This is a tale of one of my homeboy’s, detailing the struggles my Raza go through. Let’s call him Eddie. He’s not the one to talk or get super personal. But he trusts me, and I trust him, with my life. He has told me a few things about his past, now I’m piecing it all together, into a story that makes sense. This is what all “illegal” kids go through.

Eddie was born in Tijuana, Mexico, lived his early years there. One of the most dangerous cities in Mexico. Eddie was a young boy, living in impoverished community riddled with crime. Right next to the tourist resorts. Where the government is investing all this money, instead of investing this money into the communities, to heal itself, to improve the conditions Eddie lives in.

Not a lot of jobs, family members are affiliated to gangs, some even linked to cartels. Lots of negatives in his atmosphere. But his family is still there, they love and support each other. Regardless how rough life is. Eddie experienced a lot. He was attacked by a dog, showed me his scar on his arm. He didn’t say this, but he’s seen some shit as a youngin, I can tell by the look in his eyes. I can’t imagine what visuals are being played in his head. Maybe murder, drugs, death, I don’t know. But he’s seen it all. I can tell he’s a lost soul. Broken, trying to fix himself.

His family wanted to get away from the situation, so they decided to move to 18th St in L.A. Eddie was 7 years old when they crossed the border illegally. He moved into a community suffering from the consequences of gang injunctions. Even though it’s still dangerous, there’s still drugs, crime and gangs. There’s a lot more oppurtunity, it’s safer, he doesn’t have to worry about cartels as much. But he must face the racist policia instead. The education system is better, he can live a little more luxuriously compared to life in Tijuana. But he can’t leave his past behind. Imagine you moving to a new enviroment, but can’t leave the memories of day’s past. You can’t get rid of the visions engraved in your eyes. Especially when you’re constantly reminded of the past. You become cold, and immune to what happens before you. You see a lifeless body soaking in a pool of blood, you don’t think much of it, but you remember seeing the blood shed in Tijuana. You see a homeless man tweaking, hyped up off of heroin. It doesn’t faze you, but you still think of all the times you seen people overdose, never to take a breathe again. You grow accustomed to these things, it’s a part of your reality. People learn from pain and pleasure. When you feel so much pain, you must find pleasure in it, or you’ll sink deeper, and deeper. You find pain in the needle, but pleasure in the high. Especially when you’re young, you’re most impressionable. When you face the darkest of reality. You’re perception becomes very dark, very empty, you’re isolated, maybe literally. Murder is a normal thing for you. Drugs, crimes, everything becomes a part of a casual day. You’re not even in middle school yet, and you’ve already experienced two lifetimes of horror. That’s what happened to kids like Eddie.

Young vatos following the footsteps of OGs. Who followed the footsteps of their OGs. Who followed the steps of their OGs. Who followed the steps… of those adapting to a poor enviroment. Exiled as second class citizens. Barred from the rest of society. Profiled as criminals, whether they’re guilty or not, they are still the victim to the economics of race & class warfare. Tracing all the way back to when Mexicans immigrated back to what was once, Mexico. From the days when prison organizations were established, to the decades of cultural beef between the north and the south, to the inevitable disenfranchisement of the community. Eddie is trapped in a continous cycle of struggle, prison, and/or death. What is he supposed to do?

He was only in L.A. for a few years. His family moved him to Federal Way, Washington. You don’t have gang injunctions, but everything else is there. His old home was filled with blue. But now he’s he’s surrounded by red. He quickly became branded by the sacred Farmer logo of Caesar Chavez. But the meaning is lost, he’s not branded by the struggle of farmers from northern California. He’s branded by the organization that took the flag for it’s own representation. His family members and friends are affilated to this cause. So he followed suit. He’s seen one side of murder, he’s seen one side of robbery, he’s seen one side of the addiction. Now he’s experiencing the other side. He’s no longer looking through the barrel. He’s aiming through the sights. He’s no longer watching someone overdose on H, he’s selling H for someone else to tweak. He’s no longer a victim to the evil doings of man. He’s now a prisoner to the mental separation of gangs, he’s a victim of his own past. The results of systemic racism.

Federal Way is full of Bloods, Somoans, and eNes. One day, Eddie and his homeboys came across rival Somoans. Started with signs and threats. Ended in a bloody moshpit. Eddie and his crew were victorious. But what was there to gain? Now the rivals know your face. Now you’re a special target. Adds to the fire between both sets. Soon after, his best friend got shot at his doorstep over a gram of weed. Another one of his homeboys was confronted by a ese. After it was all said an done, his homeboy was lying in a puddle of his own blood. Tensions rising, people living and dying, homeboys doing time. It’s now mandatory to sleep with a pistol under your pillow, to have a chopper in the trunk. Whether you’re raided by the enemy from a different set, or the enemy working for the county. It’s all in the same.

As time went on, he moved to Spanaway, Washington. To get away from the mess he’s gotten himself into. I met him during my first year of high school. We had a mutual friend. You can tell he ain’t someone to mess with. He kept to himself, he’s quiet, but you can see the fire in his eyes. This was before I really got to know him. Although I only talked to him a few times during my freshman year, I always kept my eye on him and watched him. He seemed different from most people. I was different too. I wasn’t the alpha type at that time. But he was.

I didn’t really get to know him until my sophmore year. During this time, I was going through a lot of changes. I was at my lowest mentally in the beginning of the year. That depression started turning into aggression towards the end of the school year.

I started chilling with him more frequently at school. We started talking more. We were still aquaintances. But, we became familiar with each other. I sensed that he distrusts everyone around him. He always watched his surroundings. As if he’s a target, or he’s guilty of something.

Towards the end of the year though, I went to the health room because I started getting real bad allergies. Eddie was there too. I talked to the clerk and got ready to get picked up by my grandma. Then I sat in the room. He was real pissed off. I asked him what happened. I thought something happened at school. But no, he told me someone fucked with him, and he’s looking for revenge. He showed me what the dude looked like and everything. I said I could help him. I can easily get a gun and shit. But my grandma got there to pick me up before we finished talking.

Eventually we linked up and we discussed more. He told me he’s connected to people with the cartel. He can kidnap this dude and ship him to Mexico. Or just torture him. But I’m going to stop there. We were talking some crazy ass shit. I don’t know why, but I sensed something good in this dude. Even though this was some off the wall shit.

Eventually, school ended. Eddie went ghost and I never got involved. I didn’t talk to this fool until junior year started. We had a class together. We started kicking it again.

For the first semester, we pretty much fucked around everyday. We’d skip class to go to Fred Meyer and Burger King. We’d go across the street on 40th and smoke cigarettes and weed. We’d just chill in the bathrooms. Stay after school to chill with someother homeboys. It was fun.

I remember the first time I ever dabbed. He had a dab pen, we went to the upstairs bathroom. He told me to be careful this ain’t nothing like a regular joint or blunt, one hit is all you need. I took four. At first I was like “This shit ain’t kicking in yet.” Then I was like “Oh fuck”. Then he was like “Yeah, oh fuck.” We was blazed off our asses. We’d see each other in the hallway and just laugh. We did this shit literally everyday at one point.

But for every positive moment. There was a negative moment. He was going straight. He got a job at McDonalds in Auburn. He’d go there every weekend to stay at a relative’s house and work. But that’s not an easy transition. A year ago he was talking about kidnapping someone. Now he’s talking about getting his head straight and leaving all the funk behind. Shit, in the beginning he was talking about getting some gang tattoos. But eventually he started straying away from all that. I supported it. Anytime he needed to get some shit off his chest, I was there. Any time I needed to get some shit off my chest, he was there too. There was loyalty, something hard to come by these days. Regardless how fucked our lives seemed, I’d slit someone’s throat for him, and he’d do the same.

In fact, I almost did. He was friend’s with this dude who was a GD. They lived pretty close to each other. His “friend” took his shit and never gave it back. Eddie went to go get it back. He ended up fighting the dude. Eddie was one person fighting this dude with his whole squad behind him. No chance, but he’s got heart. We talked about it. If I ever see this dude in the streets, I’m a rush him and run his shit. Anytime I heard about him, I told Eddie. Eddie told me some info about him too. Apparently, when this was about to get into a fight with someone else, he walked off and said “You lucky I ain’t got the strap.” We laugh and said this nigga’s a pussy. If you can’t man up and fight with your fists, you got no business being involved with anything. After that, we were hoping to see this dude somewhere. Punk his ass, and maybe even kill him. Either that, or Eddie was going to greenlight him.

A few days later, some kid bumped into Eddie into the hallway making fun of him for losing a fight. I saw that shit, Eddie just stared him down, then I stared this fool down too. Then I asked what that was all about. We talked about it for a minute, I was ready to beat this fools ass next time I saw him. But Eddie told me to chill, not worth it. That dude’s lucky that Eddie calmed his temper over time. Last year, that would’ve been a fight.

Funny thing too, that’s the same dude who thought it was a good idea to pick on my little sister. I ran into my sister’s class and confronted him. Dude really ain’t shit when his homies weren’t around. I told Eddie about that, we laughed once again. We stayed after school one day. Eddie and this dude got on good terms with each other. They dapped each other up. I just looked at him and kept walking. I didn’t care.

Junior year was a crazy year for both of us. We literally chilled everyday after school and smoke 80% of those days. We’d go to Fred Meyers, he’d buy some Swisher Sweets, I would steal some snacks. Then we’d go back to school and smoke in the field or go across the street to 40th.

It was fun and simple. Despite the complexity of our pasts.

As we approach the end of the school year. We chill more and more. We would freestyle and roll joints in the stadium then go to the field and smoke. Having some real deep conversation about ourselves. I was heading down a path of destruction, while he feels stuck doing his best to get out. Just the other day, Eddie got pistol whipped by a ese. He was walking home when this dude confronted him. He grabs something in his pocket, which was a gun. Eddie looks then walks away, he doesn’t have anything to defend himself with. Then he got hit in the back of the head with a pistol. Shit gets crazy, I asked him if he’s down to pay them a visit. He declines, says there’s too many of them. But I’m still going to make sure that don’t happen again.

Just recently, his cousin got shot in the head at his house. He’s been dealing with that, plus ops are getting at him. He’s moving as soon as he graduates.

He needs to restart and refresh. But, his past won’t allow that. Certain decisions are almost impossible to reverse.

He leaves to Auburn. The chapter stops here, but the story continues, that’s my vato.

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