Zero score and four years ago, My cousin decided to take a trip down memory lane on the freeway in Virginia.
I remember the way you pronounced “stupid” as “stupeh!” The second syllable would be two octaves higher, and it was hilarious to hear your accent.
I remember our family taking you and yours to Palm Springs. We rode in tubes down the snowy hills, and I sat on your lap. But, I fell off and slid half way down the mountain.
I remember tagging along with you occasionally when you walked around the Parks Jr. High School track.
I remember the great family dinners we had at home.
I remember being mad at you when you used Telnet on my computer and gave me a virus. I had to reformat my computer, and I never let you use it ever since.
I remember being woken up by my mom for school. It was November 3rd, 2006. She was in tears, and she told me that you had gone.
I remember crying in school, with my grandma, outside the gym, to multiple friends on the phone, to my sister, and to my mom.
I remember crying while reading a letter that your physics professors wrote to you, saying goodbye to you.
I remember going against my belief of “never get caught slippin’” last Thanksgiving. The other relatives asked me what my tattoo meant, and I started crying talking about you.
I will never forget that night. The door leading to the garage opened. My grandma limped into the kitchen and cried like I’ve never seen or heard before. At the same time, your mom and dad limped in from the garage, my mom ran out of the kitchen, and I ran into my room. Cindy wasn’t there, for she still dormed at school.
Dear old cousin, I just wanted to let you know that it’s painful crying while sick. My nose is congested from my damn cold, and it’s hard breathing enough as it is. But, I’ve stopped for now.
I will never forget visiting your grave three summers ago, in 2008. My mom, your dad, and your mom brought you nice flowers. Afterward, I showed your dad my tattoo. He was driving at the time. He stumbled for a bit, recovered, and asked me why I got those words.
I want to apologize to you for deciding not to celebrate you on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). I learned in class that those who cry in the celebration are looked at as insulting the holiday, for you’re supposed to be cheerful and happy. I knew I could not manage that. Moreover, I couldn’t bear to tell my family that I wanted to celebrate a holiday on your behalf; my grandma would have broken down, and she’s already in an unhealthy state. Instead, I celebrated our grandpa, whom I’ve never met before. Sorry, cousin.
I also want to commend your hard effort in succeeding in life. For getting through the Taiwan army. For coming to the states as a foreign exchange student. For living on the east coast, completely out of your comfort zone. For struggling, yet persisting, with your major.
I also have to thank you for being a loving cousin. For being my sister’s favorite cousin. For being mine. You were the cousin that Cindy and I saw most frequently. Yet, you lived on the other side of the world. That says something. That says a lot.
You also owe me an apology, for my mom just walked in on me crying. And I hate getting caught slippin’. But I forgive you.
Dear old cousin, I have a quiz and midterm to study for, as well as an essay to write. That’s a poor excuse to end this note, for I don’t think I’ll be writing or studying any time soon. Forgive me for that, once again.
I still think about you all the time, and we’ll both ball ‘til my dyin’ days. I love you cousin.