When it was clear that cancer was going to win the battle vs my mom, I got very upset by odd things. One being that since I’m the only child of a single parent, my history was going to die with her. This is why no one should have an only child. When a parent dies, you should have a sibling to help you preserve your personal history. I’d panic about things like “who can I call when I don’t remember what I dressed up as for Halloween in 4th grade?” Let’s be honest, my imaginary sibling probably wouldn’t have remembered either. But I still struggle with this. There are so many unknowns that will remain that way because I can’t ask her.
This is the same road I’m going down with Richar. His story was so unbelievable it read like the plotline of a movie. And yet, in all the years I knew him, despite all the other outrageous stories he told me (Dulce was his girlfriend, he was an assassin, with a sniper rifle) his origin story remained the same. But…how will we ever know for sure? According to his story, he should have parents out there somewhere who have no idea where he is. He is the ONLY source of this info, and he’s gone.
I’m also struggling with the fact that his feet touched the ground of this earth and there is so little proof of it. Which is why I want to write what I know. I want to write the story that he told me over and over. The one story that I was unable to poke holes through (except for the fact that it’s so unbelievable). And when you read it, you can carry it with you as well. Your remembering it will become proof of life. We will never, ever entirely know what is true. But if it’s not true, it is the reality that he chose to make his own. And I’ll honor that by sharing it with you.
He was born in Mexico. He had a giant burn on his leg from touching the pipe of a motorcycle when he was 4. He had a huge raised scar from an accident on that same bike. He could read better than most kids I’ve met in various homes and he said he went to a school near a statue in the center of his Mexican town. This town was near the border of the US. One day, with a group of Hondurans, he tried to cross. They were all caught. It’s normal for people caught by border patrol to say that they’re from Mexico. That way, when deported, they won’t have as long of a journey back to the border for the next attempt. The BP figured out the group was from Honduras. What are the chances this kid is really from Mexico? Slim to none. So he got deported to Honduras.
Instead of anyone ever getting to the bottom of his story, he got lost in the system. Labeled a street kid and passed from children’s home to children’s home. And a street kid he was. But what came first? Was the street a part of his life before? Or did it become his life when he was flown to a foreign country all by himself before he even reached double digits?
In the time I knew him, he changed his name, the number of siblings he had, which family members he lived with. And even though he was my first kid, I could never crack his wall to get to who he really is. I’d try to talk to him about his extreme anger, his friends, his fears. And there were times I’d think we were making progress. It would seem like he was revealing something real, and then he would say something like “and then the big blue man popped up and I punched him!” I’d say “Richar, are we talking about a dream?” And he’d happily respond “No! A movie I’m going to produce one day!” Sigh. Dream world remained safer than reality.
But Mexico. That always remained the same. Never once did he hint at any knowledge of any part of Honduras.
So I wonder…are there people in Mexico waiting for him to come home?
Or is his truth so violent, so traumatic that he invented another reality to hide within?
I’ll never know. And I must be ok with that. No matter how much my curiosity is killing me.
I can’t know his origins, but I will always know his beginnings with me. For a few years of his life, I can tell you where he lived, who his friends were and what he liked to eat. And I will always, always, always know the impact that his life made on me.
Rest in peace my little friend. Until we meet again.