I grew up on the backside of the wall. That’s what we called it because all the pretty stuff was on the front like America, and then there were us, people like me. We were the ignorant and impatient. People like me don’t wait; we play for life while death stands back waiting for us.
Back before I was born I had an uncle who days before his twenty-first birthday blew his brains into the wall of his room. I never got to know him but I wish that I had simple because everyone says I’m just like him.
I was playing in the empty lot. Kicking cans and breaking bottles were some of my favorite games. A boy walked over to me, shoved me and said, “You’re a piece of shit!” then I picked up a brick and introduced his face to it. Then I got bored and decided to play another game, break the windows in the neighborhood.
I was standing in the front room practicing my strike moves. On the floor laid artwork and markings I had been working on. The old man walked in, drunk. The old man is unpredictable when drunk. The old man grabbed me by the neck slamming into the wall and putting me in a back breaker.
Who’s your master boy?
Ha, Ha! Its ok, you’ll learn.
I was dropped on the floor. My work spit on. I couldn’t move. I could only feel the pain in my back and the tears on my cheek.
My dog was a killer. He was this big German shepherd that no one messed with. I loved him. But he probably had to pay for all those cats he killed. I guess that’s why he committed suicide, hanging himself over the backyard fence. I think it finally got to him, the killing.
I never knew there were so many kids in the neighborhood. I saw them yesterday going to this place called school. I wonder what goes on there.
How does it feel?
I’m bleeding and my vein’s been cut, how do you think I feel?
All right, we’ll go to the hospital.
I can’t believe that someone actually had the balls to stab me. Well he got his. I’m sorry but I didn’t want to do that to him, he made me. I was defending myself! Who cares you never listen anyway. I don’t know why I still talk to you.
The first time I talked to the wall was when I was five. Someone told me that since I had no friends I might as well just talk to the wall. I did.
I can’t remember feeling so good. And now I question why I felt so good, why did I enjoy it? When I held that person by the neck and saw the fear in their eyes and the pain in their face, I felt this sense of euphoria. Hurting him made me feel good inside like a nice pat on the back for a job well done. I like doing good jobs.
I think this was right around the time I started to change. Seeing that girl get hit was wrong but I couldn’t do anything about it. If I made any moves my neck would be on the line and the streets, the streets are unforgiving. I think it’s time for me to go.
I don’t want to hurt people anymore! All I know is how to hurt and worse. I want it all to go away!
I’m the first to admit that I won’t hesitate to hit someone who deserves it. Loyalty was hammered deep into my mind. But what I was being loyal to wasn’t loyal towards me. That makes me angry.
The streets were angry when I wanted out. That was right around the time the situation occurred. This was a problem. The street weren’t ready to let me go.
I’m scared. I’m scared what’s going to happen. I’m scared of what I might do.
I started going to school. I was excited. I wanted to make friends. I started to get exposed to new things like books. I was curious as a child but now there was so much more to explore. I liked exploring.
I learned something today. I learned that if I hurt my friends they won’t like me anymore. No wonder I had no friends. But I’m grown up now, next week I’ll be ten.
BY OSCAR TORRES LEON