Got up this morning and tried to wash the blood off my hands.
My neighbor Angel Calderon was attacked at 1 a.m. in his own house, where he was sitting watching TV with his dog (forgot to ask what show), when a guy Angel describes as a 6-foot-tall black man, “strongly built,” burst into his livingroom. Apparently he had come in through a window in the back of the house; Angel lives alone on the first floor. The guy punched him till his whole head and face were bleeding, but Angel managed to run out the front door and start yelling for help. That’s when Tim and i, who were engrossed in a DVD of Season II of “Downton Abbey,” heard him and came running outside. Angel was already standing at the foot of the porch of our neighbor Elizabeth Holpuch’s house, and Elizabeth was already on her cellphone with the cops.
Dear God, it seemed like she was talking to them for an eternity. i heard her describing his wounds in some detail, and relaying questions to him (“Did you get a good look at him, Angel? Did he have a gun?” etc.) and telling him to sit down, put a “cold compress” on his head, etc. i ran back home to get a roll of paper towels (brand-new; it happens we’d just bought it yesterday) and a pan of water and a can of spray-on Bactine as if it were a mosquito bite. i ran back and started mopping off his head, which was dripping, dripping, dripping with blood, all down his face and shirt and down onto his shorts and socks. That’s all he was wearing. i’d used up the whole roll of paper towels, and half a 6-quart pan of cold water, before the cops arrived some 20 minutes later. Then it took another 10 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, though the police dispatcher had told Elizabeth that he was calling for one while she was still on the phone. Anyway help did finally arrive.
Angel used my cellphone to call his sister in the Town of Newburgh, and when the EMTs had finished bandaging him up the best they could and the sister had arrived, Tim and i felt he was in good hands and went back home. We figured he’d be in St. Luke’s Hospital today. But just now i ran into Elizabeth and she said St. Luke’s had sent him to Westchester because the contusion inside his ear needed stitches that St. Luke’s couldn’t provide.
Let us pray. And let us wonder if there isn’t blood on the hands of us all, for our failure to demand and produce a safer city for all the Angels among us.