“Man I am beat,” I thought to myself. Walking two blocks up and one block over, then straight to cross the main street in our hometown, just to cross again from west to east.
This is where I catch my bus to get to highschool. I am in my senior year, yet, no one believes me. No one believes I am a senior, that is. Having been asked even by my own Physical Education teacher at the end of the school year to join the Tennis Team, for they were in need of girls who could play tennis, and I guess she thought I could play (I’ve learned how to fake it… I’ve learned how to fake a lot of things at that age of seventeen.) “Sorry, teacher, but I am a senior and I won’t be here next year.” “No, you are not, I don’t believe it! You look so young!” exclaim all those were in doubt of my “ageiness”.
So tired was I that morning. After working all weekend in a downtown Los Angeles restaurant. Being gipped once again on pay, just because I was family, “She is not in need of money,” reports the owner to the manager, “For she lives at home.” I was never paid in check or hourly, it was always under the table. Twenty five dollars here, or ten dollars there. Never anything substantial enough to even buy my basic necessities, or to share with friends for a movie and fast-food. “At least high school and that job that comes with it of doing redundant work will be over soon!”
Anyway, on with my story.
Envision if you will, one, even yourself, after having crossed that street east to the point of pick-up. Passing the small convenience store on your right, wondering as you walk towards all the other high schoolers gathered to catch a ride, if they will just let you pass on by them today, to stand on the other side, away from that crowd. (There were too many days of mean people who like to torture me at bus stops, the shy one, the loner, so they called me.) Waiting in front of this old pink colored spanish style home with a low wall in the front, trying hard to keep us teenagers off its lawn. This is not necessarily the safest place in L.A., but, it is not the worst either.
Half asleep from not having enough sleep, I was stirred unto reality by the screaming of the cholo girls gathered to the left of me and in front of this low wall of this spanish style home, in the not so good, but, sometimes better than others town. I turned and look at them, “What is wrong with these brash people now?”
Then I saw. Up came this car, turning right from around the corner liquor store, tan in color was this sedan with four gang members inside. The car started slowing down and the passenger window was open. “Bang! Bang! Bang!” went the gun pointed at those cholo girls who were screaming and at the same time jumping over that low brick wall for the cover of safety. The car kept coming up east towards me. When it finally dawned on me what was taking place I was looking straight into the eyes of that Mexican gangster. They are still very clear in my mind, even unto this day, his eyes. And then his understanding of who I wasn’t.
I wasn’t what or who they were looking for.
When this person met my gaze, he almost apologetically removed his outstretched arm that was holding that gun, pulling it inside the car, while at the same time the driver punched the pedal to the metal and they were gone.
It was like a dream. It happened so fast that you did not even think it was real.
Thankfully no was hit by a flying bullet. Only that old pink spanish style home. After those girls came back around from the place they were hiding did I hear that it was all because the target that day, that beautiful one with the long black locks, the one girl who left the guy with the gun, and started dating a rival gang member.
No sooner did these girls come out from their hiding space did our bus roll up. I was first in line!
My angels were surrounding me that day at the school bus stop. As they do, even today.