You're looking at him, he says.
It begins in 1992, when Castro was living in Guatemala. He had been trained in the United States as a dental technician and had a happy home and family in Guatemala. One day, on a visit to a farm owned by his in-laws, a relative lost sight of his daughter Laura, who was 2 years, 8 months old.
She drowned in a pond and Castro was beyond grief. He couldn't talk about it, couldn't begin to deal with it. Four years later, working for a touring company, he was on an impoverished island in Guatemala when a family asked him for help. Their daughter was desperately ill, and the parents wondered if Castro, with his modest amount of medical training from dental school, could check her.
"The little girl died in my arms," he says. She was roughly the same age as his daughter.
A stricken Castro decided that in his daughter's name, he would set up a nonprofit clinic on the island where the other girl died. His mission brought him to Los Angeles, where he worked in a dental lab to raise money for his dream. But he was gripped by depression and turned to the bottle, which got the best of him.
"There's a state of addiction where you think you can handle it," Castro says.
But he couldn't.
He started coming downtown from his Hollywood apartment and ended up on the streets, buying marijuana and cocaine. For four years he was on the skids, too ashamed to ask his family for help or return to Guatemala empty-handed. He slept in shelters and cardboard boxes, dodging muggers but not demons.
"I bought drugs on that street," he says, pointing to San Julian.
The street where Evelyn lives.
Castro bottomed out just after Christmas last year, when he landed in jail for the second time, at the age of 55, and promised himself he was done. He had known addicts who checked into rehab at the Midnight Mission and walked down the street as if they were new, so that's where Castro went.
"I've been sober over 9 months," he says.
As part of his recovery, he took a job in public affairs at the Midnight. He gives tours and works with Spanish-language media.
Castro takes me upstairs at the mission, where roughly 250 men reside for up to a year and a half, trying to shake the ghost and beat the odds that say only 17% of them will succeed.
We walk into Castro's dorm, and the lights are low. The men are bedded down for the night, in this fight together, dreaming of grace and forgiveness. Up on the roof is the big Midnight Mission sign that Thomas Reid can see from his apartment.
"This is the original mosaic tile and marble," Reid says on a tour of the Pacific Electric Lofts at 6th and Main, once the hub of the Red Car line and a center of downtown culture.
The tour takes us to the rotunda library and rooftop pool. New condos are going in next door, and next to that is the Cecil Hotel, where the clients sometimes leave on their backs.
"The coroner's van was there the other day."