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The Patron Saint of San Luis Rey (standard:Creative non-fiction, 3009 words)
Author: Abaricia Garcia SantiagoAdded: Aug 07 2006Views/Reads: 1975/1396Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Just when they needed a miracle, a healer arrived to change the people of San Luis Rey forever.
 



The Patron Saint of San Luis Rey 

by SG Abaricia 

Miguel Olvido arrived at the town of San Luis Rey during the height of
El Niño when wells dried up and townsfolk had to fetch their water in 
El Negros River. He had traveled far, past seven mountains on foot, 
where the roads had disappeared from pocket avalanches of rocks and mud 
from seventeen typhoons. No one knew who he was when he emerged from 
the dusty road at the edge of the town. His hair had collected the dust 
and mud that covered the leaves and tree branch. His face had written 
mournful years of longing that made him older than his twenty-five 
years. He emerges from the top of the road as wind swirled before him 
and carried up in the air the string of leaves and dried grass stems. 
Back then people were convinced that a stranger like him would come and 
emerges like a vision in the corner of their eyes. 

Miguel Olvido would spend the next several years in San Luis Rey as the
new town doctor. People asked a lot of questions why he chose to render 
his service in a place most of the city people never heard of and or 
visited in their entire life. They never understand him since the first 
day he touched with his bare hands the throngs of patient that waited 
for him for decades or the words he mumbled on to himself as he put 
into writing the disease they never truly understand. All the people 
knew was that they are in the hands of a good man and that the pain and 
worries they carried for years were profoundly lessened by regular 
intake of medicines and daily injections. It only took a few months to 
spread the news that a miracle worker was available at the town of San 
Luis Rey. People from as far away as the remote barrio traveled for 
days just to reach the hospital. They brought children with dengue 
fever and elderly people with tell tale signs of Malaria. Sleep is what 
most sick people feared back then. They loathe going to deep sleep for 
fear they won't wake up anymore. Yet from the days these people spent 
inside the dingy ward of the hospital they woke up the morning after 
refreshed as if none of the symptoms had happened before. They no 
longer remember the nauseating spell and the painful dreams they cried 
for days and all they could do was thank the good doctor for it. 

It was at the height of rainy season when a group of bandits arrived in
the dead of night at the hospital doorstep. The nurse cautioned Miguel 
Olvido that their guess wanted him and that he should make all the 
necessary precaution. Miguel found a wounded amazon inside the 
emergency room from gun battle that rages on in the slope of the 
mountain. “We heard about your miracles doctor, “ the leader of the 
bandit said to him. He was holding an armalite and his words were more 
of a plea rather than an intrusive order. “Who is she?” Miguel asked. 
“She is my wife, “ the bandit said. “ Can you take care of her wounds?” 
Miguel Olvido answered positively and ordered the nurse to unwrap the 
minor operative set. The young woman was no more than twenty years old 
and her leg wounds were inflamed with gangrene. “We need to debride 
them,” Miguel Olvido said.” Would it take longer?” the bandit asked. 
Miguel Olvido replied, “Yes...” The bandit seemed frustrated. “We don't 
have the luxury of staying here more than an hour.” Miguel Olvido put 
back the surgical knife in the sterile tray then politely answered, 
“She'll die if you take her with you.” The young woman was running a 
high fever and severe dehydration. “She needed a lot of antibiotics and 
fluids.” The bandit looked outside of the hospital window. He heard the 
loud noise from incoming government jeeps. He decided they have to 
leave immediately. Before leaving he made his promise to his wife that 
he would come back for her. But it was a promise the young woman barely 
heard due to her severe delirium. 

From days on end the young woman would shout in the dead of night
screaming from the gun battle she barely survived. Two days later her 
fever subsided and the first word she uttered in her hospital bed was 
‘a glass of water'. After regaining all the strength and nourishment 
she lost in her three months of camping in the mountain with the rest 
of the communist bandits she was able to recall the sad fate of her 
male comrades and female companions. On the second week of her hospital 
stay she sat on the doorway hoping her husband is still alive and ready 
to pick her up. The rest of the day she waited but no one came to take 
her away. The next morning a group of soldiers arrived to arrest her 
but Miguel Olvido intervened by saying he would like her to stay inside 
the hospital to do some work. The soldiers whose indebtedness to the 
good doctor is immeasurable told their superiors that the young amazon 


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