Miguel's Journal



Entry #18: Suspended is no vacation.


Though you might be thinking "Miguel got suspended. He doesn't have to go to school. Cool!" I gotta say right off, that this has not been fun for me. Yeah, I got some small satisfaction punching Juan in the face, but mostly I just feel ashamed. I used to be a fighting man. When I lived in L.A., that's what my life was about. Being part of the gang, and getting mixed up with the stuff that the brothers wanted to do. You know, like if one of the brothers met someone from another gang and that other guy gave the brother a hard time, well, then it was up to all of us to seek honor and revenge. And that always meant a fight. You know, when I was in the middle of that life, I never really thought that it was something bad... or even stupid. It wasn't until my best friend was shot and killed by a bullet that was meant for me, that I began to even think that this kind of life was not for me. This kind of life was for people who had no dreams. I got dreams, man! And those dreams include making something of myself. I am smart, I know that. And I believe that even though I am an immigrant to this country, if I use my intelligence, I can go far. That is what my family believes and my parents and all of my relatives, have worked very hard, to see that their children are going to have a better life.

So you see, I knew that fighting with Juan was going to be a bad move. Even the short time pleasure of feeling my fist in his face could not convince me that this was a long time smart move. I have had a few days to think about it and I realize a lot of things now. My love for my family is very important to me and I do not want to do anything else that will bring shame to them. I will have to tell them about getting suspended. They will probably punish me, but that will be better than keeping this secret from them. They are good to me, and they only want the best for me. Maybe they will understand why I did what I did.

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I told my parents about the fight. I chose a time when Uncle Carlos was over because I figured that my parents might not be too angry with me in front of him. I was wrong. I don't think it made any difference. In fact, not only were my parents angry, Uncle Carlos yelled at me plenty too! But after they yelled and had listened to my explanation of why I started the fight, they seemed to forgive me. They seemed to understand that the feelings I have for Dee are very strong and that I was frustrated that Juan had hurt her (or tried to) and that I had not been there to help her.

My father told me that I should stay away from Juan and that he knew that I really was a man of honor who does not look to solve problems with violence. It made me feel good that my father believed this of me.

I feel better that my family knows what happened. It seems like I learned some stuff because of all of this. I didn't have the words for all of what was crowding my head, so I went for a walk. Taco started barking when I put on my sweat shirt, but I told him that I wanted to be alone. He gave me a sad look but then Uncle Carlos whistled for him and he ran to him.

The trail was muddy from the recent rains, and I could tell from the smoothness of the trail, that not many people had been here in the past day or two. I made my way to the top of the ridge which overlooks part of the trail below. I started to sing an old Mexican song my grandfather taught me... It's called "Savor a mi." It's kinda hard to translate into English but mostly it means: "Something I long for and savor, like a wonderful taste in my mouth." The song is slow and the words tell about being with someone who is in love with you. I was thinking about Dee as I sang it.

It felt good to let the music carry my feelings up and out over the forest. Suddenly I heard a shout and then the crash of a large rock hitting a tree on the trail below. I went to the edge of the ridge and looked down. There was Dee climbing up the last part of a little side trail! I was really surprised to see her and so happy! I helped her up and we sat there together, on a fallen tree trunk, just enjoying the peacefulness of the place. I told her everything, and now there are no secrets between us.

Tomorrow I will go back to school and that feels like exactly where I'm supposed to be 'cause, hey! I've got plans, man.




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