denny”'s!” Angel shouted. “Do you think they celebrate Guadalupe there?” Luz laughed. “I think it”'s the perfect place for Guadalupe Night!” So they put on their jackets and walked outside. There were seven in all, but Mr. Bussey”'s Honda could only fit five. “C”'mon, son”, Augusto said. “We can walk there.” Angel looked at Luz, who nodded in her knowing way. (more…)

SEARCHING ”“ a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 14: Darkness and Light

By Patrick Cabello Hansel Angel and Luz went on talking for what seemed to be for hours, hours of sitting among the dusty puppets and masks, telling their stories as they had never been told. Their bodies kept inching towards each other, a trusting born not only of desire, but of a calling deep within: a calling to heal and be healed. Just as they were at the point, that fulcrum of leaning into the other, a leaning that could mean kissing each other or helping each other to their feet, there was a loud BOOM! from the street corner, and the lights in the building flared and went out. Completely. Total darkness. “What was that?” Angel asked, his body shaking. “I think it”'s a blackout”, Luz replied. “Now what do we do?” Angel asked. Luz paused in her reply. She knew that a kiss was on her heart and on Angel”'s, but that the time for it to be fulfilled had been changed, by the stealing of the light. A first kiss is not good in the dark. You want to see your beloved being born before your eyes, you want to cherish the sight of delight reflected back to your body, your spirit, your self. “I think we need to go and see what happened”, she finally said. So they groped and stumbled their way to a window. Outside the street was dark, with a few shadowy figures moving around. Some looked like cops, some like those the cops might be chasing. Across the street there were a few white people holding up signs condemning the raid, and a few Latinos. One of them carried a large statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe, another seemed to be singing. “I had almost forgotten that today is Guadalupe”'s day”, Luz said. “It”'s December 12 already?” Angel replied. He realized that the days he had spent unconscious from the beating and the days of his search had scrambled his sense of time. All he knew now was that he wanted, he needed to stick to Luz. Stick to the girl whose [...]

SEARCHING ”“ a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 13: Stories in the Storeroom

By Patrick Cabello Hansel How long Angel and Luz sat in the storerooms of masks and puppets no one knows. No daylight entered their hiding place, just a few small bulbs in the ceiling lit the long hallway. It did not matter to them. They told stories of their youth: growing up amid the mangoes and papayas and alamos of their little villages in Mexico, discovering that they had been in some of the same Holy Week processions and harvest festivals. Angel laughed at some of Luz”'s stories, and realized he hadn”'t laughed in a long, long time. As the night came on, their talk became deeper and sadder. In that crowded space, they shared””as if bread””the story of the death of Luz”' mother in a desert crossing, the estrangement Angel felt from his father multiplied recently by Angel”'s absence, the wandering spirits both of them held like a stolen treasure deep within. Angel told Luz all he knew about the owl, the strange words, the healing of his body, the slender knowledge””cut short by the immigration raid still coursing beneath them on the street””of his ancestry. The strange lineage of the Hidalgos, how he was coming to believe that it was the ghost of Mateo Hidalgo talking to him, that he himself””Angel Augusto Cruz Rojas””was descendant of Spanish nobles and Irish mercenaries, and Aztec warriors, all rolled up in his 19 years of walking on the earth They talked of their dreams and their defeats, their vision of the future, and the pain of today.     As their stories inched closer and closer to each other, so did their bodies. First brushing each other”'s shoulders, then hands, then their fingers began to play upon each others, as you would softly soothe the keys of a piano. “Do you think I”'m crazy?” Angel asked her. “No. You”'re not crazy at all. But it seems like you are starting to wear your wounds on the outside of your [...]

SEARCHING ”“ a Serial Novelle CHAPTER 12: The Raid

By Patrick Cabello Hansel People running in all directions. Shouting. Horns. Babies screaming. Right in front of him, an old man tripped on the ice and fell face down, splitting open his upper lip and breaking his nose. Blood poured out upon his worn Vikings sweater and onto the fresh snow. What is going on? Angel thought. Did someone get shot? He began to walk towards the uproar that was centered at Bloomington and Lake. Three or four SUV”'s with dark tinted windows were blocking the intersection. Cops were putting up barricades. A mother holding a baby and pulling a toddler along by the sleeve of his jumpsuit yelled at him: “!La Migra! ¡Corre! ¡Corre!”. And so he ran, away from the immigration raid, from the chaos and noise. He ran smack into the back of a girl in a sky blue coat, knocking both of them to the ground. As he struggled to pick himself up, he said “I”'m so sorry” and held his hand out to help her. He noticed there was a large rip in his pants, and the skin was red and stinging, as if someone had slapped him. She turned around and said, “That”'s OK, I was”¦” and stopped. It was Luz, her face red, bits of snow clinging to the fake fur of her hood. “Angel”¦what are doing here?” “Luz, oh my God, it”'s good to see you. I”'ve missed you so much”. “I missed you too.” For a moment””you know that moment if you”'ve loved and been loved””the street disappeared, the people running, the loudspeakers of the police ordering people to be calm. It was as if all power was concentrated in their eyes, as if they were breathing, thinking, believing just with their eyes: young, hungry, free. “We”'ve got to get out of here!” Luz said, and began to cry. “I think they got Uncle Jaime”. Angel touched her shoulder gently, and said, “Let”'s go.” They ran down an alley, slipping on [...]

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. (more…)

SEARCHING ”“ a Serial Novelle Chapter 9: History, Part I

by Patrick Cabello Hansel (Author”'s note: in the last chapter, Angel met up at Maria”'s Café with his high school history teacher, who began relating a neighborhood story from the mid-19th century that he has unearthed during his sabbatical.) “Between August Ternstvedt”'s little house and what became the cemetery was a low piece of ground called the swale. The swale was a worthless piece for kitchen gardens or orchards, and because it was low-lying it wasn”'t the first choice upon which to build. But because no one particularly wanted the land, it was a good place to go when you were wanted. Runaway slaves passed through there. There is a legend that refugees from the killings in 1862 stopped one night. AWOL soldiers, people involved in illegal fur trade, women who were fleeing abusive husbands. They would come, they would go, but their spirits always seemed to haunt the place.” “So where are you talking about””this swale or whatever you call it?” , Angel asked. Mr. Bussey took a sip of his coffee. “It”'s roughly the area between Bloomington and Cedar, and Franklin to about the railroad tracks””the Greenway today.” “That”'s right where my folks live””on 18th Avenue!” Angel felt a longing, a regret inside him growing. “Well, and this is where it gets interesting”, Mr. Bussey continued, and launched into the tale again. “Ternstvedt befriended a man named Matthew Kelly or Matthew Kiley. No one is really sure of his name. He had been in the Army some 20 years, under at least two different names. He fought in the Mexican War””some people say on both sides””was wounded at Gettysburg and fought in the so-called “Indian Wars”. Matthew had seen a lot of killing, had done enough himself, and came to Minnesota looking to settle down. He had a common law marriage with a Mexican woman named Hidalgo, whose first [...]

SEARCHING CHAPTER 7: A New Start

By Patrick Cabello Hansel We can”'t say that Angel didn”'t know where to start this leg of his journey. He”'d been starting his whole life. Fits and starts. False starts. Start and stop, start and stop. Angel”'s problem was finishing. He”'d managed to graduate from Roosevelt””barely””and he vaguely remembered the platitudes the locally famous person of color had shared at the graduation ceremony: Believe in your dreams. Reach for the stars. Stay in touch. Good words, he thought, but he”'d spent the six months since then pretty much wandering through life, without a plan, That morning, in Mother Light”'s house, as he tenderly pulled on his jacket and bent over to tie his shoes, he spotted the webbed ornament in the window. “That”'s a dream catcher, right?” he said to Ana, who was waiting at the door. She smiled, nodded yes, then pointed to her eyes, to her heart, to her lips and then to Angel. He shook his head and wondered what manner of answer that was: was this beautiful young woman deaf? Or merely insane? “I wonder if it caught any of my dreams”, he muttered to himself. Ana handed him his backpack, which felt heavier to his bruised shoulders. She led him out the door and down the block to the little park. There was fresh snow on the ground, tender to their feet. It began to snow again, soft, huge flakes, the kind dogs and children love to catch on their tongues. She led him under a red pine, whose branches were heavily laden with snow. Angel thought that he saw her bow slightly. She smiled and then repeated the same motions with her hands as she had in the house: pointing to her eyes, to her heart, to her lips and then to him. Then she pointed to the tree trunk, where hundreds of woodpecker holes were bored into the rust red bark. By the time he thought of something to say, she had gone. Where now? He did not feel fear, even though his enemies were at large. He [...]

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