All I Want Is You

February 18, 2011
By , Los Angeles, CA
If I had one last chance to have my dad with me, I would ask him, “Why did you do it? Why did you go into your friend’s neighborhood? Why didn’t you think about me, about my mom, about us!? Why didn’t you anticipate that something bad might happen? Why, Dad?” I constantly ask myself these questions, but I know I’m never going to get an answer...
My dad Manuel passed away when I was a year and 7 months old. I never really knew him. It has been very difficult to live without him and I know that I’m never going to get a chance to talk to him.
What I know about him is what my mom has told me. He was a very dedicated person and a respectful man, the kind of man who cared for his family and sympathized with everyone around him. Although he was only 18 years old, he worked diligently to help his beloved mother. There was nothing in this world more important to him than arduous work to support his family. One of the things that he would love the most in his free time, was to often visit some of his many friends that he had in his hometown Puebla Mexico.
Puebla is a scenic and sprawling city. It’s a Spanish style and very cosmopolitan city as well. Sunflowers stand straight and proud along the sidewalks. Colorful buildings blanket the city, and the colossal Popocatepetl volcano rises nearby, spewing angry ash into the air. Down in the city, people in the buses stand shoulder to shoulder, conversations going off like Mexican fireworks. Puebla is exciting, but unpredictable.
Personally, I love hearing my mom tell me the story of falling in love with my dad. Manuel attended to high school. Once, he went to visit his friends from another high school, where he spotted an attractive girl. They liked each other from the beginning, she with her sweet laugh and he with his handsome face. After they had talked a few times, he asked her out.
The girl, Claudia, says that this was the most stunning and lovely time of her life. After five months, they knew they were meant for each other and decided to spend the rest of their lives together, so they got married. Later on, the fruit of their love came to life as a little girl who they named Luz. Everything was going well. Manuel was working as a plummer to support his new baby and his wife. Until Monday, July 21st 1997 when their lives changed forever.
It was a very warm morning in Puebla and Manuel awoke early. Like everyday, he sang while showering. At breakfast, he joked around with Claudia and she couldn't stop laughing. When it was time to leave, he gave me a hug and a kiss on my cheek, like he always did. When he said goodbye to my mom, he gave her a kiss without saying anything. He just looked at her with a faint glimpse of sadness, but then he smiled and walked out the door.
When it was time for him to come back that evening, my mom and I were waiting for him to have dinner together. Four in the afternoon was his usual time to arrive home, but he still wasn’t home by 6:00 p.m. Then it was 7, then it was 8, and my mom was becoming desperate- we hadn’t heard anything from him. A half hour later, an old woman named Marta with long, and puffy grey hair came to our door asking for my grandma Irma (Manuel’s mom).
When my grandma came to the door, Marta told her loudly, “Doña Irma, le vengo a decir que le pegaron a su hijo en Las Lomas! Vaya a verlo”. (I came to tell you that they beat up your son in Las Lomas! You need to go see him right away.)
When my mom heard this, she thought to herself, “What happened, What was Manuel doing in Las Lomas? What if they really hurt him?”
She was in shock. She went running out the door with my grandma and my Aunt Gabi stayed to take care of me. When they arrived in Las Lomas, they saw a lot of people gathered around. Everyone stared sadly at my grandma and my mom. Whispers spread throughout the crowd.
Suddenly, a friend of my dad’s gave my grandma a hug. With tears in his eyes, he told her that my dad was dead and asked her to forgive him because he couldn’t do anything to help. My grandma and mother cried and felt hopeless, feeling completely devastated by the loss.

A few minutes later, my dad’s brothers arrived. My father’s friend explained everything that happened. “When Manuel got out of work, a friend of his named Gabriel asked him to go to his neighborhood because he was having problems with gang rivals. My dad agreed. When the rivals appeared in the neighborhood, a fight started. One of the guys had a long knife and he stabbed Manuel under his arm, wounding him close to his heart. He was pronounced dead at the scene. We called the ambulance but it was too late”.
When the paramedics arrived at the scene and they checked his pulse, but his body was losing a lot of blood. Within minutes, he died.
I wonder sometimes, “Were you just being a loyal friend? Was it because you had to prove yourself? Was it because you didn’t think of us first? Didn’t you know the streets of Puebla were unpredictable?” Sometimes people don’t think of the consequences of their actions.You probably didn’t think that something bad could happen to you that day, but it did. Now, Claudia has had to live without a husband, and me without a father.

I wish I could turn back time and make you to think twice about going to your friend’s neighborhood. All I want is the chance to be with you. You have no idea how difficult life is without you. Since then, my mother and I tried to move forward and you live in our hearts. We remember you as a good person with so much love.
In life, we see a lot of violence in the streets because of gangs. We see people dying and some of the killers don’t even go to jail. I hope that by telling this story, people will think more about the consequences of getting involved with gangs. Try to imagine how your family will suffer without you in their lives.

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htrae22 said...
Mar. 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm
this is very sad i lost my dad in a similar way i guess not exactly he was murder when he was particapating in a manhunt (he was a police officer) this man had already killed another man while escaping from jail the crimnal was in the woods and my dad didnt see him when he walked by the man shot him from behind and killed him  the police found the man fifty feet from my father also pronouced dead at the site
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