His drug addicted body slumped up the gravel path. Knife in hand. Hell in his eyes. At that moment everything I felt for him was gone. Sirens cut through the air. Police flooded from their cars. Shoving his body to the ground, they adorned his wrists with silver bracelets. The rock below me cradled my body as I sunk down onto it, letting all my emotions pour uncontrollably from my eyes and seep into the soil beneath my feet. My tears were gone forever, like they never happened, and so was my respect I had for him.
Now, as the light of the moon pours through the window, exposing my tear-stained cheeks, the remains of my emotions lay in puddles on the glass frame that protects my last memory of him. My mind wonders. Is he okay? Has he found a way out? Is he off the drugs? Every time the phone cries out in the middle of the night, my heart sinks. Could this be the phone call letting me know I have to bury my cousin?
As a young child full of energy, I would always get into my Grandpa’s precious belongings. I can vividly remember the day I knocked over a sculpture my deceased grandmother had hand crafted. Instead of seeing smoke shoot from his ears and his face turn a beet red, like the cartoon characters who lived in my television back then, he looked at me with his almond eyes and wrinkled skin. “LeeAnn, the greatest gift you can give someone is a second chance.” His voice cracked and he turned away as I stood confused. It took me years to understand the wisdom of his words, especially after the gut-wrenching events that took place with my cousin, but now I can proudly say I live my life by them.
My cousin may never know the pain he has caused me and the many sleepless nights, but I forgive him, for everything. My respect for him that was once lost, has now been found. I believe he can get better. I believe he can break the grasp of the drugs. I believe in him. I believe in second chances.
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