I was about 16 when it first happened, you see growing up black in west Philadelphia , Is like being Palestinian in Israel. Everyone wants a piece of you, from gangs to undercover cops you have to be aware of everyone. If its not family, but damn even family a do a nigga in. I was only 16 when I start blowing green, the stress was to much to handle, my man Rick got shot, my man Mack got popped , an we was only a month into the summer time. It was July, all the hoes was summer time fine, playing wale's lotus flower bomb. The green was being rolled, the air was never cold, perfects days everyday. That was when i first started to take notice of everything. Middle school bros turned into high school foes over the course of that month. I was always around my friends,they were like family, until I noticed how they were changing. Change is natural, anything that lives and experiences pain or happiness will change for the good or the bad, it's what we experience and how we perceive things that shape our character. Unfortunately me and one of my \"brothers\"experienced things differently. Friday July 5th, I woke up, I remember it well my mom called me \"maurees, I want the trash out and the house clean before I get back from work, love you\" then the door slammed shut and I heard her lock it from the outside. It was about 11:00 In the morning, so, as soon as I got out of bed I went for the kitchen, grabbed a bowl, a spoon, and the box of Life (I always said starting of your morning eating life will help you digest the hard times you'll face). Then I grabbed my phone and sat at the table, I called my man Quan to see what we were doing today, he said he had this girl minyatta set up for later and she had friends. Around 58th & Springfield, which is only like a ten minute walk or a bus ride away from my house. I told him I'd get dress and then come around to his house. So I ate my cereal, lined my clothes up, and then got in the shower. When I was in the shower I couldn't help but feel like I knew this girl Quan was talking about. 58th & Springfield? Minyatta ? I couldn't shake the feeling but, by the time my shower was over she was already out of my mind. Only thing I was thinking was about these three faces me and my man Quan was about to blow. Yeah, back in those days I smoked heavy. But anyway when we went to see those girls later on that night we were in our zones, if you know what I mean. Everything was set , planned just waiting for us to put it into play. We knocked on the door, and they answered with their jackets on( the fuck we gonna be outside? Cold as shit out here? Is what I was thinking) then Quan asked them and they said we were going to be at the park for a little because her mom was about to leave for work. She said we'd only be out there 5 minutes, but those 5 turned to 20. Finally she got a text, and said we was going to her house now. So we walked back, happily, believing the wait was worth it for the two ladies we had waiting on us. She opened the door, all the lights was turned off, but something didn't seem right. Before I knew it me & Quan had a barrel on the back of our necks, they told us not to move, emptied our pockets,took our watches, anything of value we had, and then I remember them saying \"thought y'all was getting some pussy youngbulls\", then I got hit and went down. Soon as I woke up I realized I had to get out of this place we called home. I had to get out of the hood. So I start performing in school and helping my mom out around the house and when I was your age I applied for a scholarship and got a full ride to any university of my choice, but as for Quan he started selling drugs and he wouldn't go on to stop until his brother got shot. Then his eyes were opened an he enlisted back in school. \"But Mr. Hargraves, don't you have a brother that got killed?\" Yeah, but you see it doesn't matter how far down a road your are, you always have the choice to turn back around and start over as long as you have a good mindset. You understand ? \"I understand\" as I was speaking I seen that the story had an impression on Raymond, but the look in his eyes told me he wasn't going to stop until his mom got what she deserved. No matter which road he had to take.
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