“Little bro, listen you can’t keep doing this” My older brother explained “You going to end up dead”. My older brother had just spent about 2 hours explaining how I got to be careful.
“Okay, okay” I ignored him. I went to my small room, closed the door on my way in.
“Ok, man you’re on your own!” he yelled up to me. I walked around my room gazing at the white cracks on the wall.
My brother, William was in a gang like me. Well he was, Will is 17 years old, and he gives speeches to kids like me. Will had been through a lot, when he was 15 he was sent to jail. I remember my mother, sisters crying for him. I didn’t, that’s when I looked up to my brother. Will had curly black hair, and brown eyes. Will looked like dad, tall and thin. They both had straight pointy nose.
A gentle knock on the door, disturbed my thoughts. “Who is it? If it’s Will then leave” I muttered, loud enough for the person to here. It probably was Jasmine or Vicky; mom was off to work and will probably go off to preach.
“It’s me Jasmine, can I come in” she asked softly.
“Yeah, sure” I said, lying on my bed. I stood up straighter on my bed. She opened the door, her eyes softly piercing through me.
“What’s wrong? You look terrible” I asked, concerned Jasmine looked like a small figure of mom. Jasmine was 8-years old, but the mind of a 10-year old. She walked up to me in her small purple slippers, her thin small body swaying to me.
“I had a bad dream, Ryan” she replied clutching her small doll. I knew that when Jasmine said ‘bad dream’ it meant she had a dream about dad.
“This time he was beating mom” she muttered, glancing down to the ground. Her long hair, covering her dark skin. I gently pulled Jasmine to me, hugging her with all my might.
“That will never happen, dad was ...... It’s okay Jazzy. I’m here to protect, you” I promised, rubbing my hands up and down on her fragile back. Realizing that my phone had rang I broke loose of Jasmine, leaving her standing on her own. When I picked / answered the phone it was Jordan.
“Yo, man you got to come out here, we going to visit Michael ’” he addressed, his tone sounding kind of funny.
“Ok man. I be there in 10” I answered. I slowly turned back to Jasmine, who was frowning at me.
“I’m sorry, Jazzy. I have to go” I apologized. It killed me that I made my 8 year old sister cry, but I really had to go.
“Hey how about this, when I come back I will get you a big purple ok?” I suggested, kneeling down to face her.
“Ok, a big one?” She asked, wiping her tears with her hands in small fists. Every time she did that, I knew she was sleepy.
“Yeah, a very big one” I answered, nodding my head. I led Jasmine to her small room.
I tucked her in and kissed her forehead. Even though it was 5:00 in the afternoon, I knew how Jasmine got when she was sleepy.
I stared at my reflection in the mirror; my hair was a shape sort of style, brown eyes, small nose, medium ears, and chocolate skin.
In my neighborhood, there were barely white people. I lived in the hard ghetto, where people died or there was a fight.
When switched into a black shirt and baggy jeans, which went up to my bottom. White sneakers that I just bought, well that I stole from a kid. Last week, the whole gang went “shopping” for new things. I stepped out my house locking the door; Jenny would probably be here in any minute. A warm breeze welcomed me as I walked down the block to Jordan’s house.
I spotted Jordan’s car a red Volvo. He stole it when he dropped by the heavens. A place where a lot of white people lived. Jordan, Zac, Tyree, and Jeremiah were all on top of Jordan s porch. The first one to notice me was Tyree, he yelled out my name so everyone could notice I was there.
One thing we all had in common was that we all loved to start trouble.
“So, we are going to visit Michael or what?” Jeremiah asked stretching out his long arms.
“No duh, stupid” Zac said jokingly punching Jeremiah in the arm.
“We should go” Jordan announced, spitting on the ground, leaving a big glob of mess.
“Yeah” I mumbled.
“Hey homes, what you guys doing here?” Michael asked lying on the bed.
“We here to see you man” I answered, my tone weakening.
“Yes man, we came too” Tyree and Zac said.
“You okay, homes?” Jordan asked, fishing his pockets for a cigarette.
“Yeah man, it was just an accident. They got me good, them punks” he said thoughtfully. Michael was right they did get him good. It started when Michael was in a fight for protecting a Asian girl. Some white dudes came up on his face, I know because I was there.
“Hey, fellers, can I have some privacy with my boy” I asked silently staring down at my sneakers. The room went silent; the only hearable thing was the ringing in my ear.
“Yeah, ok. We be downstairs if you going to need us” Jordan answered. Everyone slowly walked out whispering about the hot nurse outside.
“Why did you protect her?” I asked when I heard the door close. A surprise look appeared on his face.
“Well Ryan” he cleared his throat “She was in deep trouble. You know how I feel when I see a girl in that situation. It really kills me”.
Michael was that type of hard fighter but w/ a soft personality. That’s why we all respected him.
“Besides man she was about to be raped. What you want me to do, just leave her there and hear her screams, and yelling? Now, man that’s not how I roll, I just had to do something. I can’t bear to see anyone in the hospital like me or hurt. I just had to man, you understand don’t you?” he asked moaning at the sight of it.
“Yeah, I do man. That girl, she lucky she had someone to protect her from that creep. Someone to fight for her. Someone that got hurt, real bad for her behalf.” I pointed out. Michael had been stabbed in the side of his stomach and bruised in his right arm. Michael has done far worse to them; he just can’t stand the sight of people getting hurt. That’s one thing I liked / admired about Michael.
A knock on the door interrupted our conversation.
“Can I come in, Michael” A voice asked.
“Open” Michael yelled. To my surprise, I saw the Asian girl that I had seen before. Though she was Asian she was pretty cute. She had green eyes, black hair that landed in the middle of her back, tan skin, and a thin body. My eyes widened and my mouth dropped.
“Is this a bad time, because if it is I’ll come back later?” she asked looking at Michael to me. I glanced back at Michael and he began to turn pale.
“I’m going to go, the guys are waiting for me” I reminded Michael.
“Ok, man. I guess I’ll see you later” he said turning his attention from me to her.
I left them alone and headed down to the bar on the corner. I spotted the guys drinking beer, telling each other stories about Michael.
“One right here, man” I ordered sitting next to Zac.
“You took an l-long time, buddy” Jeremiah drunk stammered.
“What were you guys talking ‘bout” Jordan asked eying me. Jordan was the leader of the gang, so he could ask anything he wanted to know.
“Just stuff man.” I shrugged. I stared out the clear windows into the night. I began to light a cigarette.
“Here man your drink” A voice called. My head jerked back, I thanked the man. Before I could get a sip, my pocket started vibrating. I jerked my hand in my pocket; on the caller I.D the words signaled my crib. I didn’t feel like writing/entering home, that was for nerds and low lives.
“Hello?” I asked, glancing at the gang.
“Ryan, where are you? It’s 10:52, man. Don’t you know that you got to get your behind in the house? Ma, she worried about you and Jazzy” Will’s voice began to rise.
“Alright man, chill. I’ll be their in like 15 minutes” I lied. Tonight I felt like drinking and partying.
I hanged up on him.
“Let’s go to party, homes” Tyree suggested.
“Yea man, that’s cool. Let’s go” Zac
We started walking out the bar, leaving a tip.
Tyree guided us to a party on Drive Street. The buildings and the street hadn’t look familiar so immediately I knew we were not in our usual neighborhood.
I started to keep my guard up, I knew we had to be ready to fight.
“Hey sexy, what are you doing in a place like this?” A black girl with long curly hair and gray eyes asked me. She wore a short black dress that revealed a lot of skin. She got closer to me, her lips pressed together. The club was packed with kids dancing, and kissing, and playing with each other.
I looked over at the gang who was chatting with girls they hadn’t known. I gazed off into space, her voice interrupted me again.
“So you want to play hard to get?” she asked playing with her hair. I sat on the seats with my legs spread out and arms together. She smelled of peaches, and soap.
“I’m not playing at all.” I addressed her, gazing at her. Since we stepped foot in this party I had been drinking.
2 empty bottles of beer emerged in front of me. My eyes began to go a blur.
“I want to give you something” she whispered in my ear, since loud music covered the whole club like a blanket. Suddenly I began to shiver as she started biting her lips. I felt some girl’s eyes on me; I spotted this white girl checking me out.
“I like y-you, what’s your name?” I asked stammering. Her big gray eyes gazed at me.
“Inez” she purred, now 2 inches from my face. Inez, that name sounded beautiful.
Strangely, I noticed I was becoming more attracted to this girl.
“What’s yours?” she asked whispering in my ear.
“Ryan” My voice deepened. She looked impressing.
My eyes widened when she pulled me in, our lips pressed together. I heard woos and ahhh’s as I pulled her into me.
“That was good wasn’t it?” she asked. I had just kiss a girl that I barely knew, what was wrong with me, I thought to myself.
Before I answered, Jordon gave me the sign that meant we had to go. I nodded my head at his warning.
“I have to go ok. O-ok” I stammered, while staggering to the exit.
“Wait, here” she replied giving me a piece of paper.
I crumpled the piece of paper and hid it in my jean pocket.
“We saw that kiss, man.” Zack broke the silence.
“Yeah, that was some girl. She was all up on me, homes. You should have seen her” I bragged.
“She was a babe, I’m jealous of you, man” Tyree complained. I had seen the girl Tyree was with, she was nothing compared to Inez, but I kept my mouth shut.
When I arrived home, mom was watching Television. On the television they were talking about a man beating his family and he was charged with assault.
“Where have you been, young man?” She demanded.
“Out, Ma,” I shrugged, opening the full refrigerator. When I said that ,she followed me to the kitchen.
“Out where, Ryan?” she asked her eyes piercing right through me.
It took me a minute to actually answer her. I just noticed mom’s hazel eyes looked tired and weak. Her curly black hair was a big mess, sticking out all over the place. She probably had lost a few pounds, she looks thinner than before.
“To visit someone, duh?” I said, I knew that was the alcohol talking.
“Visit someone, you smell like beer Ryan!” She yelled, waving her thin hands up in the air.
“I-I-I-I’m not drunk M-Ma” I stated. Ma looked very angry, and then everything became a blur like it did in the club.
I collapsed on the ground, hearing a loud thump.
“Will, come help me, your brother’s passed out” I managed to hear my mother say.
While I was pasted out I had a dream or a memory about dad. I remerged when Ma was pregnant with Jasmine, dad used to drink a lot. When I was 7 years old and Will was 11, we used to hear mom cry. Then one day dad came home drunk, he started messing with mom.
“Please, Martin stop, I’m pregnant already” I used to hear mom beg in their bedroom.
“Come on, baby” Dad begged. Then I would hear a moment or two of silence, I knew they were kissing.
When Will came home, that’s when the beating began. Sometimes I would spot his face bumped/bruised.
“Stop” Mom yelled from upstairs. Will and I ran upstairs to see why mom was yelling. Thiers I found mom on the floor, crying and dad with hungry eyes. Will stepped in protecting Jasmine and Mom.
“Don’t you hear her you creep?” Will asked stepping in front of mom.
“What did you just say” his voice would boom.
Then that’s when I stepped in yelling at dad to leave.
Before dad left he kissed mom, and then left. Mom flinched when he planted a big wet sloppy kiss on her lips.
My heart thumped so loud and fast that day, I thought it would just rip out of my chest.
“I love you boys. You just protected your sister and me. My protectors and guardian angels” she sobbed hugging us both.
I woke up at the sound of a blender. I was lying on my bed, covered in sweat. My shoes were off, so was my leather jacket.
“Finally awake huh?” Will’s voice came to me.
“Will? You there, I don’t see you. What happened last night, I just only remember visiting Michael” I remarked rubbing my temples.