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A Grandmother’s Words
Jeremy Stewart was your average African American kid. He had average grades, never got in trouble, loved his grandmother and his little sister, but had few friends. He always wished he had more, whether it was money, fun, or friends.
At school he was considered a nerd and was always turned down by girls. The popular kids at the school always got involved in trouble and developed bad habits. One kid, David Henderson, was one of the worst. Everyone knew his name and everyone stayed away from him. He had always bragged about his cool life and his cool ways.
One day after school Jeremy was walking home from school when he heard David’s voice come from a long, narrow alleyway.
“Hey Jeremy! Come here!” As Jeremy walked toward him he started to dig in his pockets.
“Want a cigarette?”
“No, I’d rather not. It’s not good for you.”
“Who cares? I don’t plan to live longer than 21 anyway. Join us, it will make you cool.”
“I guess I can.” Jeremy hung with David and his friends for a while and then headed home. The next day after school he met up with his new friends and went on a new adventure.
“All you have to do is distract the owner, and we can grab the candy.” said David. Jeremy went into the store and started asking the counter clerk plenty of questions. The rest of the boys including David went and walked around the store for a while and then grabbed Jeremy and walked out the door. The boys scurried to the side of the building and shared their goodies.
“You stole this!” exclaimed Jeremy.
“Yea, why not? It’s survival on the street, and we need a break like everyone else. Look Jeremy, you’re a cool kid, but you need to chill out sometimes. The guys and I decided that we wanted you to be in our gang.”
“Wow, me this is so cool. I’m in for it.”
This was the break the Jeremy needed to become cool. People at school started to notice him, and he was no longer bullied by bigger kids. Everyday after school the boys caused trouble and destruction around the neighborhood. They wanted to make their name known. They quickly developed enemies around the neighborhood. Fights started to break out, and Jeremy got into a really bad ordeal one time and ended out getting serious hurt.
“Oh my god, Jeremy, what happened?” exclaimed Jeremy’s grandmother.
“Don’t worry about it grandma. I’m fine. I just got into a fight after school, but the kid had it coming to him.”
“No, it’s not fine. Ever since you’ve been hanging around with this David kid, you have been changing. You’re not the same little boy I used to know and love.” Jeremy’s grandmother left his room in tears, but he didn’t care at all.
The next day at school Jeremy got a note from David in his 3rd period class. It read, “Big gang war after school. It will be us against the Uptown All-Stars. We need you. Meet at the abandoned lot after school around 4.”
Jeremy felt a cold chill run up his spine. The words of his grandmother ran through his head repeatedly, and he got a little scared. He wanted to go home, but at the same time he wanted to be considered cool and wanted the excitement.
After his last period class, he made his way to the lot and waited a short while. Suddenly, some of the boys in his gang ran up yelling and screaming in panic. He noticed that David wasn’t with them.
“They killed him!”
“What!” replied Jeremy in shock.
“On the way here…they shot David!”
Jeremy paused, took a deep breathe, and took time to get his thoughts together. Once again his grandmother’s thoughts raced through his head. Once his head was clear, he started to get angry. He was so angry that tears started to seep out of his eyes. He got angry and was ready for anything. The other gang pulled up to the lot and got out of their car. Everyone ran except Jeremy. He stood there with courage and honor. It was stupid courage, and it had blinded him from the dangers coming.
Suddenly one of the other boys reached into his pants and started to pull something out. Jeremy ran because he knew what was going to happen. Before he had enough distance for safety, they started shooting at him.
Jeremy fell to the ground. Instantly he felt an intense, burning pain inside of him. He fell to the ground gasping for air. The other boys were gone and so were his so called companions. He remembered his grandmother’s words and finally realized that it wasn’t worth it. The respect and reputation he gained was not worth losing his life. With one last, long breath of air, Jeremy felt everything go numb and he laid there alone.