The Angel (from “The Island”)

when I met him for the first time
he was this enormous wild beast
I let him stay with me in
that lovely house along the Mercier de Moulin
it was midnight, the end of winter
he walked all the way from
the train station
I opened the door, and there I saw him
for the first time
he took off his hat, shook his head
and I could never remember what he said
he could’ve said “good evening!” or
“it’s freezing outside!” or
“a lovely train journey that was!” but
all I could hear was growl!
whatever was left of his hair
was long, unruly, and fell over his shoulders
he had a long beard and a startled look
on his face, his sad old eyes
he must’ve been shocked to see me
and thus he tried to look away
I showed him to his room and
I went back to bed, wondering
what on earth had I done
but let me tell you about such
beasts, they are not all the same
yes they are brutish, rough, and
most of them are survivors and
know only how to live for themselves
if you are wounded, if you are sick
they will leave you
but this animal, he is different
he lived in a tiny hovel, yet he grew the
most beautiful flowers on the balcony
he was poor and reclusive, yet he introduced me to
the most exotic teas, olives, Turkish sweets
kippers and sauerkraut, flatbreads and the tandoor!
he was melancholic because of the way
of the world, but how he glowed! at the sight of
worldly wonders, the sea, the trees, the mountains
and when I was sick, when I was difficult
when I was impossible
he cared for me, listened to me
and never ever left me
many years ago I prayed that God
send me an angel, of course, I really
didn’t know what a real angel
was like …

Fatima Lasay, Quezon City
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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