I saw Lauro recently - I went visiting in the last week of December and into the first of January. I saw him the first night I arrived. He was loping down the dirt road that runs to my home there; a nonchalant gait, directionless and purposeless. He didn't know that I had arrived in the community, otherwise he wouldn't have been so conspicuous. I was huddled around an old rusting truck talking with Sergio and a few others and when I saw him coming, I hid. As he passed by I lept out at him, grabbed him and pulled him close. He smiled, twisted out of my arms and ran away. I let him go without protest. I knew he appreciated the gesture and loathed what he perceived to be the public embarrassment of it all. He stayed on our periphery the rest of the night though; making wide arcs around us and listening in on our conversation but not coming close enough to be engaged or worse yet, hugged.
I spent the night at Duke's house as it was too late to catch a taxi and the next morning, when I stepped out onto the front stoop, there was Lauro hanging on the front gate, staring at me. I sat down on my haunches in the dirt front yard and gestured with my hand that he should come in. Without hesitation he opened the gate and shuffled over to my side where he squatted and stared down at the ground. I didn't know what else to say to him so I said:
"Lauro I've missed you. I love you too."
He smiled. "What's up Gringo?" he asked.
"Nada" I said "Just here, hanging out. What are we gonna do today?" I asked.
He looked up at me. "I don't know, what do you think?"
"Well for starters I need to run some errands, let's get cleaned up and head downtown."
He jumped up, ran off to his house and was back within 15 minutes, changed and ready to go.
I know I've remarked on Lauro's eccentricities before and after having known him for 4 years, really nothing ought to surprise me. Yet everytime Lauro behaves as Lauro does I am astounded by the depth of his raw emotion - how easily jilted and betrayed he can feel; also how affectionate and faithful he can be. He must have snubbed me and in turn begged me for attention at least 10 times while I was there visiting. It no longer phases me, I just know that with time and an apology (whether deserved or not) that he will always return to being one of my closest companions.
I do worry for him - he's since left Los Laureles; gone to the south of the country to find his mother whom he hasn't seen in nearly 7 years. He so desperately wants someone to love him and take care of him - needs it really, and sooner rather than later. He's growing up, he'll turn 16 in April, he's yet impressionable and not completely hardened. I don't know if it's good that he went looking for his mother or not, he may not like what he finds. I do know that he needs someone to fill that void that has been in his life since he was a young child. Pray that he finds them.