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Jimmy N. Sanchez per. 2 5/23/2012 The Things he Carries He carries a cell phone, just empty weight in his pocket.

Taking up space in his khaki cargo shorts. It takes up space because he finds no use in it. He had someone which he messaged every day, countless times a day, they even talked on the phone from time to time. But all of that has change. That is long gone and it won't come back. Now the phone serves one small purpose. To call and ask for a ride home everyday after the school day is over, and occasionally in the morning to find a ride to school. Other than that the phone is just weight in his pocket. He carries the memory of her. How much fun they had, all of that things to good to mention on the bus, the plane, the hotel hallways, shit, and even at school. How much she made him smile. She knew how to make him smile, how to make him laugh, and even how to piss him off. She was good at that. She knew exactly what his buttons were, and knew how to push em well. The Good morning :) text when he woke and the Goodnight babe<3 text when he went to sleep. The card and shirt he got for Christmas, the card he still has and refers to every once in a while, the shirt he never wore, just sitting in the back of his closet, taking up space. All of that is gone now, it's probable gone for good this time. He ponders the though that maybe there is still hope, but for now he only carries the memory. An Ipod touch in his left pocket, accompanied by some Beats Tours by Dr. Dre. Always there to help him escape from the cruel world he was born into. The key to his sanity right there in his left pocket. Nothing more than $350 dollars worth of metal and glass, metal and glass that keep his mind sane. Stop him from putting an

end to it all. Many times the thoughts have run through his mind, This shit isn't worth it, and What is the point? Why does this shit matter? The Ipod always there e ready to bring his mind back from the deepest pits of hell, ready to loosen the slipknot around his neck and start playing some Slipknot. Kendrick Lamar's Rigamortus, ready to give him a dose of the truth. Some Rage Against the Machine ready to tell him everything that is wrong with the beautiful country he lives in. Metallica, Megadeth, and Five Finger Death Punch, there to bring out the inner killer. He keeps the killer trapped inside, deep inside of him, so deep that sometimes he forgets that he lies in their. Trapped by everything that he doesn't say, everything that he doesn't show and doesn't tell the people he cares for. The sense of failure weighing him down. He asks himself why he feels like a failure. Why? He is the only one who won't follow the path set by his cousins and friends before him. The path that too many attempt and too few survive. A threshold that many fools think they can cross but fail miserably. All of his cousins E4's and E5' in the Corp. The United States Marine Corps. Just hearing the name gives him the chills. He thinks about it everyday. All of his cousins are doing something wonderful, they are risking their lives for the country that they live in. They get to wake up every morning and call themselves Marines. The thought never seems to leave his head, just sitting there, poking at him almost everyday. He can't drop it it, it is unnecessary weight but it is necessary weight. Both nothing and something at the same time. He carries a wallet, has it stuffed with a lot of useless shit. Receipts for things he's bought in the past, his drivers permit, some money, some discount cards. A picture of the Virgin Mary that he can't remember where he got it from. He doesn't

know why he has that picture in his wallet, but he also doesn't know why he hasn't thrown it away. He tries to throw the picture away but something inside of him tells him not. He knows his position on religion. Faith is necessary, to a certain extent, but he knows that what he wants is cold hard facts. He cannot believe assumptions and stories in a book written hundreds of years ago, about a person who lived 75 years before any of the accounts of him came into existence. Facts give him that sense of security because facts are backed up by evidence, and to him evidence counts for a lot. What do assumptions bring him? Assumptions and miracles are not backed up by evidence. Without evidence he doesn't feel a sense of security. He asks himself why religion matters? What does it matter? They live in hell anyway. All of things he's seen, and all of the things he's done tell him that hell is on Earth. He knows that when he dies he will go into the ground and he will rot and become one with the Earth, become food for the maggots and the bugs. But other than that he has no clue what will happen to his soul. How can anyone know? There are no hard facts to prove anything about where we go when we die. He carries that weight in his mind in addition to the weight of the wallet. A postcard from Davidson College, folded and almost ruined because of wear and tear. Folded and stuffed in one of the slots of his wallet. To others it's just a postcard with scribbled words on the back. To him it is much much more than that. It is reality hitting him in the face, reality saying You can make it, and you have done something great. Davidson College, a fine institution for secondary education, showing interest in some Mexican from Waukegan? Is it real? Yes, it is real, he's been busting his ass in high school for three years. All of the late nights and all of the Saturdays spent at home doing homework, and typing essays seem to

be paying off. It serves as a reminder that when shit gets tough, life will be tougher in the future if he doesn't go to college. It works too. When he feels knee deep in stress he pulls out the postcard and reads whatever is legible and it drives him to go the extra mile. He carries the weight put on him as a big brother. He serves as the primary example to his little sister. He has to be the quintessential student, teacher, person, and example. He has to set the bar high so that his sister can take that example and set the bar even higher. Every night he thinks about what his sister will think of his actions. He is caught between a wall and a blade. He has no wiggle room, room to slack off, even the slightest. Every action that he takes right now will have a greater reaction good or bad in the future. If he fails then he not only fails himself but he also fails his sister as well. If she doesn't have a good example then she will take after whatever scumbag outs himself in her path. He cannot let that happen, he will not let that happen. He thinks to himself Junior year is almost over, one more year to go and I will hopefully be in college. He also thinks, one more year. That's 365 days in which something can go wrong and fuck everything up. There is relief in having one year to go, there is also panic and it chokes out the relief. To the point where the panic becomes greater than the relief. With more panic comes more stress and with more stress comes more anger. With anger comes irrational thinking and with that come stupid decisions. It seems to him that everything he does brings him closer to insanity and closer to happiness at the same time. Insanity and happiness both in a race, at times it seems as though insanity has a great head start, it's sneaky and it's cheating. He tries to keep this inside, trying to hide it from the world, secretly hoping that his happiness wins the race but he knows that the

race is far from over. The biggest weight of all, the weight that almost drops him, makes him stumble. It's a pain and a hassle to carry, it's down right painful, but it's the most important weight of all. Being successful in the eyes of his father is the biggest weight of all. It gets bigger with every obstacle that is thrown at him, every twist and turn that presents itself. His father has been through so much and to fail him might as well be death by decapitation to him. Because failing his father is not an option. If it was an option then there would be no point to his minute life. If his purpose in life is not to have a life with a purpose, then life to him means nothing. He might as well pull the trigger then, or tighten the slipknot and say fuck it. But it's not an option. His father left his family at 17, barely a boy, but already a man. Searching for a better life for the family he planned to start. Crossing that evil border, that border that forgives no one, kills with out mercy, takes lives away because to it lives are meaningless. His father encountered death many times during the two weeks it took him to cross the watershed that is the U.S Mexican border. Had a gun pointed at his head, his short life flashing right before his childlike eyes, saw the rotting corpse of a mother holder her child, trying to keep her baby warm for the last few moments of its life. When his father made it to the U.S things weren't much easier. His father was in a foreign land, where he was an outcast and an outsider, ridiculed by others, and shamed because of the color of his skin. His father missed his homeland, but was faced with the reality that from now on this would be his homeland, because even though this wasn't the land where he was born, it will be the land where his children will be born. After so much that his father has gone

through it would seem down right greedy for the thought of him failing to even cross his mind. But it does. A lot. It does because he is human, and humans can't think about success without thinking about the failure that can come with trying. He pushes all of those thoughts to the back of his mind, tries to cover them up, tries to keep himself busy. Busy with schoolwork, and work. The things that will make him successful in the future. Schoolwork, because school is the most important thing in his life at this moment. He has to do good in school so that he can get good grades. Good grades will get him into a good college like Davidson or Amherst. A good undergraduate education will be followed by a graduate education. All of that education will give him the privilege of giving his father a wonder, peaceful, and tranquil life in his last days. All of that will make his father proud of him. Making his father proud is by far the most important thing to him. It gives his life meaning, gives him hope in a better tomorrow. Gives him the strength too stay up late every night trying to do homework and projects so that he receives good grades in return. Gives him the strength to carry everything, even this; the heaviest thing he carries. Especially this.

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