Ralphy, Rafael, Raf: I’m Almost Thirty and This Is The Intro To My Book.


There’s this guy in my head. He is brilliant and capable. He can write, he is witty, and he’s handsome. He’s me, but only so much better…

I am twenty-nine and I’ve just realized that it is the last year of my twenties, and I have yet to do anything. Hence the dramatic picture of myself crying.

It is my fifth month of living in New York after coming fresh off of eight years in Los Angeles. I’m an asshole and also very big boned. I say big boned because no one wants to admit that they’re fat. This is the beginning. The beginning to my crisis, the beginning of me realizing what have I done? Why have I moved to such a pipe dream?

Oh yeah…I want to be a writer, a playwright to be exact.

For most people who approach their thirties they have experienced already a piece of life. They have either gotten married, maybe have a kid or two. They have reached their goal of achieving their dream job or even traveled. Me? I haven’t done any of those things because well the truth is I’m kind of lazy when it comes to adulting.

As much as I want to be an adult, I still want to be a kid.

And before you know it…I’m on the bathroom floor taking selfies of myself crying. So far holding onto my twenties isn’t working so well for me. It was this particular night that I decided that it was time for a change. So to whoever is reading this right now, if you’re in your twenties or forties or whatever…whatever the crisis is, I can promise you that it won’t get better until later. It does get better, but in do time.

Consider this my Eat, Pray, Love moment.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I was crying. And if you guessed that I was a little drunk…you guessed correct. I was exactly three bottles of pinot noir drunk. Did I also mention that I’m going to AA at this point? Yeah, really great start to the introductory of myself. Anyway I was drunk and thinking about things that I shouldn’t have been thinking, but lets be honest. When you’re three bottles in its really hard to think about anything positive.

Unless if I started thinking about Ben & Jerry’s Half baked. That always gets me in a good mood.

I could sit here and write that nothing was bothering me. That I was completely fine and that I was living a perfect life in New York so far. That I wasn’t sleeping on a couch with five other roommates, that I wasn’t working at a coffee shop job that was only paying me three hundred dollars a week. And that every time I tried to adjust to my new life, I’d think about the life that I left behind in Los Angeles.

Good writing is being truthful, and I’d like to think of myself as an honest person. And I’m done lying that nothing is bothering me, when a lot is. Hence why this was the night that I decided to write a book.

A simple book about my twenties and what I’ve learned. So if you’re still reading this reader you’re about to get to know me better. And if you’re not reading, no judgment at all…I’ll just think that you hate me and don’t want to be supportive of my writing. It’s okay, I’ll be peachy keen and move on to the chapter one.

To understand who I was, the type of person I was before. The person that you see in the picture above, we have to go back to the beginning. I know, so dramatic, but its the tone for the book if you haven’t guessed it. I promise to have humor and enlightenment, so you just have to bear with me.

The year was 2009. It was my twentieth birthday and I was moving to los Angeles. Talk about happy birthday to me…


The Call

choices, Christ, Christian, freeform, freewriting, Grace, lifetrack, relationships, storytelling, Uncategorized, understanding


I’ve always had a problem of self-doubt. I think a lot of people have this problem, but for me its a huge factor that stops me from stepping out in faith with God. Yes, I said it. The “G” word, the God thing…the Christian thing is a huge thing in my life. People wouldn’t have guessed it because of the way I write and talk, but the man upstairs is a big part of my life.

I think the way you talk or look or dress shouldn’t be a factor on if you have a relationship with Jesus because at the end of the day he doesn’t care about your past or what you’ve done. He just cares about you and his love is unconditional. A lot of Christians can’t grasp this, myself especially. It’s a process to be able to walk in freedom everyday, but it all starts with a choice. When I wake up in the morning the first thing that I say to myself is that God loves me. I have to because if not, the Devil will tells me that he doesn’t.

My Devil is depression and immense amount of it. The Devil comes in many shapes and forms. He is the Prince of the Air after all. I don’t wear it on my sleeve but it is a huge factor in the negativity that is always consistently running through my head. I get stressed out and anxious about the dumbest things. It’s exhausting, but I always come back to, “ God loves me”. He does, I know he does, but I still struggle with him wanting to bless me when I’m always thinking that I’m a crap person.

So imagine my disbelief when on a cool crisp LA morning on the bus to work where I heard the voice of God tell me to move to Brooklyn, New York. This is where the doubt part steps in. This is where my depression, The Devil tells me that there is no way you’re going to move to New York. There’s no way you can survive New York. You can barely survive LA, how are you going to be able to handle the beast that is New York City?

I used to think that the main reason that God wanted me to go to New York was because of theater and writing. I have dreams of being a playwright and having my own theater company but that isn’t the case. God wants me there because of the people. People need Jesus, people need to know of the hope that is on the horizon of the greatest love ever and that is Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus wants me to be a dreamer and to believe that my dreams will happen, but it’s about getting to work and allowing the doors to be open so I can encounter the people who need him. I’ve encountered people here in LA too but it’s different. There’s always this little thing like a string that keeps pulling my heart in a different direction. Then it happened. I heard God tell me something that I wasn’t ready for. He said this: “Go to Brooklyn and see me.”

Okay, so here’s the thing… cartoons and movies have always wrongly depicted the voice of God. Everyone thinks its like Mufasa in The Lion King but it’s not. It’s different for everyone. When I heard his voice it was quiet and then afterwards there was an incredible amount of peace that flooded me.So I called my parents I told them of what had happened. We prayed together and then I was set on moving…That was four years ago.

A lot of things changed in the four years. New York was always there. The people were always there and so was my self-doubt. I let it get the best of me and for four years I ignored the voice of God and got distracted. A lot of things changed. My relationship with friends changed. My relationship with my church changed too. I started going back to drinking and partying. I just became a very angry person and because of the anger my friends weren’t there anymore. I left church because I didn’t want to listen to people and I wanted to listen to the people who I thought had their best interest in me. I was manipulated and threw everything about myself out the window all because I took the true call of God on my life and hid it with the call of the Devil.

It took me a long time to finally realize that everything that I had gone through in the past four years was all for a reason. It took a lot of tears and a lot of therapy to get me back to where my relationship with God once was. I used to overcomplicate my relationship and now I just simplify it. The truth is this…the relationship was always there. It never went away because Jesus had already made up his mind up about me. I was always his from the very beginning. He knew me before in my mother’s womb, he knew me before he created me. It’s been a journey to fully understand that but I believe it now.

The next part now is the faith part. The actual walking in freedom part. That’s why I start with, “God loves me” every morning. To remind myself, to tell my depression to kiss my ass and not ruin my day. To allow the call of Brooklyn have an impact on me. I say that to myself in the morning so my past does not define me but the love of Jesus does. My identity is in him, my soul is his. Everything that was before doesn’t matter because all that matters is forward. I know whats coming next. I know its something big.

All I have to do is just leap and be willing to be stretched. Jesus will do the rest. That’s what faith is. Not allowing the doubt to creep in. Allowing the faith to happen. I’m going to live my life as if it’s already here. I heard this great message the other night from a pastor at Zoe Church in Hollywood. He said this, “ Faith lives in tension. It is the vehicle to God’s promise.” I’m going to live in the tension. I’m gonna find the faith. I’m going to listen to the promise that God has for me.

Tesla’s & Whole Food’s

choices, comedy, freeform, freewriting, frienships, funny, laugh, relationships, silly, storytelling, Uncategorized

whole-foodsA friend of mine recently said that she thought she saw me driving a Tesla and pulling out of Whole Foods. She was very confused by this and then proceeded in messaging me telling me of the whole ordeal. In which I couldn’t help but wonder, “What the fuck?”. Afterwards this happened she then mentioned what would make sense would be this…to see me in a tiny car pulling out of a McDonald’s. I drive a fiat. I like McDonalds, but apparently I’m not good enough for a Tesla and Whole Foods. Little does she know that I actually shop at Whole foods.

My point is this… where did we get to this point…who hurt us? When was it okay to be rude to our friends? I hate it when people say they are kidding. We both know thats bullshit. Anytime someone says that they are kidding…half the time they actually mean it…just kidding.

I’m the master of using this tactic. I’m always using sarcasm to my advantage until it backfires on me when one of my “good friends” tells me what she really thinks. I don’t understand it. On what planet did we get to the point where it was okay to share all of our opinions. Some opinions are very valid, but at the same time some people just shouldn’t say anything. Take me for example… I never really understood that saying, “If you have nothing nice to say then you shouldn’t say anything at all. Well now I do…because half of the time I was always running my mouth and getting myself into trouble.

So as much as I want to bash my friend and tell her how much she should keep her mouth shut….especially since she never calls me or messages me to see how I’m doing….especially since I can’t remember the last time she asked me to go get dinner, and especially since I can’t remember when she said something nice to me. I’m just going to keep my mouth shut and buy me a La Croix and $3 sliced pizza from the 356 store and have myself a nice $10 lunch.

If anything I should thank her for opening my eyes to the pettiness that I embark on a daily basis. So thank you friend who said that I’m too poor…just kidding…I’m over exaggerating…those weren’t her exact words but if there was a big ass weeping willow with a huge shady area she would be sitting under it. And at the same time I’d be right underneath it next to her with my $10 lunch watching all of the Teslas in LA driving by.

The Forgetful Four

choices, Forgiveness, freeform, freewriting, frienships, funny, relationships, storytelling, Uncategorized

Friendships are like buying shoes. You better make sure that you love them before you make your purchase. I have this problem of always seeing a really great pair of shoes and buying them on impulse. If only I was impulsive with making decisions as I was buying shoes I think I’d be a little bit happier. I don’t just do this with shoes, I do this with other items of clothing. Jackets, button ups, t-shirts you name it. Except for jeans and pants. Jeans and pants are the bane of my existence. Reason is because God blessed me with an ass. I’ve always been between sizes thirty-six and forty and I’m not ashamed of it anymore, I’m just “athletic”.

Friendships are like shoes. I always run into the same problem. I buy the shoes and then bring them home only to have them to collect dust for weeks. I can’t pair them with anything that I have in my current closet and then suddenly I have a night, and an outfit to wear the new shoes with. This will only happen for one night and one night only. The night will end, I’ll put the shoes back into the box, and there they will sit in the closet collecting dust…again.

Friendships are like buying shoes because its like an investment. You wanna wear the shoes every other day, daily even if you can. Not just have them sitting in a box for weeks or months. Sometimes a pair of shoes are just so great that you will come up with any excuse to not let them go. But before you know it, years have past and the time comes to clean out the closet.

In the early part of my twenties I was what my friends used to say “emotional”. When I say friends, I mean a specific four I like to call the Forgetful Four. Forgetful because that’s how I’d like to remember them, forgotten. Between the ages of twenty to now I have spent the better part of my twenties trying to always to be liked by these people and I just simply cannot do it anymore. I had a therapist once tell me that it was good to write things down and to get it all out on paper, so for once I’m taking her advice. I love the four and I hate the four. I’d use the word dislike but its an excuse. The shoes look great! I love these shoes, I can wear them with this outfit! They’re not too small. They’re not too big. Things that I’ve said to myself to keep the shoes around.

One friend dropped off the face of the Earth. She’s not dead but she stopped talking to us because of whatever reason. I think it’s because she couldn’t handle the weight of it all. All of our crazy. She was always wanting to be the life of the party whether it was with weed or drinking. Another friend, I lived with and I fell in love with. They developed a drug addiction and was a compulsive liar. Eventually they got clean. The other one I lived with in the first semester of college and they now live on the other side of the world playing dress up. It pays the bills. Last but not least is the friend who I have invested a lot of my time in. She’s an actress, a good one. She’ll be famous one day. She’s beautiful. She is she. You hate her and you love her, but I will always feel that I will never be good enough for her. I’ve known them for eight years.

I’m not innocent in all of this. I’ve fucked up too. I’ve gossiped, I said terrible things to all of these people. I said that I loved them but I lied. I lied because I wanted to be popular. I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be equal with the cool kids of Beverly hills. And now I just have a closet full of shoes that are collecting dust. I wish I could take it all back. All of the drinking, the fights, the things that I said, but i can’t. I wish I didn’t own up to so many things with them, but I did and gave them ammo. Remember when you did this R? Remember when you called me a bitch or an asshole. Remember when you said that you would always love me, but instead you said my secrets. I have ammo too. Remember when I called and you never picked up. Remember when you treated me like the little brother that you never wanted to hang out with. Remember when you said that you loved me, but instead you said my secrets.

They’ll probably read this and they probably won’t. If they do, they’ll say that I’m being dramatic. That I’m being emotional. That I belong in some Nancy Meyers film crying in a shower. Emotional yes… I am emotional because I don’t understand why it has taken me this long to figure it all out. Friendships are like shoes. They look great on, but eventually they will wear out or you’ll never wear them. The truth is this. I want friendships that are going to invest in me for once. Maybe I’ll go through a whole mess of shoes to finally get it, but for now this is what I want.

I want people who will call me and ask what I’m doing? Let’s grab coffee, or a drink. I wanna hang out with you because I’m hungry and want chipotle, and I enjoy our conversations. I want people who see me. Not just my past or what i did, but people who believe in me. Not the gossip or the insults, but they see me. Love me and fight for me because I’ll try to push you away. Don’t give up on me. I don’t know what else to say. I can’t say sorry anymore. I can’t do that anymore. I’m tired, I guess the only thing that I can say is this.

Dear Forgetful Four,

Hi. Goodbye. Love more. Say less. Drink less. Find the good in things. Call each other. Tex each other. Remember how special you are. I did love you. It’s time to go. Remember. Summer in Laguna. Dancing. Laughing in the apartment by Vineland. Cigarette burns. Holding my hand when I was scared at the doctor’s office. Roller coaster rides and ugly faces. Drinking wine. Walking down Melrose. Sitting next to me that first day of class. Taking pictures of each other with bras on our heads. Tripping in front of you and falling down the stairs in the dorm. Being my first roommate. Holding me as I cried in the middle of the street. Goodbye. I need to go. My head hurts. I’m sick. I can’t keep wondering if I’m good enough. I need to do this. I need to see what I’m like without you. It’s time to go. Try to be happy. Take care.


Friendships are like shoes. Try them on first before you purchase them. Walk around in them. Take a few steps and then really think if they are right for you. If not, they’re just there before you clean out the closet.

Story # 2 or “A Letter to Myself”

choices, Christ, Christian, Forgiveness, Grace, lifetrack, relationships, storytelling, understanding

Dear Rafael, 

We have reached the point in your life where we need to start actually getting real. Your Idenity crisis has reach a maximum  where you have no one to turn to except for God. Even though you have a crazy amount of fear rooted in this letter because you must face some truths there will be an endless amount of love at the very end of it because God has intended that for you. With that being said let’s begin shall we? 

For all your life you have been a wandering nomad. A traveling gypsy, a Jonah as we would say. Running away from that fish called fear. And let’s face it….its a pretty big fish. It’s the Christian fish…the number one truth you’re scared to face and that’s because you my friend are becoming a Christian. It’s the truth…you dislike (we use that word because the word hate is no longer in your vocabulary)to admit that your heart is becoming soft and that you hurt for the ones around you. Your mind is becoming like Christ. You have began to tithe and you actually read your bible. You were serving but have taken a back seat because you were wrapping your Idenity in it, but don’t take a back seat for too long. Get back up there when the time is right, you’ll see the joy all over again I promise. You have become honest with the people around yourself but yet you do not become honest with the person that you see in the mirror every morning. 

Let me ask you this. Would be a terrible idea to actually forgive yourself? Would it be a bad idea to forgive the ones who have done you wrong? Would the world stop and end if you actually began to accept the love that God has had for you all these years that you have lived in LA? I ask you these things because you have become comfortable on walking in the eggshells of these questions. To scared to actually dive into the greatness that God has had for you for a long time. No longer doubt that you do not have a relationship with God because the truth is YOU DO! BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS….he has called you to be! You say to yourself it’s easy to say, but then you ask yourself “How do I begin?” 

Well we begin with the base of love. Yes love, because we love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). We throw in some grace because for from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1:16). We add some hope because endurance produces character and character produces hope (Romans 5:4). And then finally the most important ingredient to a life walking alongside him is faith because for we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Be strong and courageous Rafael and let go! 

Letting yourself go is hard thing because it allows you accept the things you cannot change but it gives you the ability to lift up your eyes and to see a life full of wonder and endless possibilities. A life filled with laughter and kindness and great memories. I’m not disregarding the fact that yes we have had a struggle for the past 6 years of our life, but we are just people. EVERYONE HAS PROBLEMS! But the difference is that we have been a people who has had Christ inside for a while and we have been denying that change that he has been trying to do for sometime. It’s time that we embrace our dad and accept that it’s okay to be a Christian. It’s okay to love people and to cry with them when they are hurting. It’s okay to think like Christ, and read your bible, and it’s GREAT to tithe! God is bigger than your biggest dreams and your greatest fears. Walk to the north and be the form that God has called you to be. There is a knowing in the stillness of just being quiet don’t be afraid of that stillness. 

A close friend of yours told you the other day that you are not meant to carry your cross all the time (Keep this friend she is wise, caring, and won’t put up with your crap. Because we both know that you can tend to be a bit of an idiot when it comes to friendship but that’s for a whole different letter to yourself). She also said there is a time to pick up your cross and go through but also a time to allow a time to allow God to pick up your cross and allow him to carry it for you. This is the season that you are in. A season of letting go and change. Don’t worry about the other things God will fix it. He will fix the relationships that you have lost and he will provide the people to help you with it. A time to plant is your through line….be planted and don’t run. See what he’s about to do and be content friend. Be encouraged, and I told you so…love will always be in the end. Learn to love and be loved always and forever. 



Story #1 or That one time I had a crush on a girl name Charisma….

choices, comedy, crushes, frienships, funny, laugh, lifetrack, relationships, silly, storytelling, understanding

Okay so I know what you’re thinking. What kind of a name is Charisma, but that was her name. Surprisingly I later found out that the name “Charisma” is a common name amongst girls, but in the 90’s it was a unique and different one. I believed that her parents were hippies, but that was just a speculation of mine at the time. She was beautiful though. Oh! Btw this was my first real crush on a girl in grade school. Thought I should mention that before we dive in. Like any first real crush you tend to do a lot of stupid things. You write notes back and forth, you draw little doodles on your notebook that say, “I

Yeah, this really happened and because of that it really set me up for disaster with all future relationships, and not in a, “Holy Cow! I’m never going to find my person” type of thing but more of an “I tend to always put my foot in my mouth type of thing”. Like this one time when I tried to pay Charisma a compliment I really wanted to tell her that she had beautiful eyes but instead I told her she had a booger hanging from her nose (Sorry Charisma but that thing was huge!) See stuff like that would always get me in trouble. Also I should mention that we were two fourth graders, and she was unaware of this but I had made her my girlfriend.

You think she’d understand this after I had returned from our winter break with a gift for her. I had gone to Mexico for Christmas to visit my dad’s side of the family and as we were crossing the border back into the states I saw this little old lady with ten kids selling these glass figurines. From the backseat window I see this glass humming bird that I just thought was perfect for my girl. So I get off the car and rush over and paid for it (And when I mean pay for it of course I used my parents money because in the 90’s no fourth grader had their own money…not like today where third graders have IPhones or IPads or some sort of thing that shouldn’t be allowed to have until they are at least twenty maybe twenty-seven.)

So I returned from my trip all bright eyed and bushy tail ready to give this gift to Charisma and then I find out that that on this specific day, apparently Charisma was seen macking with this kid name Rudy. So Rudy was the other Mexican in my class, and don’t get me wrong there were other Mexican children in the school but in my class it was just me and Rudy. Because my parents blessed me with my father’s name our teacher would always get us mixed up. Its one thing to be the only Mexican in your class, but to have another one in it complicates things. It was not a fun time especially when it came to Cinco de Mayo (Which btw is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day. It’s like in some awkward month like January or April.) Christmas was bad too, all those kids screaming at the top of their lungs “Feliz Navidad!” at the Christmas recitals…I blame all of my headaches on those recitals. I strongly dislike that song!

With this new news that I received I had no idea on how to process it. So I did what any other normal Hispanic kid would do and that was to devour my lunch burrito and then play some kick ball.  My normal position was to play out-fielder along with my best-friend AJ. AJ was also of Mexican decedents and our families got together occasionally for carne asada and to watch the boxing matches on HBO, plus they had a BOMB.COM house completed with a pool in the backyard. AJ always had the latest and greatest video games and we bonded very quickly on this aspect. I mean he would always kick my butt, but it was a great time and to this day I’m still not that great at video games (Except Halo! I love Halo! It is one of my all-time favorite games next to Kingdom Hearts! Sorry, I had to geek out right there.)

There I was getting ready for the next kicker to kick the ball when AJ comes up to me. “Hey dude. Did you hear about Charisma?” I replied with a simple no because I really didn’t want to talk about it when AJ continued. “Hate to break it to you but Rudy has been telling everyone that they were macking out back by the trees. I heard him talking to some of the other guys in the bathroom.” I was fuming I couldn’t believe that this tyrant was bragging that he was macking out with my girl! I mean that was my squirrel! Now before we go into what proceeded I should create a little side note.

From the ages of eleven to twenty-five I would consistently do this thing that whenever I would find out some sort of information whether it would be true or not I would always get a little ahead of myself. I tend to see things through the lens of a camera or on a stage and it were times like these where the camera would pan out and you would hear a great big epic dramatic NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! And then I got over it, but as the years came that great big epic dramatic NOOOOOOO would turn into anger and I would go off in a tangent of cursing like a sailor. That wasn’t until later till like I was sixteen or so. Anyways moving on…

I came back from seeing things through the lens and began to put my thoughts together. I had no idea on what to think or on what to do. I mean this couldn’t be true. The sweet beautiful innocent Charisma couldn’t be macking with the “other” Mexican. I thought I was her “only” Mexican. How dare she?! The lunch bell rang for all of us to go back into class. I walked with my head hanging low replaying the images of Charisma locking lips with the other man. I couldn’t shake it. It was like the first time you watched Marley & Me (Talk about a depressing moving, that movie is more depressing than Titanic. You know what’s terrible about that movie is that Jack never tells Rose that he loves her and the fact that there was plenty of room on that damn door. Either Jack sucks at telling his true feelings or James Cameron sucks at writing. I mean must I remind you of Avatar? Way to steal the plot from Pocahontas James.) 

The rest of class was a blur I really don’t remember any of it. The images went from color to black and white and before you know it I was in Casablanca (So many movie references.) The day had ended and I had found myself back at home in my room looking at the glow and the dark stickers that I had stuck to the top of my ceiling. I had counted them several times when my mom entered my room. Parents will always know when something is up. It’s weird, it’s like God planted them with a detector to instantly smell fishy business. My mother was a master at this. I swear you could never get anything by her!

Like this one time she had forbidden my sisters and I to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when it came out in theaters. Now this was after the fact that she had already bought me Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the schools book fair, and the only reason she forbid us to see it is because I guess there were reports on the news of little kids jumping off kitchen counter tops with broomsticks thinking that they were playing a game of Quidditch. You think my mother would have faith that I was a little bit smarter in the fact that I wasn’t an idiot, but no. I couldn’t see the greatest movie of all time as a child because of the ridiculous acts of others. So I did what any other kid would do. I tricked my dad into taking me, my sisters, and my cousin Andrea to the film. Yeah…I got grounded for a month for that.

“What’s wrong with you? You barely touched your food. That never happens.” (I was a fairly big boned child growing up.) I mean I really didn’t want to tell my mom of what had happened. How was I supposed to tell her that the girl of my dreams was allegedly kissing another guy? “How did your friend like her gift?”, and there it was the question of the hour. I was so busy in learning all of this crap at school that I had completely forgot to give the gift to Charisma. So I lied to mom and said that I didn’t give it to her because I was “shy”. If you know me personally than you know that I’m not “shy”. “Well tomorrow is a new day. You can give it to her tomorrow.” How was I going to give this glass figurine to Charisma after finding out that she was cheating?

My mother left my room and I was alone again. I had no idea on what I was going to do tomorrow when I entered school. There was no way that I could show my face. I mean people were already talking that I was going to fight Rudy which was dumb! I’m not a fighter! I’m a lover, a lover who was burning with anguish. That’s when I heard a little voice in my head, and it said “Pray”. The only reason I knew what prayer was because at the time I was being raised a Catholic and what usually consumes most of a Catholics time is prayer because they pray to everyone. Not just to God or Jesus, but to the Virgin Mary, the Saints, the Apostles, the Arch Angels, the Angels, Mary-Madeline, the Pope, the Vatican, and then there’s the dead relatives.  So yeah…I knew what prayer was. I got on my knees and opened my mouth, and it went a little like this.

“Hey God…hope you can hear me, but I think I might be in some sort of trouble. Maybe not really trouble, but I think my girl is cheating. I know she really isn’t my girlfriend, but I want her to be. I hope that the rumor is just a rumor and that she will tell me the truth when I confront her about it. If it’s not true please tell me now so I won’t make myself look like a fathead when talking to her. Okay, cool. Goodnight God and Amen…”

Yeah, I was really smooth in the communication logs with God. It wasn’t until later my prayer life completely changed after finding my real home church where I could stay planted and grow in faith but that’s not until later in the book. The next morning at school it was recess and everyone was out by the tetherball courts. Normally in the afternoons at lunch time you play kickball but at morning recess the game was tetherball. Tetherball is a very aggressive sport. Whoever invented it must have had daddy issues or I like to think that they disliked cats or at least that is was I imagine when I’m trying to hit the ball (Do I hate cats? No, I dislike cats. I’m a dog person, but if you’re thinking that if I had the chance to harm a cat in any way shape or form you are mistaken. Nope, I love all of God’s creatures…accept pigeons I could do without pigeons but they’re here for some reason. I just wish they wouldn’t poop on me all the time.)

I approached the courts when I saw Charisma. The sun was hitting her in just the right spot. The rays of sun were bouncing off her dark brown hair just perfectly and then she flipped it. Or at least my camera lens of a mind’s eye was seeing it this way. That’s when I got smacked by the tetherball in the face! AJ was hitting the ball and I guess I didn’t hear him when he was serving it and the next thing I know I was crouching on the floor with my hands in my face. Good thing that I had placed the figurine on the floor before or else it would have shattered on the ground as I had fallen. “Dang it AJ!” I yelled, “What? I told you I was serving. It’s not my fault you’re drooling over there.”

Before I knew it most of the kids had seen this and began to point and laugh. I looked over and I saw Charisma staring at me trying to hold back a laugh or two. I walked over to her with the figurine in my hand. “Are you okay?” she said to me. “Yeah I’m good, AJ just being AJ…you know how he is.” (Um…actually she didn’t. She had never spoken to him or met him.) “Did it hurt?” Of course it hurt! What kind of a question was that? How would you feel if you got hit with spinning ball of doom tied to a rope? “No, it wasn’t that bad…I’m sure I’ll be fine. Just a little red I’ll just look like an Oompa Loompa for the rest of the day.” An Oompa Loompa? Way to go Raf…at this point I was treading water. If I kept opening my mouth there was no idea what other nonsense thing I would say.

An awkward pause lingered in the air for about 5 minutes which is like 5 days in fourth grader years. The bell had rang at it was time for class I began to panic. She was getting ready to leave when I shouted. I BOUGHT YOU A GIFT! She turned around, “You did?” I opened my hand and there was the humming bird glistening in the sunlight because of so much sweat that my palms had produced. She took it and stared at it, and then replied “It’s beautiful, Thanks.” Just like that, “Thanks” like as if it was no big deal. I mean what was going on? Up until this point everything in my life was not going as planned. That very Christmas I had asked for a Furby and a Rugrats alarm clock. Don’t get me wrong I got it for Christmas, but my mother blew the illusion that Santa Claus was a real person. I had caught her in the act when she got angry at me because I was acting like a brat in the back of our truck because I really wanted to stay and extra day in Mexico with my grandparents. So I guess she had every right to ruin the spirit of Christmas for a ten year old. “I have had it! This is the type of respect that I get after all things you got for Christmas!” Yeah the conversation went something like that.

The whole day I no longer had the image of Charisma kissing Rudy, instead I kept on replaying the “Thanks” in my head! I mean what the hell?! It kept on replaying in my head because that right there was confirmation that she did cheat! Who just says thanks? At least give me a hug! I bought that thing for 3 dollars from lady with ten kids! You know what I could do with 3 dollars? Buy myself a can of Surge! That’s what I could do or better yet rent a Troll in Central Park from Blockbuster…she had some nerve! Thanks…thanks…it kept on going on repeat like a damn broken record. School had ended and again I felt hopeless. I mean didn’t God hear my prayer? I sounded like an idiot and then I got a lame response. So by the time I had gotten home I had come to terms that Charisma was not the girl of my dreams but a hussy who got around. There was nothing that I could do about it except call her up that night and give her a piece of my mind.

This is the part where I screwed myself over. It was a defining moment that would continue to be the blueprint for me always putting my foot in my mouth. The typical dinner had ended. My mother was just starting to get good with her cooking. It was no longer the typical pasta night. She had made a full meal completed with salad and some sort of protein. My mother tried to make conversation. “So did you give your friend her gift?” I looked up from my plate, “Yeah something like that.” “What do you mean?” my mother replied. “She just said thanks. That was it.” My mom started laughing. “What did you want a parade? Or wait, did you want a kiss?” My mother took my plate my too clear it, when she said “Aye Mijo, you have a whole life ahead of you to be thinking about that type of stuff. Just be patient for life to happen.” Before dinner was served I had taken the home phone to my room and dialed Charisma. She didn’t pick up so I left her a message and the message went something like this…

“Hey Charisma…it’s me Raf or Rafael…from class. I hope you liked the gift that I gave you today at school…um I was just calling because if you want to date Rudy you can…no judgment. I know you guys were seen kissing by the trees. So yeah no hard feelings… See you in school and you can keep the humming bird. Bye.”  The hole that I was digging myself into had gotten me to China by now. Dinner was finished when the phone rang. My mother went and answered the phone. “Hello? Yes this is the place. Yes, he’s here I’ll go get him.” My mom looked at me with her big brown eyes. “It’s Charisma.” She winked at me and smiled and then handed me the phone. “Hello?” The other line of the phone was silent and then I heard breathing.

“Rafael?” Hi, I don’t appreciate you calling my home and making accusations!” I was dead silent. I could see my mother in the corner of my eye giving me a thumbs up. She had no idea and at the same time I was surprised at the fact that Charisma knew a word such as “Accusation”. I mean I didn’t think she was dumb or anything, I was just surprised at that word. I played it cool over the line. “Okay…hope you liked the gift.” “The gift…that’s what you’re worried about?! You’re not going to say you’re sorry?” My face was pale and mother continued to smile towards my way. “Okay, I guess I’ll see you at school tomorrow.” “Aren’t you going to say that you’re sorry?!” I had nothing else to say except, “Yeah, I bought the gift in Mexico.” The other line was silent. “Don’t even bother on talking to me ever again! I want nothing to do with you! I actually thought you were a nice guy now I just know you’re stupid! Goodbye!” Click. That was it. She was gone. I hung up the phone. My mom looked my way.

“So what did she say?” I couldn’t tell her the truth that I was an idiot for believing in something that I had no idea if it was true or not. Not mention that if I did tell her that she would punish me. I already felt like a moron I didn’t want to be punished for being one too. “She loved it…said it was nice and sweet…cool actually”. “See! I told you Mijo. Just be patient and life will happen.” My mother was right, life was happening, but not in the manner that I wanted it to happen. I eventually went back to school and Charisma never spoke to me again and eventually my mom and dad did find out of what had happened, but they didn’t punish me. They figured that what I went through was punishment enough. I have never been good with being patient. Not with Charisma or with anything else in my life. Patience would be a BIG thing in my life, in my relationships with family, friends, and with God for that matter. The good thing was that I had God there laughing with me at all of the dumb situations that I would get myself into. To this day I still don’t know if Charisma actually was seen macking with Rudy, but whether it was true or not I would just have one thing to say to her and it would be this. I’m sorry.

P.s- Forgive me on the tangents….

Trying to get my life in check...

Trying to get my life in check…