Sunday, January 11, 2015


On Wednesday, Ángel took cooking duty in the New Hope Children’s home.  Ángel enjoyed cooking, provided the ham was good and there were enough olives in the pantry.  As he cooked, Ángel floated on wafts of steam.  He drifted up through the open window of his abuelita’s cottage and perched on the stovetop.  He watched as she added a pinch of azafrán and to a dish of pipirrana, and he breathed in the rich air.  As he dreamed, Ángel heard the distant slam of a door.  He paused and started a slow, creaky descent back into reality.

Ángel glanced up from his pot.  His eye caught a wisp of hair suspended in the air as the person it belonged to disappeared into the next room.  Ángel was sure he had seen that hair before.  But then again, why was this hair different from any other hair.  Ángel had worked at the orphanage for close to 70 years, and he had seen countless wisps of hair.  Wisps of hair came and wisps of hair left.  Wisps of hair got married, got jobs, had babies.  Ángel was very nearly bald.  Ángel stayed.

Indeed, Ángel had never grown personally attached to any of the orphans who walked the halls of New Hope Children’s home.  They, the children and their hair, were all part of the great tragedy of life.  Ángel had separated himself from the great tragedy of life.  He had also separated himself from his hair.  He was happy.

Ángel let the visitor pass out of his mind and continued cooking until his shift was done.

On the way home from New Hope, Ángel noticed pinpoints of light floating in the warm air.  They soared and ducked in a frantic chaos, weaving a swirling nebula around him as he made his way down the street.  Ángel was struck by the beauty of it all.

Entranced by the glitter that cloaked him, Ángel strode past Dreamwood Terrace and down Main Street.  A door emerged from the night and Ángel entered.  The door belonged to a bar.

It had been a long time since Ángel had been in a bar, and he was not used to drinking.  He ordered a shot of whiskey and took a sip.  The whiskey tasted of oldness, of gunpowder and blood.  The bartender asked Ángel what his story was.  Ángel did not want to tell his story.  His story did not belong in this world.  It did not fit here.  Ángel muttered a quick goodbye and hurried home.

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