ALL DOWNHILL FROM THERE
My Amended Story- Aden Cantu, “Ace”
My story is nothing special.
Nothing extravagant or even eye catching. But it is my own story. Without going too deep into my life and without digging into forgotten memories, this is my life.
My name is Adan Cantu. I was born in Weslaco, Texas in June 7, 1985. I was born to my mother, Isabel Ozano Cantu and my father Abel Cantu Sr. At the time I had one sibling, my brother, Abel Cantu Jr, who was two years older than me. The following year my mom gives birth to my brother, Adrian Cantu. My entire childhood, as far as I can remember, it was only three brothers, mom and dad.
My very first memory was of watching the movie “Jason Takes Manhattan” in the theater, 1987. I was two years old. I don’t know who took me to see the movie but someone did. My next memory is of my late aunt putting me over a fence and telling me that Jason was going to get me. Apparently that was her thing, scare us all.
I don’t remember this, but my dad wasn’t really around before I was four or five. He was too busy using or in jail or messing with some other broad (which is how I have another brother named Nick. He took his mom’s last name of Esquivel).
My mom pretty much had me and my brothers since she gave birth to Abel at the age of 16. She and my dad were married at the time as well. They were married on March 6, 1983 and my brother was born March 7, 1983. Not much of a honeymoon I know.
Back to my dad not really being there. I guess my dad decided it was time to clean up his act so he moved down to Mendota, California where is side of the family lives. My mom packed me and my brothers up and toted us down to Cali to be with my dad, Now my memories of my dad vary. I know that he was an addict and an alcoholic but what I remember is a father that was always working and providing. I remember always going to church every Sunday morning and night and on Wednesdays, My dad would preach on Wednesday nights and my mom would sing in the “choir” consisting of three women. They really got into it too. We used to do Bible study and even be in a youth group.
As we got older, I started seeing that my relationship with my dad was kind of detached but I figured it was normal. He got along great with my older brother and Adrian was the baby so of course being the middle child, I got all the runoff love. At least that’s how it felt.
Regardless my mom and dad were intent on raising us in a “squarish” way. Being that I was the middle son, I was usually meek...hardly stood my ground. Adrian and I were pretty close. At only one year apart, we should be. He was always getting into it for me and with me. Asshole. Even with some of our cousins. Either way, we were close.
As I got older, my parents gave us the choice of continuing going to church on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights… Of course I chose not to continue. Still had to go on Sunday mornings but that was nothing. When I got into 7th or 8th grade, I finally tried beer and cigarettes for the first time. Thinking back it was ending of 7th.
My friend, Elizabeth’s dad was a veteran of the Vietnam War and he had severe PTSD. He was always drunk and couldn’t really keep track of what he had. He used to buy his cigs in bulk, Me and another friend got him for, get this, one beer and a pack of cigs (Pall Mall). Like I said before, we were being raised squarish...but in a small town in Fresno County?... Good luck.
My friend and I went to the outskirts of town, cause that was the thing to do and drank an overly warm beer, It was gross. The cigs were no better, After that we all got a taste for drinking and smoking. Now we were going to high school parties and enjoying the kegs. We would go to the store and steal cartons of cigs, Whatever was easiest to get. I remember sitting with my friends and crying for nothing...I guess it was what drunks did, so we did it.
I came home drunk one night acting a fool and Abel took care of me, made me get in the shower and eat, then go to bed. When I was in 8th grade my mom caught me and some friends smoking in the backyard. I took the blame and the ass whooping. A few months later my brother introduced me to coke,,, I hadn’t even smoked weed yet. It was ok, got me all jittery and paranoid.
My brother had fun with me and had me tripping. Told me that my parents were home so run out the back door and didn’t stop for a few blocks. All scared. A little while later, like a few weeks… my friend busted out with some weed. That was something else. The high was like nothing I’d experienced before. It was lovely. Soon after I, just barely, graduated the 8th grade in 1999.
That summer I was a part of a group that participated in a Math Scholars Program offered by Fresno State University. We lived in dorms for three weeks, and ran amuck all over the place. Sneaking into and out of the girls dorms. The math part sucked but good times otherwise.
That year I started high school. That year we came to visit on Thanksgiving. That year my parents decided we were going to move up to Washington to spend time with my grandmother. That year I left my friends that actually gave a shit what happened with me and school. That year was the beginning of some bad but oh so fun times. Goodbye experimenting with drugs and alcohol, hello full on usage.
April 1st, 2000, We pack up the truck and hit the road. As we get on I-5, I remember sneaking “Presidente” into school and getting drunk in class. I remember the first time I got laid Smoking with my friends. Beefing with my friends. I remember crying with my friends. Losing them and making amends with them. I remember that Washington is far and I remember that I’m sad but excited. I’m still a freshman in high school, having to meet new people and making new friends. Having to get to know my mom’s side of the family. I remember that I’m losing a lot. I forget that I want more in my life. That I want to be a Veterinarian. I forgot that I’m not so bad in school. I forget that my parents struggle to raise us. I forget me.
April 2, 2000: Whoo...party. My prima is getting me some cigs and I don’t have to go to school for a week. Skipping school, chillin with my primos and primas… drunk on weekdays, more people in the house. I love Washington. I’m enjoying doing my thing. No more church. Mom and dad drink? Dad drinks too much OK, he gets abusive when he drinks. Mom smokes now? Oh, she used to. I’m smoking weed with my dad now too? Whoa, this is crazy...lovin it though. Parties at Days Inn. Getting high and big chillin.
I drop out of school, but get my G.E.D. I still go visit, every summer (my friends in Cali). It seems most have forgot about me. I go see them all graduate high school. Tough day. Get drunk with them. Go back to Burlington. Get a job at SCCAA Skagit Literacy. Plan to move with my friend, Amanda, down in Fresno. Quit my job and go down. Meet hella chicks.
Go down to TJ. Get pulled up by the cops and pay our way out. Filthy. I’m enjoying myself but Cali isn’t home anymore. I move back, Grandma passes away.
All downhill from there.