17. 17th birthday – and this is first time he’s called me to wish me a happy birthday.

16. He called my mom and I answered. I let him know who it was. He said he had almost forgotten he had a little sister.

15. I don’t know how he’s doing or what he’s up to, it can’t be much, but I wish I knew something. Anything.

14. He did bad things again so of course he’s back in jail.

13. I remember being awakened by the police who asked me question after question about him. “How is he at home?” “Is he violent?”

12. He was released from jail in 2011, but his freedom didn’t last long.

11. His sentence was coming to an end. I still had no idea what he was like.


9. It’s been years of seeing my mom cry, seeing her fall apart and not being able to fix anything.
8. I remember waiting in long lines to go through security and then see him for what felt like 10 minutes. I’ve tried blocking out the feelings of it all, but the cold facility and those families who like us waited several hours just to hear the voice of their loved one will stay with me forever.

7. Cold folding chairs we’d sit on waiting to hear, “Visitation for Salas” and seeing my mom trying to keep it together for her little girl. That, too, will stay in my heart forever.


5. My parents were always honest with me, always told me how things were and how bad he could be. I knew he’d be in for a while. I knew I had a brother who I hardly ever saw. I knew my parents were suffering.

4. My brother was a criminal and I knew it at a very young age.

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