You are most inverse from me,
and from that we share a lot
I did not get my necklace for you but that is the nickname, the only nickname, that my family ever gave you.
with a deep reverse breath of some sort from Wovie’s mouth. He daps you and prolly calls you the ‘N word’ like most millennial Latino males did/do in Compton. Or Fontana for that matter. Or all over for that matter.
You were ‘Puff’ in elementary because of your cheeks. Your cheeks have not changed, but your name certainly has. But you were never ‘Puff’ to me. Ironically if we were ever to compare ourselves to pop culture you were Diddy and I was Ma$e. You always had the bigger picture frame. And I was more than okay with being the hottest out for a time then gracefully and respectfully disappearing. But I associated the name with a time of everything that you weren’t. You would be picked on for being more gentle, reading instead of fighting, and even those very cheeks. But you were never soft. Quiet and raw. Stoic if ever anything to share.
I gave you my nickname out of spite. You always knew how to push my buttons, and still do. You picked on me for being fat but not like they would. I had no problem pulling a gun on you without pulling the trigger just so you knew how I felt. I would actually kill them. And would gladly make a decent 4, or so, bloody noses for someone throwing ketchup on my shirt, saying I ‘looked hungry.’ Years later I finally had a nice lil 4-pack and you couldn’t say shit to me anymore, but you did. All the while you would eat Chick-fil-A Monday through Saturday because it was closed on Sundays. And more and more your stomach remained slim but your cheeks probably grew. Your arteries sure did. So I called you ‘Fatboi.’ When I drive to your house I ask Siri to take me to ‘Fatboi’s’ and Siri knows exactly who I’m talking about. You eat a lot healthier now, and I’m happy for that, but you’re still Fatboi.
On campus you were ‘Jon Garcia’ as if you were a reference like Randy Moss for Wide Receivers. ‘He got Moss’d,’ ‘That’s some Jon Garcia shit,’ same difference. And you would hear someone say that a lot those days. Anytime someone commanded a room, anytime someone was being messy on complex, anytime someone would be jumping up and down for no apparent reason, anytime someone would dance with mostly their chest bumping in and out. But also anytime anyone actually wanted activism to happen. When I first came to Johnston, I would hear a lot about this ‘Jon Garcia’ as if he himself were created in the University of Redlands. And he was. But before seeing THIS ‘Jon Garcia,’ I thought that they were talking about this almost-seemingly-timid kid that tried to make change for a school district that could not care any less about what his 17 year old self had to say. I thought they were talking about the kid who would never show how truly scared he was to leave off to Cupertino for a summer, but we all knew how he felt. But no. They were talking about the ‘most eligible bachelor,’ somehow. Not the guy who openly admitted to The Homies that he laughed before losing his virginity to his first love, instead of pouncing on the pussy like we all did our first time. Not the guy who would remain quiet and removed when everyone would plot out the taggings they were gonna do, or the fights they were gonna get into at lunch, or the raps they would spit about shooting mf with guns they could or could not have had. They were talking about one of the best DJ’s at Porch Parties. They were talking about the guy who, honestly, everyone wanted to wife up - if not only have sex with. They were talking about some fucking Johnston icon. ‘Johnston Legend’ like the hat that you were gifted on your Johnston Graduation. And you knew it. You graduated yourself from your Grad Review with your own plaque on the wall. ‘Jon Garcia’ among the Johnston Wall of Fame.
But you were never ‘Jon Garcia’ on Pine and Alder. You were that 4’8 very fast wide receiver on Wednesday afternoons that would thankfully dodge every tackle, because the boys who probably outweighed you by 120 lbs would have killed you. You were that shooter from the deepest spot on the driveway, who would occasionally hit that D Wade euro-step before it became famous. You are a leader of The Legendary Wholesome Crew, who the other 3 members look up to to lead the fucking way.
Our dad calls you G. And that’s really only between us 3.
‘Good Job G’ - Pops