Miguel's Journal




Entry #3:You're not allowed to talk to strangers!


Maybe this has nothing to do with anything, but this weird thing happened to me today. I was walking by myself, which is something I like to do in the mornings on Saturdays when it's still quiet. The sky was pretty, part blue and sunny and part gray, with all these different kinds of clouds, like maybe it couldn't make up its mind whether it was going to rain or not. The air smelled good and there was a breeze. So I'm walking along, not really thinking about anything, and I see a man with his little girl and this really great looking Labrador Retriever, just like my Uncle Carlos has. I like those kind of dogs. You know, there are some little dogs, like miniature poodles and pugs, that bark at everything and act like they could take anybody down. But the truth is you could send them flying with one kick and they wouldn't ever know what hit them. They just make all that noise because they're afraid someone will find out that inside they are nothing. So behind all the noise is just fear. I know people like that too. Before I joined the gang I felt like that. Then after I left the gang and got away from all of that macho stuff, I didn't feel that way anymore. That's why I like Labs, because not only are they smart and big and strong, but they are gentle. It's like they know the power they have, so they don't need to be barking and snapping at everything that moves. Those dogs got pride and no fear.

Anyway, I'm walking toward this man and his daughter and I smile and say "Nice dog." The man smiles at me and pats the dog's head and says "Yeah. He's a good one." Then the little girl, she's like four or five, pulls on her dad's sleeve and says "Daddy, you're not a allowed to talk to strangers!" Her father laughs and I smile at the girl and say, "I am just admiring your dog. My uncle's dog looks just like that and his name is Taco." The girl cringed at the sound of my voice and buried her head in her father's sleeve. It made me feel weird to think I was scaring her and the man seemed embarrassed "She's a little shy," he told me.

The girl yelled louder "Daddy, you're not allowed to talk to strangers!" And started making a big fuss. The man said to me, "I'm sorry." and started to walk away.

And she screamed at him again and punched his arm frantically.

I said, "No problem." and I got out of there real fast. That's when it started to rain.

On the way home, I kept thinking about what happened and the stuff people teach their kids about other people and about fear. The whole thing seemed really weird to me. I mean, I understand the "Don't talk to strangers" thing. My Momma told me that too when I was little. But even when you are young you realize that there are people you don't know who are nice, like this lady who once helped me find my momma when I got lost in a store. So I wondered why does this little girl was so filled with fear. It's not like she was alone. And it's not like she was being threatened and neither was her father. I wondered why didn't she trust that her father could take care of her? Why she didn't even trust that her father could take care of himself? She must believe that no one can be trusted and that the world is a very dangerous place. That's real sad.

After lunch I took my brother Ray to the movies. We met Dee and her brother Trevor there. Ray and Trevor sat together and so did Dee and me. But after about five minutes she got up and left. She seemed really mad. I don't know why, but I'm sure it wasn't anything I said, because we hardly talked at all. I guess she just didn't like the movie.




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