WHEN I WAS a kid things where never easy. I grew up on the rough side of town you could say. Little money, big problems, and rough environment can turn anyone into a product of their surroundings. I was always different, I have considered myself different and others have seen me as such. Where I live being different does not always work well, since people don’t always like what they don’t understand. Even though I did seem different to others at times, I have done my share of bad things to good people. My parents were around as much as they could be, with three jobs between them and four kids to raise. So I guess you could say I was raised by my friends and surroundings somewhat. I always had a little bit of a temper problem and problem doing what I was told. So the environment of school never was really easy for me, which is how I met my oldest friend Tyson.
It was back in fifth grade and I was getting chewed out by a teacher for not wanting to participate in a class activity so I had to be put on time out and all that bullshit. Tyson was already there for picking on a girl he somewhat liked, but that was always his MO. So he starts making fun of me for getting put in time out since I am considered to be the good kid of the class and after the seventh joke made at my expense I punched him in his mouth as hard as I could. This busted his lip and sent him tumbling back into a desk or two. After that well having never been in a fight before this may speak for itself cause after Ty got up and tackled me things were somewhat one sided. I never really cried or anything afterward, I have never really been a crier or that emotional. A few days later Ty came up to me and said, “We were similar and could be friends if I learned to take a joke or two”. After that we became close friends. Ty lived a little farther then I did but relatively in the same shitty neighborhood. He was just deeper in the shit sometimes then I was, we often made that joke about Ty – those of use who knew him well enough any way.
Thought the years till high school I got into trouble with Ty here and there, nothing really serious just like taking from candy stores, graffiti sometimes just things like that. Things tended to change when I got to high school though. After sometime we got a little crew going and we all hung out in good fun skateboarding where we weren’t supposed to graffiti still. That wasn’t the thing that bothered me though- it was the fighting. Ty was always something of a fighter when people pushed him or try and mess with me or any of the guys in our crew he could be there to defend us whenever. In our neighborhood this was sometimes a dangerous quality in a friend. I was all for a good melee from time to time, just things usually got out of control during and afterward. There were a few times where I had to explain bruises and cuts to my parents, then the arguments would start and same old same old. There was a time in particular that I remember when me, Ty, and the guys where out at our local hang out spot after school. There was always tension between us and so called school gangs, even though they were more like exaggerated bullies with a little street cred. On that particular day though, tensions where high because I saw their so called leader Jason Masters assaulting a girl and dealing in our school. I was the one who caught him in the middle of his assault and then continue to beat the living hell out of him, which later resulted in his expulsion and future arrest. So I figured he was looking for trouble when he came into the diner. It started out with just staring and comments toward me and what he was planning to do to me. This is when Ty fired back with a comment ill never forget. “Well if it isn’t the women assaulter, I guess its like father like son”. That comment sent Jason off he went after Ty, but the diner’s owner kicked him out before any fists went flying. I just thought to myself that it wouldn’t be the first time. Little did I know though that Jason and his so called gang were waiting for us, and that’s when we decided to have it out things as usually went out of control. Something was different about this time. Jason went a bit crazier then usual, while I was fighting him he pulled out a knife on me. This being the first time anyone has ever pulled out a weapon on me I was just frozen in fear. Jason started to move at me and I was able to get out of the way of the initial stab, but my chest got cut pretty bad. As I lay on the floor thinking about weather I was going to die at 16. Ty out of nowhere tackled Jason to the ground and after they wrestled on the ground for a bit we could hear sirens in the distance. Those of us who could run got the hell out of there. It was just me and Ty left. I crawled as fast as I could but I could see the blood all over his shirt. Jason stabbed him in the stomach and Ty was not moving.
I was never more scared in my life as I began to pass out from my own wound. A month later at Ty’s funeral and being surrounded by the few people who actually loved him and knew him. I remembered something he told me once he said “ I never liked fighting very much but the reason I do fight was for my friends and the ones who mean something”. That’s what Ty left me with: the knowledge of a true friend.