The judge returned. He told them he had considered both sides carefully. The family suffered, he said, while Pedro was detained. It would only get worse if he were sent to Guatemala.
Pedro, he said, "appears to have been rehabilitated." He would grant relief.
There was a collective shriek of joy.
Moments later, the judge asked the federal attorney if she cared to reserve the right to appeal. Yes, she said.
"No!" Pamela shouted.
"What happened?" the boy asked.
The government would decide whether to keep fighting to have Pedro deported.
Tears of joy
The next morning, Emily and the family were driving the Prius back to North Carolina. The attorney was drafting a motion to free Pedro on bond. Then Emily's cellphone rang. She yelled at Milo to turn the car around.
Back in Lumpkin, a Volkswagen Passat, driven by a Mennonite pastor, roared into the dirt driveway of El Refugio. Its bumper sticker read "GOD BLESS THE WHOLE WORLD NO EXCEPTIONS."
Pedro emerged from the car in jeans and a polo shirt.
The Prius skidded up in a cloud of dust. Emily and Logan dashed toward him. Then Pamela and Milo.
Crying was the only sound. They rolled in the grass. They formed a circle, fell to their knees and prayed.
The boy told them to stop crying. He had things to tell his father. About the concrete chair he found behind the house that looks like a throne. About the big deep hole over by the storage shed. About how Pamela and Milo were getting married, and about how he heard that cicadas can sting you.
Eventually, it was time to go home. Pedro grabbed the backpack he would have taken with him to Guatemala.
It was stuffed. With letters from Emily, and pictures of his American family.