“When I woke up, it felt like nothing happened. A few weeks after my cousin got to town, things started to change. We did not see each other in a very long time. It felt good to see him again, after all. We talked like time did not pass, and we remained the same boring individuals. I missed him to a certain extent. Because he is family, he was just that. A few days after he got here, this city did not look the same. He changed how this same town always appeared to me. It became just a strange place—all of a sudden. And going around with him to areas I had never been to was scary. Though, I felt safe with him. I admit. Where we would have gone, everything looked dirtier. Louder. Darker. The roads looked damaged, and the buildings seemed dying from the inside. People looked at me like I did not belong there. I did not. He did.

    I was young. I just could not know. He was older than me. Decades older. But we were cousins. Family. And that did not matter. He was always good to me. He wanted the best. The excellent food on the table for me and my mum. A roof upon our heads. Smiling faces. A good life, he used to call it. 

    It was supposed to be just an ordinary day. Going on the road with my cousin to meet those strange people at those strange places. When I woke up that day, he was not where I thought he was supposed to be. I do not know how. But it all started to make sense. Suddenly, I had all the answers to my doubts and questions about him. Since that simple and ordinary day, my mother and I have never seen him again. He vanished, just like that. We were left with good memories of him. Good talks. Good food. A roof upon our heads. Just like he wanted. We remember him as a good person. A loving person. One who cares. And even though he may not have been that to other people, we just decided to remember him this way. To not forget who he was to us, we smile. Even when times have gotten difficult without him, he just wanted us to keep smiling. And we are trying.”

    We Still

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