Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The alarm clock rang at 5:24 on December the 17th, but the clock face read 5:30. The alarm rang at 5:24 because Ángel Ortega had set the clock forward only 54 minutes when he adjusted it for daylight savings time. Ángel didn’t mind the temporal error, though. It was nice to have a few extra minutes to ponder the comings and goings of the world. And it gave him extra time to get out of bed. Lord knows he needed that.
Ángel fumbled for the off switch on the clock, and as he rolled over he was caught in a fractured mosaic of red light. He had forgotten to close the blinds the previous night and the garish light of a streetlamp invaded his room, shattering on the sequins of an old traje de luces which hung on the wall. Ángel closed his eyes, awash with an uncomfortable nostalgia. It was not good, this in the morning. Ángel hurriedly padded over to the window and shut the blinds. His head did not clear for several minutes, but he was soon shuffling around his flat preparing for the day.
After a light breakfast of toast and juice, Ángel wrapped himself in a worn overcoat, buttoning it up to his chin to protect himself from the wind and fog. It had been raining for the majority of the past week, but Ángel was not bothered by the weather. He wasn’t bothered by much of anything that happened around him anymore. He was too old and too worn for that. Ángel nudged a gnarly cane off the rack, coaxed the door open, and made his way from his first floor flat outside. As he ambled down Dreamwood Avenue, Ángel passed in and out of the circles of light from the streetlamps.
When he made it to the New Hope Children's Home, Ángel put his coat up in the closet and began organizing a to-do list. Ángel only lived in Dreamwood Terrace because the owners of the children's home had decided he was too old to work the night at the shelter. He did not mind. The walk gave him exercise and fresh air, and he could not work the late shifts that he worked when he was younger.
After a long day of laundry, maintenance, and cooking, Ángel finished his work and headed home. He was sore, but he was happy. Neither was unusual.
At 7:00, the power at Dreamwood Terrace flickered out. Ángel had already dozed off in a ratty armchair, with a heavily dog-eared copy of Macbeth in his lap. He was unperturbed as his neighbors scurried around searching for candles and flashlights.