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one phone call
It was 9:30 at night; the sun was just about set in the evening sky, as I made my way to the house, all I could hear was police sirens and dogs barking. As I reached the house, I made my way to the back yard where everyone was gathered. The guy looked at me and said, “You’re late.” The only thing I could do was stand there and wait for their next move. The guys looked at me again and asked, “are you guys sure you want to do this?” My friend and I looked at each other then looked at him and then bravely said, “Yes.” As soon as we responded he quickly shouted, “get them!” I didn’t know what was going on so I quickly go into my fighting stance and tried as best as possible to protect my face. But that didn’t quite work, as I felt a heavy punch to the face, I stumbled to the ground. Once I hit the ground I curled up in the fetal position and soon felt heavy kicks to my ribs.
Gangs are the most dangerous situation you can ever be in, and once you are in, there’s no easy way out. It was the life that I would never forget. I was living a life that wasn’t mine, always trying to fit in. I was eleven years old when I joined the gang; it wasn’t the smartest choice to make. I didn’t realize that until afterwards. My name is Luis; and I am sixteen years old now, as I write this. I was in the gang life for two years. It was the biggest mistake of my life. I would never forget the day I made that terrible choice.
It all started one day when I was walking with my best friend. We were on our way to play soccer. Two guys dressed in baggy clothes, looking like they were up to no good, came up to me and my friend and shouted, “Where you from?”
“What do you mean?” we responded with confusion on our faces. They laughed out loud, and looked at each other as if we were playing around. As soon as they realized we weren’t, they kept on walking as they were before they seen us. From that day on, I couldn’t forget what they had said that evening. The sound of their voices saying, “Where you from?” kept on playing in my head like a skipping CD. I had thought about what the two guys had said that night and how it could have been very different if I would have said something other than, “What do you mean?”
The next day I told my best friend that I had thought about what the two guys had said the night before. I asked him, “Would you ever be in a gang?”
He replied, “I don’t know. Why?”
“Just asking,” I quickly responded. After school, we saw the two guys again, and we started talking to them. They seemed pretty cool kids. They asked us if we wanted to go to a party that they were going to have. We both said, “Yes.” At that moment, I thought that my life had changed for the better.
We arrived at the party, and they had liquor, beer and drugs, all of which I had never tried. We didn’t know what to do, whether we should leave, or stay and see how it would turn out. We decided to stay. We ended up drinking and smoking for the first time that night. We didn’t go home that night. We started going over to their house every single day after school. It started to become a daily routine to get drunk and high every night. We were hanging out with them more frequently, and it soon was at the point to where they wanted us to join their gang. We decided to join their gang. They told us that we had to meet them at their house at 9:30 p.m. sharp. So we went. As we arrived to the house, we were both nervous and didn’t know what exactly was going to happen. When we reached their house, they told us to go to the backyard. All of a sudden, I felt a heavy punch to the face, and to the ground I went. Everything went black. They had only pounded us for the longest thirteen seconds of my life. We were now officially a part of the gang. We would go to parties every day.
I started to realize that the gang life wasn’t me; this was not the life I wanted to have. I always wanted the life of a person that does what they are supposed to do. I wanted to have a good life, but that Luis wasn’t there anymore. It was as though he had run away from all of his high hopes and dreams he had for himself. I thought about getting out, but it was not the easiest thing to do. To get out of the gang, you would have to either; kill someone or get beat up again until they decided that you’ve had was enough. I wanted a future. I had dreams, but they were gone. I didn’t know how I was ever going to do it.
While lying in bed that night, the only thing I could think about was how to get myself out the biggest mistake I had ever made in my life. It was now 5:15 in the morning. It was still pitch black out, and thoughts were still running through my head. As I looked out of my window, the only thing I could see was the light post that was two houses down from mine. As the wind starting blowing, all of my thought and ideas started flowing through my head. As my thoughts started getting better, I started feeling positive about myself.
It was now 5:30 in morning. The sun started to rise over the horizon. I knew that I had been up all night and hadn’t slept at all yet, so I laid in bed and closed my eyes. Before I could even start thinking about something else, I was fast asleep.
I woke up to my mother leaning over at me. I was scared at first because I didn’t know who it was, or why on earth they were so close to my face. Then I quickly opened my eyes as wide as I possibly could. I then saw that it was my mother. She said “Rise and shine! Wake up! It’s already one in the afternoon.” As I crawled my way out of bed I made my way to the bathroom and washed my face. I then realized that I could really use a cold shower to completely wake me up from all of my thoughts and dreams, that I had that night.
Once I got out of the shower, I got dressed, and then slowly sat on my bed. I picked up my cell phone and attempted to call my brother that only lived about two miles away. As a stared at my phone I couldn’t quite push the call button, I didn’t really know what I was going to say to him. Or how he was going to react to what I was going to say to him. When I finally got the guts to push the call button, it started ringing, and my heart started pounding rapidly. Within the third ring he answered the phone and said “Hello.”
Luis quickly said, “Hi, this is Luis, how are you?” making it hard to understand what he was saying.
Daniel replied, “Good,” with confusion in his voice.
Luis continued, “I was wondering if I could come and live with you. All of the things that I’ve been through at my mom and dad’s house, I just think it would be a good idea. I haven’t been going to school and I would like to go back because I want to be able to do something with my life.”
Daniel questioned, “What made you decide to change your mind, and want to do well in life?”
Luis explained, “I don’t know, I just know that the person I am right now isn’t me and I don’t want that life anymore. I want to be somebody, and hopefully it will happen I just need your help.”
Daniel replied, “I will talk to my wife, and I will call you back in a few hours.”
Luis mumbled, “Ok, sounds good,” with no hope in his voice.
After hanging up the phone with my brother, I laid in bed thinking that he would never call me back, and just to forget about it. It was around 6:30 pm when my phone started ringing and I picked it up and pushed the green button and I quickly said “Hi!” with excitement.
Daniel exclaimed, “She said that it would be fine if you move in with us, but you will be going to school and you will do your best in school.”
Luis stated, “Yes, I am fine with that!” with excitement.
After hanging up the phone I told my mom about it. She was excited for me, for wanting to change my life, and make it better. I then quickly started packing my bags. After I was done it was already 8 o’clock at night, and I was waiting for my brother to pick me up.
Getting to his house didn’t take that long. When we got there I unloaded his truck that was filled with my bags of clothes and put them in my room that my brother had for me. It was located in the basement. Not the best, but I could live there for a while. I started going to school that same week and made new friends. I was getting good grades, pretty soon I was asked to take higher classes because the teachers thought I needed them, because I was doing so well.
Making that one phone call was the best thing I could have ever done. But getting out of the gang life was not as easy as just moving with my brother. We soon realized that the only way I was truly ever going to get out and away from it all, was to move away from it.
So my brother moved our family to another town in another state. I am now living in a small town and made lots of new friends. I have completely turned my life around. I’m doing okay in school and I’m looking forward to going to college after high school and becoming a lawyer. I finally have my hopes and dreams back. I feel like I can see a future and it looks good.