I remember that cruel, erratic day, clear as crystalline water. Walking home, just like any other ordinary day, I felt before the event as if the day was peaceful and that it was going to be a satisfying day. I’m different now, but I would never go back in time to change things. I’m happy with who I turned out to be. Before you read about my life-changing catastrophe, be happy your heart is beating, making you full of life. Appreciate that little fact.

The evening was warm and pleasuring to my skin as I walked home to my aunt’s house. Heading toward a park I always pass by, the little kids playing made me smile and at ease. I was so involved in the beautiful surroundings that I wasn’t paying much attention to the pedestrians around me, except to one group of older girls who looked a little crazy, and I don’t mean scary, I mean loopy! They were distant, but we were going to have to pass each other at some point. There were four of them, glary-eyed, hanging close as if they were a pack of nasty rats. Eventually we were 10 feet away from passing. I scanned their eyes just as everyone else does, but I didn’t smile. I thought they looked low. All their eyes pierced me. They stopped and asked me some gang-related questions and why I was mad-dogging them. I said I wasn’t, I’m just trying to do what I got to do and get home. The main girl said okay, and I dismissed myself from their little huddled group.

I took five steps. Bammm! I got clocked from behind on my skull, apparently hard enough to make me fall forward on my stomach, then I blacked out. After a few seconds I was dazed and confused, but I came to my senses. The main girl was standing over me; she dropped her knees on my upper back, socked my head several times, grabbed my hair from the back of my head and forcefully banged my face into the dirt. I laid there pretending to not be conscious, but really I was a ticking bomb ready to explode on her with all my force I had inside me. She got up and tried to walk away. The second she took a step away I got up and tackled her to the ground, and she fell hard. I mounted her and started socking her everywhere, mostly her face. She was in panic because she couldn’t squirm away from under me; I pounded her face making the flesh from my knuckles rip open. Her face was bloody, and I broke her nose. I was almost done because she was weakening and starting to give up. One of the girls grabbed the top of my hair and tugged me off of the one I sparred with; another girl kicked me. I was on the ground again, getting my hair ripped out, socked, kneed, and, most painful, stomped on by all four of them. A witness called the cops I guess because some started to leave fast, but I got back up and continued to fight the others. The main girl pulled out a knife and tried to stab me. I still have that black sweater with the slice in it. Luckily she barely scratched the top layer of my stomach.

That’s when the cops came. The girls tried to run but the cops had so much backup that there was nowhere to run. I felt fine, but I guess that was my adrenaline getting the best of me. The cops looked worried. They were furiously lining the girls up, including me. I didn’t have to say much. The cops had problems with these girls already, especially the main one. I found out they were drunk and streaming high on methamphetamine. I got photographed and rushed to the hospital in the ambulance. Blood was everywhere, and I couldn’t breathe out of my nose. I felt confused. It turns out I had a fractured nose, facial contusion, ruptured vessels, three severe concussions, and the doc said I’ll have back problems my whole life—it will never be the same.

Since that day I have learned to appreciate life in general. Be happy you can walk or if you have a good back. The doctor said I had injuries that can never heal correctly, which tore me up inside, but I moved on and love my life today. That event will stay embedded in my soul forever. Nothing liked that ever happened before. But I’m stronger now, and I guess a little more aggressive. If you ever think about making a move like that on someone, think again because the consequences are severe.

Santa Barbara is a beautiful place, but we can make it ugly with our actions. Reconsider the right thing if you’re tempted to do something bad!


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