Angel of Sorrow
Last night we got that call everyone dreads. You know it when it comes--you know something's wrong in the first seconds. Cinderella's kid sister died yesterday. Now chaos hits our home, as Cindy packs to leave tomorrow for awful funereal details and family mourning. I try to run the family here, except I have to be in San Francisco by Wednesday. It's an unshakable appointment: SF is announcing the all-city-read of Hummingbird, and I have to eat breakfast with the mayor, then visit school with him. How bad is that timing? How about this: Tuesday, classes at UIC are supposed to start.

My big brother Juan is going in for his second open-heart surgery while I'll be on the road.

What do you do? You make do. You buckle up and count on your neighbors and forge ahead and hope your boss understands. But deep down you don't really care if they understand or not--you have to attend to your wife and kids first. Though one weird feature for me is that I have been doing interview after interview lately. Just today, I had to do yet another immigration radio show with angry Pittsburghers calling in and yelling at me. I hate it. I don't even like The Devil's Highway that much, and I really don't like immigration at all! How ironic. I get in a squabble with a screaming anti-Mexican woman on the radio while my wife is trying to arrange over the phone for her sister to be cremated in Seattle.

Strange days, my friends. Strange days. The school bus is coming soon--I have to go get Chayo. I know the immigration maniacs who have heard and read me talking over the last week will soon send angry e-mails. Pinheads will threaten me or my family again. I am always astounded that a "Christian" nation is so violently angry when anyone suggests we need to show a little Christian compassion. Screw that--human compassion. If I go out and suggest the "illegals" are human, then I am accused of being a traitor, or of being an advocate for lawlessness and the destruction of America. It never fails to happen. And I don't understand it.

So, to all you Patriots out there who are sick of the book: so am I. I'm tired of it. And the issue. And of you. Go out and buy Hummingbird's Daughter. Let's forget about the controversy. Pat Buchanan can have fun with it for a while.

Embrace your loved ones, my friends. Hold tight. Smell their hair. Laugh. And do the same for yourselves. Because the Angel of Sorrow is not far from our doors. Remember that the phone call will come for all of us...until it's about each of us. Have a little compassion for the small and tender lives that, like you and me, only want to stay here on this sweet earth. "Thank you World."

I miss you all, Luis

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