22 Jan CHAPTER 7: The Day I Lost My Brother
How are you guys doing? I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since your comments have been pouring in, asking me where is the blog. Well I’m back! Since I was last here, I went to Mexico to visit my family and friends, actually living the life story that I am telling you about.
If you pick up after the last chapter (The American Dream), you would think that my family life as a kid would have had a perfect happy ending, having moved to a new place, with a new future ahead of us. Well, unfortunately as much I wanted it to go that way, it didn’t.
When we first moved in with my nana, life was good for a while. A fresh start, new friends, a new family with so many cousins to have fun with. But it was just like everything new in life, at first you’re excited about the discovery and it looks perfect, but when you get familiar with it you notice the small cracks.
One of those relatives that I got to know more was my brother JIP. If you remember, he had left us to live with my nana when my mom took us to live with AR (New Beggining) Seeing as AR treated him like a personal punching bag, my brother who considered himself the man of the house just left. At that time I was very young, so I grew up without a brother and I had almost no memory of him till that point in my life.
But there he was, I had an older brother again. I have to admit it was quite cool to have JIP around. I mean, aren’t old brothers supposed to be the ones who look after you? Well now I had a protector since AR left. At least, this is what I thought.
But what I didn’t know is that when he left our house he went to a place where he grew up on the mean streets, living a mean life, and by the time we came back into his life it was a little bit too late.
Every morning, I’d step out the door and see my sister on the street corner, a striking beauty but always with the wrong crowd. Now making my way to school I’d pass by a gang of shady looking guys, with fresh wounds on their bodies and faces, standing around a tall and handsome man who is their leader. He would keep looking at me while I walked away, staring me down as if we were strangers, as if he didn’t recognize his own brother.
With every day that passed, I recognized him less and less. His face was changing because of all the fights he got in. He would get beat up and his broken bones would heal time after time, changing the way he looked and the way we looked at him.
My brother was gone, and all we had left was “the hulk”. That’s how I used to call him in secret.
To picture the situation a bit more, let me explain to you the story of every single weekend at my grandma’s. As a known vandal in the neighborhood, JIP used to spend his time fighting other vandals, drinking in the streets and creating chaos every single weekend. So for our family in the house it was quite normal to wait every Friday or Saturday around 3-4am when people came trying to break-into the house looking for him.
“Hurry! JIP is in a fight!”
Those words would haunt my nightmares mostly every weekend.
My sister would come home screaming and everyone in the tiny house would rush in a panic and the house became a battlefield. And when the troubles came, let me tell you his combat team weren’t the other guys he used to hang with on the street. It was my mom with a baseball bat, my nana with a broom, my aunts with wooden sticks, my uncle with a knife, and the rest with any self-defense artifact they could find in the house.
We armed ourselves with whatever was lying around the house, just grabbing whatever we could find to defend our family. Because try as they might, our family defended him every single occasion but they were never able to stop him from doing this every single weekend. Every weekend that passed became worse and worse.
He had so much anger in his body and soul until he couldn’t control it anymore, and the battles in the street didn’t satisfy him enough, so he brought the battles home: fighting the members of the family, breaking what little possessions we had, till the point of hurting his own self. All this mixed with alcohol until he didn’t recognize anyone anymore. It was total self-destruction.
Looking back I don’t blame him, we have all suffered in certain ways, and every person canalized their anger differently. There was too much pain around all my family, and each of us reacted differently to it, my sister, my mom and even myself.
There is no bigger pain than a broken heart and a dead soul inside you.
Living miserable, feeling miserable. I guess that’s what my brother felt and that’s why he used to blow up. I also think it’s because he felt he was alone.
Because even though family were always there to defend him, no one knew better to help him, to stop his bad ways, to show him that this would end up hurting him. They just went along with it, driving him even further from healing. For them the situation with the gangs was just another day. For me it was too much to handle, especially one night that I will never forget.
On a hot summer night when the moon was full, my whole neighborhood was invited to a Quinceañera.
For the girl who was turning fifteen on that day, the quinceañera was the biggest celebration, a rite of passage into womanhood, a traditional party to show everyone how pretty and special she was as she said goodbye to the age of innocence. There would be music, dancing, food and drinks to all the people who came to wish her well.
She wore a pink tulle ball gown that was so poufy it made her look like a cake. But after she cut her three tiered vanilla cake, I felt I had nothing else to do there and I went back home to sleep.
Suddenly, the band music stopped and another music started.
“Hurry they are fighting….”
Screams shook our house while I tried to wake from my slumber. I got up and saw my family picking up their weapons. Was it the Hulk?
The screams out in the street weren’t just my family as usual.
“¡You are gonna kill him!”
“!Call the police!”
I could hear every single noise rising to our door.
It turns out that a stampede of angry men crashed when the party was almost done. So all the gang in the street and other people started running for their lives, trying to escape the knives and machetes that were swinging at them left and right.
I could hear the unnatural screams of pain, and what sounded like flesh being torn and slashed, so I didn’t move. I waited with my eyes closed, and I prayed. I prayed until I heard the police officers arrive.
At that moment I got down to the street to see if JIP was out there, but what I saw I will never forget.
Dismembered bodies, my feet touching blood, discarded weapons and severed heads lining the dirty street.
“Go back inside” I said to myself but my feet kept moving forward.
“My brother, where is my brother?” That was the only thought going over my head.
While walking I found some of his friends bloody and with their faces totally destroyed. One of them even had his skull cracked open after he got cut with a machete in the head. For a moment everything became in slow motion and I couldn’t hear the noise anymore. I couldn’t turn away from the corpses because I was looking for my brother… my brother who probably was the reason for tonight’s surprise attack.
In my mind I could just picture all the weekends previous to this one, and how every single one of them were hell. I still feel goosebumps just thinking about that night, and how the screams and shouts made everything so much worse.
“Wake up! Wake up!“
“Please don’t die!”
“Call an ambulanceeee!!!!! Call an ambulanceeee!!!”
“Where is he? Is he dead? He is dead. They killed him” I said in my mind but no one replied.
I was out for almost thirty minutes that felt like years, and I couldn’t find JIP, Hulk wasn’t anywhere. So I went back home, and there he was.
A rival gang had planned to find him and his gang unarmed at the quinceañera, but he had been asleep at home when they attacked.
He fell into his knees with anger, banging his chest while my family tried to calm him. His face looked like it could explode.
“Let me go out! I’m gonna kill them all. FUCK THEM! FUCK THEM!!! They will pay for this” He shouted pushing everyone who tried to calm him down, breaking stuff in the house…
And that’s when it happened.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, I felt anger as I never felt before. My body was melting inside me and I wanted to scream at him:
“SHUUUUT THE FUCK UPPPP. LOOK AROUND YOU. DON’T YOU SEEE ALL THAT YOU’VE CAUSED? DON’T YOU SEE ALL THE PAIN OF THE PEOPLE OUTSIDE? DON’T YOU REALIZEEEE? You brought this on us? That dead people outside are on you and you still want revenge?”
But as always, instead of trying to voice my feelings, I decided to quiet myself and I just walked away holding back my tears.
Since that day, I lost my brother. I never talked to him anymore, I avoided him. I was sick of that life, of everything and everyone who surrounded me.
We all handle pain different ways. I hate to say it, but for me, at that age I killed my brother. For me it was much easier to move forward with him gone, than to live with the pain of having him alive. I was tired of violence, I felt sick of it.
“He is dead. They killed him” I said again.
“He is dead. They killed him”
I repeated a million times in my head until I was able to fall asleep.
And that’s how I remember that night, just like it was yesterday.
No fear, no love, no pity.
Rest in peace.
Ruen on the Road.