Miguel's Journal



Entry #20: Where do I go from here?


When I walked through the back door after the party I was glad the house was dark. I was also glad to sit down and think about what the hell had happened that night with Dee and me. Before I got very far, someone flipped on the light stabbing my eyes like glass. My sister Sophia was standing in the doorway. The look on her face told me right away that she knew something was wrong.

I can never keep anything from her anyway. Sophia sees through me like a window. She always has, ever since I was a little boy. (Why are all the women in this family psychic?) So I told her what happened.

I thought she would start yelling or something, especially when she heard about the marijuana and the police, but no, she just made some tea while she listened to what I had to say. When I was done I asked her what I should do. She gave me a look that said, "I will tell you and I want you to listen real good." Then she poured the tea into two red and yellow ceramic mugs and sat down next to me at the table.

"Miguel you are at a crossroads at this time in your life. Just like moving away from Los Angeles and the gangs was a crossroads. You could be making a big mistake by continuing in this direction. Or you could wake up, my brother!"

When she said those words, "Wake up!" she brought home her meaning by smacking the side of my head with her hand. It didn't hurt but it surprised me. So did the force of her words.

"Miguel, slow down and take a good look at where you are going. Dee is a good girl. And she has been good for you. Why are you throwing her love away?"

That was a tough question, especially because until she asked it, I wasn't aware that I had been throwing anything away, especially not Dee. Then I told Sophia that I wanted to cool it with Dee. Like it was totally my decision, you know? But really inside, I was feeling like I had blown it with this girl who had been so special to me and that I only said I wanted to cool it so that I wouldn't have to deal with Sophia's disapproval.

"Miguel," she continued, "If you don't want the relationship with Dee anymore, that's your business. Sometimes it is a good thing to step back from things and give yourself time to sort them out. I have no problem with that. But when you tell me that you are doing drugs and running through the street at night like a criminal, then I say, "That is my business! As your big sister I have always felt responsible for you, Miguel. I love you and I don't want to see you waste your life hanging around people who don't give a damn about what happens to you. These people are not your friends and to let them pressure you into doing things that you don't want to do, that is crazy!"

Still she was not yelling (that would have woken up the rest of the family). Instead she was whispering but so fiercely that she sounded like a hissing snake. And so intently did she look at me, right into my soul, she saw, that I could not take my eyes away from her face. Also, in her eyes, I could see how much she loved me.

"Miguel," she said. "You need to make a change at this crossroads. Something that will take you in a new direction so that you can learn some new things about yourself and about people."

I told her I was thinking about getting a job.

"That is good! Why not ask Uncle Carlos if you can work at Mi Familia?

I told her that I didn't want to work there. "Everyone in the family would watch over me every minute, like a baby. I need a job in a place where nobody knows me. That's what I want, so I can prove myself to strangers and feel more like I am out in the world. You know?"

She nodded. "Then I will talk to my friend at Cricket's Cafe. She told me that a couple of people had just left and they were looking for help. How does that sound?"

I told her I appreciated her concern but that I wanted to find my own job.

The next day, after school, I got hired at Black Bart's. It's a cool place down on 4th Street. Lots of kids, from all different schools, hang out there, especially on weekends. That's when they have live music and stuff. I'll only be will be clearing tables to start, but the server's split some of their tips with us and I can work my way up. The boss is Andy. He seems cool. He said I could start Saturday. I think this will be good.

As for Dee, maybe I did blow it with her, but for right now, I think I will just cool it and try to make some sense out of the other parts of my life.




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