Sept 2002

Many of you reading this don't know me, but a lot of you can understand how it was growing up fast and hard in the barrios, the poor sides of town. On the streets of my city I am called Twilight, but my real name is Juan Hernandez. I was born on May 18th, I'm 20 years old. You know through out my life I always thought that no one could understand the things I have been through, or would even care. So here is my story in hopes that maybe someone reading this will understand that someone does care and that they are not alone.

Well I don't have a really big family, or a close family like some of you out there. Yeah I have a father and a mother. I have a sister and an older brother. Thanks to my dad being this big time player I have like 15 or 16 half brothers and sisters out there somewhere.

My father....I have a lot to say about that man. As a child me and him were close. I honestly don't remember though. In my photo album that I have, there are pics of me and him and of happier days, of days I wish I could have again. As I got older me and my dad started drifting apart, mostly cause of his drinking and constant fighting with my mother. He would always end up beating her. There were times I wished I could have kept my dad from hurting my mom, but being a lil kid, I could not do much. As I got older more and more me and my dad drifted apart. His drinking got worse and my mom suffered cause of it. Once I decided enough was enough and I tried to stop my dad from hurting my mom, I'm sure he didn't mean it cause I could see the regret and the pain in his eyes after he did it but as I tried to stop him from hitting my mom, he hit me instead. The damage was done. From that day I hated my dad. As I got older more and more me and my dad fought.

When I hit my teens, I started running away. Staying away for days. One day I came home thinking everything was cool and me and my dad ended up fighting and he threw me out of the house at the age of 13. On and off I lived on the streets or staying at my friends house. Living on the streets also got me involved with the Surenos in my city. I became one of them. Then one day I came home on mother’s day to see my mom and he was beating her again. I was older, I was stronger. I said to myself he would never touch my mom again. Me and him went heads up and he beat my ass but I made sure I got my hits in too. Bleeding and hurt I convinced my mom to get her things and leave with me. That was the last day my so called father hurt my mom. As I got older me and my dad had more encounters and more fights and to this day me and him no longer speak to each other. We just don't care about each other anymore. What we once had in those pictures seems like it happened a lifetime ago. I am no longer that lil boy anymore, and he is not the dad I used to love and look up to anymore....

Me and my mother always had happy times together. Whatever I wanted she would get me. She spoiled me, buying whatever I wanted, taking me wherever I wanted to go. She even played with me and my toys. I love my mother very much. She was a sweet woman, loving and caring, maybe that’s why she had a lot of friends. She always got invited to these parties where a girl turns 15 her family has like this party and dance. She always got invited and I don't know bout now but back then they used to play this song called ‘Sabor a Mi’ for the girl to dance. I would be like sitting at table all by myself while my mom was talking with her friends, and I would be playing with my lil toy cars and today I still don't know why but the girl who was having that party would come up and ask me to dance with her. I was like about 7 or 8 but I guess I looked older or something cause it always happened...wonder if my mom had anything to do with that? I have lots of pictures of me dancing and it seems like in every picture me and my mom took with the girl’s family I looked older and older and I got taller and taller.

Once in a while I play this cd that has that song called ‘Sabor a Mi’ and it reminds me of my mother and those days. I honestly can say it makes me cry cause I miss my mom, I miss my mom taking me to those dances, I miss sitting on her lap, I miss her singing to me when I was scared of the monster under the bed and I would not go to sleep. I would like very much to see my mother again and tell her I love her and how much I miss her. When she got sick I was locked up in county but they let me go see her in the hospital. I remember crying and crying cause they told me she had cancer and there was nothing they could do. Even though I made my peace with her. I wish I could have been there by her side, to tell her I love her when she died. Instead of being locked up...

Well about my brother, now your wondering why I would name this part about my brother and my cousin. Well the reason I named it this is cause they both belong to the same gang. Anyways. Me and my brother, like most brothers had a close relationship. As kids we always did what brothers do. We watched out for each other. Lied for each other when we got in trouble. Jumped in for each other if we were in a fight. You know things brothers do. But as we got older we started drifting. He started going out more with his friends and always leaving me behind. More and more it became about his friends than his lil brother. When I got thrown out of the house my brother had got involved with a gang called the Latin Kings. He was just a member just like everyone else was. What I didn't know was one of my primos was also a King and got him involved. As time went on, we drifted more and more. We didn't drift cause of personal problems with each other like me and my dad and my sister but we drifted cause of who we chose to run the streets with, he ran with Kings, I ran with Surenos. Any true Sureno and King knows the relationship between the two. I don't have to explain it.
Anyways. Me and my primo however were close, in fact all my cousins on my mothers side are close with me. They understand how my dad and my sister and his side of the family treats me, they don't like him ether. They the only family I have. I just wish I could see more of them.... Well back to what I was saying and my cousin were close. As kids me and my brother and him always played together. We even did a *blood brother* thing with each other, thats how close we all were as kids. I could go on and on about all the things we did as kids, about how much I miss those days, how much it hurts to know I can't go back or change the past.....or how much I wish my primo was alive still. It was a year on June 13th that my primo died. He was shot a few days before but a few days later, he just gave up and let himself die. That’s what I think. Even though we are from different gangs. We both went thru the same street drama. I'm sure like me, he just didn't want to fight no more, he just let himself go....so he could find his peace....Maybe someday I will find mine. As for my older brother. After my primo died, my brother took over his position in the Kings. He now runs the chapter in my city. From time to time we do talk to each other, but it's been so long since we talked that you can feel the distance between us. We just don't know each other anymore.

Well about my sister. My sister, like with all my siblings, we were close, but like everyone else, we drifted as I got older. My sister has 4 kids, each one of them I call *my babies* cause I raised them on my own. While she was hoeing around I was home taking care of them, changing their diapers, feeding them. I did all that and I still was living on the streets and dealing with street drama. I don't know how I did it but I did. They good kids now, a's and b's in school. Not bad for being a gangster and being a parent at the same time. Now my sister trips saying people like them should not be around me cause I'm this or I do that. They know though, they know how their mom use to be.

This is the final piece of my story. I know I wrote a lot about myself and those around me. This last piece is about two people who I love very much. One who was my lady, and the other my best friend. Cynthia was a girl who always stood by my side. Was always there for me. There were times I admit where I put my friends and my drama first before her. Time when I was not there for her when she needed me. Times I made her cry. Thru it all she still stood by my side, any vato out there who has had a lady like that in his life knows what I am talking bout when I say you don't find many ruca's out there who will put up with people like that.
I met her and Robert when I was 14, like me their life at home was not a happy one. It was a year later when I fell in love for the first time in my life. I fell in love with Cynthia. She was my first love, she was my first lover. To this day she was my first, and my last. In life there are prices to pay for everything you do. I mean that’s how life is. My price for the life I lived was losing her and later my best friend. One day we were at the park on the other side of town. We were just kicking it. When out of nowhere drama happened. They blasted, we blasted back. It all happend so quickly. After it was all over I saw something that forever to this day haunts my days and my nights.

My lady had been shot. I remember how my legs didn't want to move. Somehow I crawled over to her and I kept telling myself this aint happening. Having her blood on my hands and shirt changed all that. It was real, it did happen. I don't know why I did it......but at that time I felt if I held on to her tight enough I could keep her from leaving me. I kept telling her *please, please, please don't leave me don't die!* ........then I felt her leave. A year later Robert overdosed on heroin, a year after that my mother died.

Cynthia was three months pregnant. I had lost everything I loved cause of the road I walked.

Today as I sit here I can't help but think about everything I been thru. My life has been full of regrets, heartache and sorrow. I have been shot, I have been stabbed but thru it all I STILL stand tall, even though at times this world had me on my knees but I have never given up on making my life better for me and those around me. I am a Veterano now, somehow I survived all this stuff. I also recently found steady work. Although I have lots of problems I still managed to get my life straight and find work, even though it's not ideal. It's better than dealing with drama and constantly be in fear of my life. I hope things will be better now that I stopped banging. I also hope some day I can find someone to share my life with, someone who can give me consolation for the past, someone to share my dreams of the presents and give me hope for the future.


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