‘My Uncle was Shot’

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Author's name withheld
Washington Prep High School

“I’ll make five grand a night! You don’t even make that in a month!”

These were my uncle’s words to my mom. I saw my mom laugh with disgust and disappointment in her face.

“I know … but can you go to bed at night with the peace that I have? Knowing that people are after you, and they want you dead!” I noticed tears were flowing down her cheek. She finally realized her baby brother was selling drugs on the streets of Los Angeles. She knew her brother was no longer safe. There are only two ways out of that job – in a coffin or in handcuffs.

Seven years passed and we never heard anything from my uncle. Then, at 1 a.m. one morning, the phone rang. My mom chose not to pick it up because she knew whoever was calling was gonna tell her bad news.

Ringgg … Ringgg …

She finally picked up the phone. It was the hospital informing us that my uncle had been stabbed and shot multiple times. They said he was in critical condition and they didn’t know if he was gonna make it.

As we were driving to the hospital, I looked at my mother and noticed that her tears were coming down again. I asked her, “Mom, are you OK?” She looked at me and responded, “No! I am not OK!” I felt bad because of how she yelled at me, but I understood, because her little brother was dying.

We pulled up to the hospital and parked the car. We ran inside with such desperation. We waited until he got out of surgery. The doctor came out and told us, “We’re lucky he’s alive, but there is some damage.” I remember my mom saying, “Thank you, God.” She said it with such relief.

My uncle was lucky. He lived to see another day. It’s been almost five years. We haven’t heard anything from him or seen him. Because he still lives a violent life, who knows if he’ll be alive tomorrow?

© 2008 L.A. Youth, the newspaper by and for Los Angeles Teens, http://www.layouth.com.