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I just moved a few weeks ago, and I have been slowly unpacking stuff and going through stuff I had put in storage. Today I found some old pictures, poems and letters from my past. I am a pack rat, I have kept every letter anyone has ever written me, every picture, even ones that didn't come out clear. Every poem. And unfortunately I came upon a news clipping with my friend Javier's face on it. His warm smile in the picture brought tears to my eyes. In 1997 in Manteca, Cali, my friend Javier got a little too drunk and decided he was gonna go to a rival gang members house and do something to him. Well, that rival happened to have a gun on hand. After Javier kicked in the door he was shot in the back and killed. I guess he was sober enough to see the gun and run. He was 17. I had seen him a week before he died. Before that, I hadn't seen him for about 2 years. Why wasn't I saved then? Maybe I could have invited him to church instead of making plans to party with him. I hope Javier cried out to God in his last moments, I wanna see him in Heaven.


Danielle Gutierrez was Mexican and Philippino, beautiful face, just a little chunky. I met her when I got a job babysitting her 5 younger brothers and sisters. She was only a year younger than me. She had come to live with her mom cuz she was having problems with her Dad. We became friends right away. I remember one time at the swimming pool some girl was picking on her and I got so mad. I ended up beating that girl up. So she really looked up to me, like a big sister after that. When I would cook meals at her house she wouldn't eat, and if she did, she would spend major amounts of time in the bathroom after. Finally, I realized she was throwing up her food. I used to follow her and she would slam the door in my face. I would yell at her to quit, threaten to tell her mom, but I never did. She told me that losing weight was all that mattered to her. So I let her be. Never told anyone. Well she started losing weight, having more boyfriends and she was beautiful when she was chubby so now she was gorgeous. We ended up going to Junior High together, we clicked up with different peoples. Eventually she moved back with her Dad. Three years later, I found out that she had killed herself. One shotgun blast to her stomach. And I bet I am the only one who knows why she chose to shoot herself in the gutt. She always hated her stomach and was obsessed over it. Why wasn't I saved then, I coulda prayed, been there more, told someone. Now all I have are pictures of this cute lil girl with the big smile and small self esteem.


Then there's Christina, one of my best friends ever. My drinking buddy, she was the downest broad I ever met. Maybe a little too down. She reminded me of that singer Selena. Very pretty, but never conceited. At 11 she was robbing houses, shooting guns, stealing cars, all of that. When we were together, we were invincible. So many times we were picked up by the cops for fighting and other stuff. She would beat up guys. We loved drinking so much. She ended up becoming a 16 year old alcoholic. I went with her to AA meetings and all that, but when she would slip and start drinking again, don't you know that I would be there with my jug of Carlo Rossi. I thought if she was gonna drink, why not with me. I never offered it to her until I seen that she was already drinking, but I should have been a better friend. When I got with my baby's father she got crazy jealous. We got in our first fight, she came to my house so drunk and started tearing her pictures off my wall. She didn't like that I quit going out with her, she didn't like that I loved him and stayed home all the time. She felt abandoned. We ended up rolling around my room hitting each others head into furniture, but never once did we swing on each other. A few times she would come around and try to fight with my man. I was torn between them. We didn't talk much after that. She would always apologize, then get drunk and do something worse. She went through rehabs, again and again. My man hated her, and I never went to see her. She had done too much to us. Last time I talked to her she had told me she slammed dope for the first time. A few times she had broke down crying, talking about God, and how she wished she could feel better. Why wasn't I saved then? I coulda prayed with her, took her broken spirit to church, been there for her. Now all I got are these pictures of us holdin up our drinks, laughin and oblivious to reality.

 
Spencer and Rita were like family to me. I met Rita in 7th grade. A year later we met Spencer. Rita and Spencer fell in love and they made the perfect couple. When I ran away they would take care of me. I was almost raped and Spencer handled the fool. He was like a big brother to me. They had 3 kids and got married. I remember Spencer blowing a line off the mirror and telling me I had done too much. These last few years they got into drugs real bad. I called them less and less. Sometimes when I would call they would start fighting and were so spun out they 4 got I was even on the phone. Spencer ended up doing too much meth and cracked a guy upside his head, he almost died, he also hit Rita and broke her arm. Spencer went to jail and I came to take care of Rita's kids while she rested. When I walked into her house it was filthy and it stunk, no food for the kids. This was not the people I once knew. The people who took care of me while I was being a druggie and drinking all the time. Rita was so skinny, and I cried. Why didn't I do something? I should have been saved, maybe things woulda been different. Now my friend sits in prison and his wife who was a virgin when he met her, is giving it up to whoever tells her what she wants to hear.


There's at least a dozen more people who I could tell you about, who I loved and still love. I wasn't the friend I should have been. I do not want anyone I know to be lost in the lies of drugs and violence. My heart aches for all the people on here who are hurting. I just wanna let everyone know I will be here for anyone who needs it. If I feel like I'm getting weak in spirit, I will remember my lost friends. They needed God. I was raised in church and knew what I should have been doing. But I chose to be a knuckle head. I feel responsible for their fate. Cuz I didn't tell them what I knew, or most importantly show them.

 

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