NOTE: Viktor Carrasquero, a young Venezuelan emigre in Hong Kong, authorized us to share the following story from his early life.
Back in 1998, I first had direct contact with Luis Llovera, one of my neighbors back then. He was a year older than me, so he must have been 13 years old. I was cycling around town and I got a flat tire, as I was getting closer to my house. Luis saw struggling little me and hurried to help me.
This wasn’t the first time I noticed him, anyway. I’d seen him ever since I was a little kid, and for years I’d created all sorts of mythologies about what his personality was like. Nothing really happened in this encounter: I was still too shy to say anything beyond ‘thank you’, and I was too nervous to put thought into articulate words. This was, however, the beginning of years of encounters.
As we attended secondary school together, we became friends and grew closer and closer. Although, to be honest, we went through stages: we got very close at times and grew apart other times, which is only normal in your teenage years –and in life.
Luis tended to stand very close to me, physically, which always made me very nervous. One afternoon, I was feeling sad for a reason I’ve completely forgotten now, and he comforted me verbally and physically, sweetly caressing my face. That definitely ignited something in me. Unfortunately, I think I was still not ready to reciprocate that type of affection, and I rejected his caress. This changed things, as Luis didn’t get that close to me afterward.
He was there all along: I came out to him and he supported me. He was probably my best –and only?- friend. And this friendship lasted for years. When I was finished with my undergraduate studies, he stayed at my place for a few days. We talked each other into exhaustion, going through our childhood and teenage memories. One night during his stay, we were intimate. We had sex. I loved it, but he didn’t react very positively, and this set the mood for the rest of his visit. After that, we didn’t have much contact for years.
In 2013, we talked over the phone. He was doing fine, was working for a construction company, and was very busy bringing up his own family. He said he thought about me often and that he wanted to hug me. I said that I wanted that, too.
On Valentine’s Day 2014, I got a call: Luis had been murdered by a gang trying to steal the cargo he was driving from a construction site to another location. That week had been nightmarish for me, plagued with difficulties of many kinds, but this news tore me apart.
Although we never got to be together romantically, Luis will always be one of the loves of my life, as the first person (apart from my parents) who ever listened to me, told me that he cared for me and loved me.