Lauro is an enigma, I've written about him before both here on the blog and in my newsletters; he so desperately craves love and affection and someone to make him feel valued yet he always expects rejection and lonliness. He can demonstrate such strength and loyalty and true love but if ever crossed or let down he becomes like a lover scorned; vengeful, withdrawn, a shell of a person. This past year has been particularly trying for our relationship; when I first moved back down to Honduras in April he avoided me and my attempts to talk with him, when he saw me approaching he would simply run in the other direction. One day I caught him though when he wasn't looking; I grabbed his arm, said his name and told him that I loved him - he looked at me and smiled. Just melted really. From that day forward until I had to leave Honduras in June he followed me everywhere; if there was an errand to run Lauro came with, if I took a daytrip Lauro was always a part of the group, he even, and against his prior proclomations to the contrary, started coming back to church with us. And then I left. These numberless days that I've been here in the U.S. I've received many calls from many people in Honduras, it's good to feel loved. Just one though came from Lauro, back in July.
He said "Gringo, you've forgotten me haven't you."
"No," I replied "It turns out though that I can't call you if I don't have a number to reach you at."
"Lies," He said "You call Duke, you call Sergio, you even call Chamu but you never call me."
"And how am I supposed to reach you if you don't have a phone? All of those guys have phones."
"Just call someone and ask for me, that's all you have to do." He said
"And what's up Gringo, when are you coming back?" He asked
"I don't know" I said " Someday, I don't know."
"Cheke" He said "See you later."
"Lauro" I said "I love you."
In the months that followed I tried to connect with him but he was never to be found, for a time he was living in another part of the country with his sister and her husband, other times he was simply working. A week ago as I was talking to Duke he stopped short and said:
"Hey here comes Lauro."
"Put him on the phone." I yelled in a desperate voice.
Duke tried but when Lauro asked who it was and discovered that it was me he declared:
"I don't know any pinche Mateo."
I laughed, Duke laughed - I wanted to cry. This past week then I was chatting with Sergio, he stopped short and told me that Lauro wanted to speak with me. He handed off the phone to Lauro and I heard:
"Gringo, send me 50 cents to buy some food."
I laughed and asked him "I thought you didn't know me?"
"I don't but I'm hungry." he replied.
"Why are you hungry?" I asked him
"Gringo" he said matter-of-factly "You can't eat without money and you can't have money without work. I haven't had work in weeks."
"How are you surving?" I asked incredulously
"I sleep till 11 everyday, that way I don't feel the hunger quite so long and then the rest of the day I wander around looking for odd jobs or finding food where I can."
"Why don't you go to your father and ask him for food?" I asked in shock
His voice dropped "My father doesn't want me. I don't know what to do."
"Me neither." I said
"Maybe if I had a stove." He said his voice perking up a bit "I could cook all the time."
"What would you cook?"
"Chickens and avocados that I could steal."
"You shouldn't steal Lauro." I scolded
"Gringo, send me 50 cents." He returned.
"I will Lauro, I will Lauro. Find a way to call me tomorrow."
"Ok." He agreed
"I can't." I replied
"I love you."
"I love you too." He said in a low voice
He never called the next day.
Pray for Lauro - he's only 15.