Monday, April 13, 2015

A New Son

On Wednesday, Ángel’s life was turned completely upside down.  He woke up as normal and made his way to New Hope Children’s Home.  But the moment he entered the building he was overwhelmed by a raucus cacaphony.  The hubub of an energetic debate emerged from the conference room of the Children’s Home.  Overwhelmed with curiosity, Ángel decided that he had worked in the background long enough.  He shambled up to the old oak door and peered inside.

Through the scattered voices and excited traces of conversation, Ángel gathered that New Hope had been given a new child, a young Cuban boy who’s family had immigrated to America only several weeks before.  The family fled from persecution by Raul Castro, but they had no greater luck in America.  The small, ill maintained apartment that they rented had a gas leak, and an accidental had caused an explosion.  Everyone in the family but the boy died.

The boy had not lived in America long enough to learn English, and the New Hope did not have the resources to develop a language program for him.  Moreover, New Hope was already occupying above capacity, and Ángel knew that they could not justify accepting another child.  Sensing that he would not be much help in such a trying time, Ángel slipped out of the room again and shuffled down the hall to begin his daily activities.

Ángel did not get far.  The new Cuban boy sat alone in a room to the side of the hallway, looking at his feet.  Ángel could not resist entering the room.  As Ángel peered down at the youngster, he heard his father’s voice and felt dust in his face.  Ángel looked up and saw the walls of a bullfighting arena, and he was back in Spain.  “¡Ataca!  ¡Ataca!  Cuídate, mira a la izquierda.  ¡Ahora sí!  Tienes el control,” his father yelled from the side.  Ángel nervously eyed the bull, absorbed in the fight.  He felt his father’s caloused hands on his shoulders, and leaned away from the fight into their comforting embrace.

Ángel knew that he could not allow this child to grow up alone.  He made his way back to the meeting room and announced that he would foster the child.  He had saved up the money to be able to, and he was able to speak Spanish.  He was the perfect fit.  Everyone agreed, and Ángel’s coworkers quickly filled out the forms for him to foster the child.  By the end of the afternoon, Ángel was the legal guardian.

As Ángel walked home with the boy, he suddenly felt very old and very tired.

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