August 06, 2006
"Loco...what are you doing?"
"Loco, what are you doing?" is how most of our conversations began. They were with mi amigo Racso here in Boston. He called me in the mornings on a break from teaching or after school on his way home to Somerville, or at night just as I was leaving the paper.
We talked daily, sometimes three times a day, about our work days, our stresses, his nervousness about moving to Germany, about his love life or the lack of mine. We would "hangear,'' our word for hanging out which meant anything from me coming over to his Somerville condo to watch Project Runway or Que Pasa USA? episodes. "Hangear" also meant that I would keep him company as he folded his laundry or accompany him as he walked his dog around the block.
No matter what we did, we always had fun even if that included him making one of his comical sarcastic "You think?" comments when I asked a rhetorical question or him grinning at one of my goofy but cheezy jokes. On roadtrips to New York City or P-town, if he made me listen to a certain Shakira song, I would playfully get him back by playing the Pussycat Dolls or Gloria Estefan's Go Away.
Yesterday, I dropped off Rasco and his gray poodle Louie at Logan airport for their big move to Germany. I gladly took him to the airport like I always have for his trips to Miami because that's what good friends do. But this time, I won't be picking him up. He's embarking on a new chapter in his life with his partner in Berlin and pursuing his dream of living in Europe and I am truly happy for Racso.
At the airport, I kept a brave face because I knew how nervous and stressed he was from the move and he needed to lean on my inner strength one last time so I kept my tears and the tightening ball in my throat at bay. (Anyone who knows me knows that when I cry, you must cry with me.) I hugged Racso tightly and wished him a safe trip. After I dropped his pack of friends off at their homes from the airport, I began to miss my friend's presence.
For over a year, Rasco has been my Cuban comfort. He brought a little of Miami to my Boston. We both grew up in Miami with super macho grande fathers cut from the same cloth. We have overprotective older sisters and we're both gay Cubanitos. We found ourselves in Boston pursuing our careers, his as an English teacher and mine as a writer. I know if we had met in high school, we would have been bestfriends but I would have been a senior to his freshman.
While I have other wonderful friends here in Boston whom I love, Racso added a little something something extra to my life in Beantown. He's the little brother I wished I always had. He was like family. (People even thought we looked a little alike with our short dark hair, thick eyebrows, brown eyes and light olive skin.)
So I couldn't help but worry like a brother yesterday as soon as I dropped him off at the airport. I kept hoping he'd be okay in Germany. Thoughts swam in my head "What if he gets stranded somewhere? What if he gets lost? What if he gets sick?" But then I remembered he's in good hands with his partner.
Although Boston feels a little empty to me right now with my friend gone, I know I'll be seeing him in Miami for the holidays and I'm already planning on seeing him in Germany in the fall. Maybe I can add a little Cuban comfort to his new home with my visit the same way he has helped Boston feel more like my home since early last year. I'm also warmed by the thought that any day now, I'll be getting an overseas call that begins with "Loco...what are you doing?"
August 06, 2006 in Cuban Being