Today, while we were leaving church, I heard Gabriella gasp. I turned to look at her, but she was looking at something else. A boy, a tall boy, was waiting outside the church in the shade of a tree.
“Dios mío!” whispered Gabriella, “What is he doing here?”
“Who is it?” asked Mama, but she soon turned her eyes and saw. “Sandro…”
And so it was. Sandro, in a white t-shirt and baggy shorts, standing beneath the tree. His face was still and his eyes watched us like a hungry dog watches the dinner table; he held something in his hands, close to his chest.
As we reached the bottom of the church steps and neared the tree, he moved toward us.
“You should be glad Carlos is not with us,” began Gabriella, but she stopped when Sandro placed a small package in her hands.
“It’s the money,” he said softly. “I got it back for you. Well, almost all of it…”
We all stood with our mouths open.
“I took a job in another bakery.”
“I wasn’t really with those boys, I only pretended to be—te juro, I swear it…”
Mama was the first to recover. “I think you better come home with us and tell everyone at the same time.” She put a hand on his arm and steered him our way.
Lucero and I just stared at each other. Inside, I felt as if maybe a prayer had been answered.