Monday, April 13, 2015

Picadillo a la Habañera

On Thursday morning, Ángel woke up drenched in a cold sweat.  He sat up bleary-eyed and racked his brain, trying to figure out what had happened the night before.  As he pondered, each detail slowly returned, more vivid with each passing second.

Ángel had been following a young boy out of a dark tunnel.  The sides of the tunnel were coated with grime and Ángel had to step over large chunks of rubble on the floor as he struggled to keep up with the boy.  But Ángel knew that the boy would lead him out of the tunnel, into the light.  He followed the boy for hours, tracing a seemingly endless path of labyrinthine passages.  Finally, a light emerged in the distance, and Ángel began to speed up, hastily stumbling over the odds and ends that filled the tunnel, trying to grasp the boy for support as he reached for the end of the tunnel.  In his haste, Ángel knocked the boy over and continued without him.  He crossed the threshold into a brilliant light, but he looked back and saw that the boy had not come with him.  The boy lay in the shadows of the tunnel, nursing a fresh wound.  No matter how hard he tried, Ángel could not enter the tunnel again.

Ángel had renounced any belief in a righteous God soon after the Spanish Civil War, but he still believed there was some kind of alternate spiritual dimension that occasionally interacted with reality.  He could travel through time to revisit old times and old friends with such vividness that seeing the future did not seem too far fetched.  Dreams were powerful, and Ángel did not like the feeling of this dream.  It came so soon after Ángel had taken in a new child.   It didn’t seem right.  It could not be a good omen.

Despite his nervousness, Ángel continued preparing for the day.  He began to prepare a dish of rich paella, but he stopped.  Ángel pondered the dream and the Cuban boy, and decided to make sure that the boy felt at home.  He reluctantly cleaned up the paella that he had started, and began preparing a new dish, picadillo a la Habañera.  The leftover smells of the paella still wafted through the air, and they floated among the new Cuban notes of the picadillo.  Ángel was no longer at home, in Spain.  He had started a new journey.

On his way out of Dreamwood Terrace, Ángel bumped into a reclusive-looking middle-aged woman.  She gave him a knowing look, and turned away.  As she left, she spoke over her shoulder, “Good luck with the new developments…”

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