My Cousin

My Cousin

Kelvin Martinez, Literary Journalist

I was around my school, walking home. I was on Broadway and 139th Street. It was sunny outside. There were a few cars, but not a lot of traffic. It was a quiet afternoon.

My good friend walked up to me. He is a young black man with an afro, and he was wearing his school uniform. I had known him for a couple of years, and we had always been close.

He said “Kelvin, do you know what happened to your cousin?”

I was surprised. I said “No.” In my mind, I wondered What is he talking about…

His face looked worried, and my heart jumped to my feet because it made me feel scared.

Then, he told me. “Your cousin got shot.”

I broke down. My entire body turned off, and I could not move, I was so sad. I loved my cousin. This cannot be real, I thought.

I remembered playing basketball together with my cousin. We used to play in the school park. Sometimes I would win, sometimes he would win. He was competitive and he also liked to play around with me. He used to say to me “get big, little boy.” It was teasing, but with a lot of love.

I also remembered when he and I played video games all night together, with the air conditioning on, and lots of snacks. We played 2K, Fortnite, GTA, and more. We ate sandwiches, Takis, Arizona drinks, and brownies. We used to play against each other in Fortnite and sometimes with each other against other players. It used to make me laugh, and my heart wanted to bust out of my chest and I had so much energy because I was so happy to be around him.

Then I wanted to find out more about what happened to my cousin. Hearing about it made me feel a lot of emotions. I am going to figure out who did it, so I can find them. I want to hurt them like they hurt my family.

My close friend’s brother was good friends with my cousin. That same day, I went to see his big brother to find out what happened.

He said “Kelvin, your cousin got shot in the wrong hood near a store.” He told me there were four gang members that killed my cousin. My cousin was in the wrong hood at the wrong time. He was just going to a party.

This made me break down again, day and night. It was during school, in 7th grade, and I didn’t tell anybody because every time I bring it up it made me feel really sad and start crying. Every day when I was at school, I felt really depressed and like I couldn’t talk to anyone.

I felt sad, and I also felt so angry that I almost blacked out, my body was shaking with anger that built up until I cried tears. People killed him for no reason. I would have taken a bullet for him, but I wasn’t there and I couldn’t help him.

The people who killed my cousin went to jail. There were cameras that caught them doing it.

I went to the trial. I traveled there with my close friend. It was really far away. The courtroom was a big room with the judge and a lot of family members, and the people who killed my cousin. The room was cold with bright lights, and felt tense.

During the trial, I felt really sad and angry, especially when my cousin’s mom was talking. She lost her son for no reason. It was really stupid to take his life out of this world.

I just now got through this, around June of this year. Talking to friends and some teachers have helped me feel better and not always feel sad.

For other people who go through something like this, I want them to know that you have to tell yourself that you will get through it. There will be people here for you, like my good friend was there for me. He talked to me every single day and would be with me all day every day to make sure I was okay.

This is my first time writing about my cousin, and I want it to be about his memory. People should know my cousin was loving and would always have your back no matter what.

My cousin’s legacy is loyalty and respect. He used to respect others as a person, no matter what. He would want the world to be respectful, too.