SS: Rebirth



"You will never understand because you're not a parent."


Those were the words that echoed in the silent tunnel of his eardrum. The strict statement came from his long-time childhood cousin. She and he were raised alongside each other by their grandmother since the day of their birth. It was a one-sided environment back then. Like any early sibling relationship, there was fighting, hair-pulling, hand biting every single day. Not one time, there wasn't anyone crying. And it would all be the same,


"It was her fault."

"She started it."

"I was just trying to be funny, and she just cried."


Any adult in the room would pick his side and fault her always. There was a strong sense of patriarchy back then, reflecting the shitty childhood she had. It wasn't his fault either, as he was too young to understand the gravity of this social norm the Latino society kept getting pulled by for so long. They prioritized boys. And that was just it, back then. Eventually, the generation gap kicked in, and the information age was spread worldwide, like a cancer cell multiplying in a healthy human body. Everyone shared their personal opinions on the stigma society presented. With that, he learned that his cousin had been put through a rough upbringing. So they made up for it. With that complete understanding, they developed a stronger bond with each other. They conquered high school together. Dominated dance parties. Pushed anyone that tried to harm either-or. Significantly assist with miscellaneous misdemeanors like making sure the professor didn't catch one of them skipping class just to smoke a few greens. They would protect each other.


Things were great until one day, she met someone and fell in love. He saw that this new guy made her happy, so he accepted him in his life also. This was the beginning of their departure for a while, as she was creating a new life for herself. He did show no kind of envious behavior around him. Instead, he tried to get along with him cause he knew it would make her content. At the same time, he knew he had to respect their privacy at certain times, so their encounter would always be limited. And it was like that for a while.


Within a few years, she gave birth to a beautiful boy. She was in love again and was excited to be a mother. This event drifted the cousins even more apart. He was happy for her. She entered motherhood with a man she loved and seemed that cared much for her. It inspired him to look for that kind of change in his life. To seek out love and develop a family of his own and be able to share that experience with her. Have their children become best friends in adolescence like they did. However, that never came to be. Love isn't a google search you can easily find. He got even more distant with her. Hardly any time to see each other. As if they were in two different worlds.


Three years have passed, and he finds out she is no longer with the man she claimed to love. Turns out he was more of a punk than a typical wannabe rock star. A coward who sticks to his gaming over his wife, least to say. He wanted to fuck him up. But, at the same time, he saw that she needed him. She had a second child, a baby girl. By the look of her face, it seemed the world was on her shoulders. Postpartum Depression is no joke. So he filled that role the best he could. He would try to take care of the kids whenever he had time. Go visit her at her new house, which was 30 minutes far away from his home. But it was not fair. When they were distant, he had been in many situations where he picked up new responsibilities; a new job, a grandmother to take care of, a strive to maintain a stable financial state where it would keep him away from family time. Unfortunately, it was not the same. They only saw each other when they could. The distance dented their relationship to the point that their conversations would inevitably end tensely.


Thus we fast forward to the moment where she brings out that heinous comment of not being a parent. They met up for a family reunion. A few drinks here and there. The majority of the crowd are all parents except for him. He was the odd man in place, without a seed of his own playing in the toy room. The small group indulges in a conversation about parenting. Suddenly, the conference swiftly shifts from a pleasurable one to a more severe manner. It was the wrong time for him to imprint his opinion on the subject matter. The commentary infuriated her that she let him have it:


"You will never understand because you're not a parent."


That sentence filled him with fury. So much that he couldn't hold his composure and expressed it towards them. He stormed off from the family event and went home. From there, she would not see him for a few months.


As time elapsed, there was a small gathering for her birthday. She was almost happy that all arrived to share her birthday with her. All but one person. Her cousin. She felt incomplete. Sad that she didn't get to see him at the gathering. Her mind began racing, wondering if her comment drove him away from her for good. She didn't let it get to her as she was about to blow the candles. Yet, as she blew them with all her might, out came the waterworks. Though she had the perfect disguise, her family believed she was crying tears of joy for living another year of life. She kept a bright smile as the tears kept dripping from her cheeks.


Later that night, as she finished tucking in her two kids to sleep, she walked to the kitchen to put away the baby bottle in the fridge. That's when she heard a vast *THUMP*


It came from the kitchen door. With hesitation, she slowly reached towards the door handle. Heart racing so quick, she was just about ready to hit anyone that would startle her.


*Opens the door*


She gasps in silent terror. It was her cousin. He looked tired, pale, and a sign of desperation in his eyes. He slowly walked into the house, step by step. She notices he has something wrapped in a grey blanket in his arms. Right before she said anything, he collapsed right on his back, making sure whatever he had on his arms didn't get any ground impact.


"Here, take him," he mumbled slowly.


He gently lifts the blanket to her. And she was surprised to see what was in the blanket. It was a baby boy. She picks him up. About 4 months old, the boy looked roughly like him. They shared the same eye and skin color. The baby even had his nose shape. As she began to caress the baby, she noticed a pool of blood appearing near her foot.


"Oh my god, what happened?!"


She goes near him, with one arm holding the baby and the other looking for the wound. She finds a GSW on his lower abdomen. He quickly grabs her hand, and with tears in his eyes, he whispers,


"Take care of h—him."


He slowly lowers his hand down as he lets go of her hand. He was gone.


She started sobbing unconditionally. It all happened so fast for her. She couldn't scream or cry for help. At that moment, she prayed for a miracle. A wish, a request to God to bring him back. Something to fill the void that she felt inside. And well, that's when she looked at the baby, and he spoke,


"Hey Gaby, it's me."


Written by: G. Miranda

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