My Favorite Cousin is Arrested

I have a cousin that is just nine days older than me. He is one of my favorite people in the world. Growing up, we had many overlapping childhood experiences. His birthday parties would happen just a weeks before mine. His mother would rent the recreation center in the Soundview projects in the Bronx, us kids would run around and play hide and seek and pin the tail on the donkey at the parties, we never really danced. Too young, it didn’t seem interesting. At my birthday parties, my parents would invite everyone to our home in South Ozone Park, Queens. Kicking and popping the dozens of scattered all around inside and outside of the house, we would laugh and play hot potato and musical chairs. Both parties were fun and Manny and I were merry.

When it wasn’t our birthdays, we still saw each other regularly. Manny is on my Puerto Rican side of the family; the heart and soul of my Puerto Rican side is the matriarch, my grand mother. In the summers, my grandma would have have massive pool parties in the house in Castle Hill. My cousins and I would frolic and jump and swim around in the pool. The cloudless summer sky would be blue while the Sun’s rays beamed down on us and made the surface of the pool water glitter from different angles. The delicious aroma of barbecue chicken and burgers filled the air. My Tio Nelson flipped the meat on the weathered and old grill; thick pockets of white smoke flowed out into the air. My Tio Santos would blast salsa and merengue from the stereo. I loved hearing the rhythms of the music, I don’t know why, but even then it felt like family, love and home. I used to bring toy sharks, pirates and ships with us into the water. My cousin and I would play different scenarios where the pirates would become stranded in the middle of the ocean while the ships sank. Confined to just a small life boat, the survivors would cram inside and drift around aimlessly, clinging on for some miraculous rescue or chance landing at nearby island. While this was going on, the sharks would ram the boat trying to capsize it or even leap out of the water and a snatch crew member up in their massive jaws. We’d also play tag, Marco Polo and volleyball in the pool. We raced quite often- I always lost those, not because I am a bad swimmer by any means, they were just always faster. And we’d all compete with each other to see who could hold their breath under the water the longest.

After swimming, we’d hop out and enjoy the barbecue, sitting in plastic chairs on the grass in the backyard and eating hot dogs and burgers off of paper plates. After we ate, we’ll go inside and take a shower to wash the chlorine off us. We’d spend the whole of the rest of night playing “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time” or “Street Fighter II” on the Super Nintendo. Those were great times.

Manny and I also had numerous random playtimes when our mothers brought us both over to visit our grandma. One of my favorite memories with him was when we played “Predator” when we were younger. We both saw the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie and were fascinated by the invisible cloaked alien creature that preyed on people in the jungle. In the game we played, we both acted out being human soldiers in the “jungle” (Tio Santos’ room). I remember it fondly because Manny and I had to use our imagination together to make it work. The Predator is nearly invisible, and we had no one to play him, so we both had to imagine hearing and reacting to the same thing when ever we “spotted” Predator. I let the Predator kill me within just a few minutes of playing the game. I shouted out something along the like of “There he is!” and pretended that the Predator aimed at me with the three laser dots from its shoulder plasma cannon and blew me away. In a flash, I fell and just sat there limp against the wall in my Tio’s room. Manny looked at me expecting me to get up- say that the Predator missed or merely grazed me or something, but I wouldn’t indulge him. I broke character, announced that I was dead and immediately went back to playing dead, my eyes and laughing as he now had to battle the Predator all on his own (I think I understood from an early age that character deaths make good story).

When we were nine, Manny and his parents moved to Puerto Rico. His father Joe had retired and he and my Titi Iris bought a house on the island and wanted to enjoy their retirement there. Immediately my cousin Manny was gone.

 

 

Every year since then, Manny and his parents would come back up to visit at least once in the year; either in the winter to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s or in the summer to go to amusement parks, the beach and huge, and massively fun, family reunions at Bear Mountain. They’d usually stay for a whole month, so we had plenty of time to see them. The two moments that strike me as the funniest from when he stayed over my house during these vacations were first when we defended ourselves from alien abduction and second, when I locked him out my room. With the alien abduction scenario, I had just spent the day watching a tv show about aliens, I think it was “Sightings.” On the show, real life people we claiming to have had encounters of the fourth kind. Aliens rolled up in their space ships, lit the whole fucking house up in their lights and then descended down in these beams, floated, walked to the foot of the bed and creepily stared at the terrified humans with their big ole eyes. They then took the humans aboard their ship and stuck things in ’em… I was fucking scared. Carried away with my youthful imagination, I used to see or feel the presence of aliens all the time; like I would be watching tv on the sofa and imagine that from out of nowhere, an alien head would pop out and stare at me through the living room window. I also saw the long lanky alien limbs in the shadows of the trees in the backyard; the subtle movement of the wind not helping stop the creep factor. It was fucking scary. I confided these fears to my cousin. We decided if the aliens came, we were not going to go down (or up?) without a fight.

Manny and I both slept on my bed when he came over, so this is where we fortified ourselves. During the night, when my parents and older sisters were asleep of course, I devised that we should do something that I saw on tv. We went and grabbed a huge bag of potato chips from downstairs in the kitchen and then opened the bag and scattered the chips all over the dining room floor, the stairs up to second floor, and second floor hallway leading up to my room. The logic was that if aliens did come into the house, they would step on the chips and Manny and I would hear the crunching noise and know when the aliens were outside my door.

For when the aliens did get to the door, we devised combat weapons. Or first weapon was actually spray deodorant. I theorized that the large creepy round eyes of our enemy was their greatest weakness; we would spray the aerosol directly into their eyes as they entered my room, painfully blinding and disorienting them. With our melee weapons, my cousin and I would follow up the attack. The first melee weapon we had was a pair of really sharp scissors; we would stab the aliens right in the eye with these. Our second melee weapon was more unorthodox. Lacking another sharp object, I concluded a bludgeoning weapon would have to suffice. I had a lot of toys laying around my room. Manny and I emptied out one of my book bags and began to stuff the toys inside. Spawn, Batman, Wolverine, the Undertaker, they all went inside the bag. It was made quite heavy. Loosening the straps completely, we gave the toy filled bag a long swinging motion. Holding the straps and swinging the bag over our heads before each blow, we hoped the weight of the toys inside and speed of how fast we were swinging would deliver a concussive blow; similar to that of a medieval ball and chain. Manny and I grabbed our weapons and sat on my bed with the door locked; listening, waiting for any lights to appear from the sky or for the subtle crunch of chips from downstairs, we stayed up all night. We did not allow ourselves to sleep until the sun began to rise; the terrifying dark skies retreating to a luminous summer day.

A few summers after that, when Manny was staying over again, I locked him out of my room. We were both downstairs, he was in the front room playing “Army Men” on the computer while I was watching tv and eating ice cream in the living room. It was late and everyone else was sleeping. Now did I mention I had just discovered masturbation that year? Getting that tingling feeling, I decided it was time for me to take my leave. I finished the ice cream, told Manny good night, went upstairs, locked the door behind me and had a night of exploratory fun…

My sister woke up the next day and said she found Manny sleeping on the sofa, his head reclined and his face pointed straight up to the ceiling. She saw an empty carton next to him and said she thought he had od’ed on ice cream. She woke him up and asked him why he was sleeping on the sofa. He said “Suresh locked me out.” I just told them I had locked the door by accident before I went to sleep. I think they still buy that.

 

 

Our teenage years is when the disparity between Manny and I really began. In our childhood, we were equals. Neither of us had more experience or wisdom than the other. My family stayed in New York. I finished high school, got my first job and dated my first girl friend here. Conversely, Manny finished high school in PR, but never did the other two; and this is where the disparity begins. I love my cousin; he is my favorite and I confide to and am closer to him than any other, but he is stuck in some bizarre form of arrested development. He is great, but his life style is that of a preteen.

Manny is a fully functional adult. He has no learning disabilities or psychiatric condition to qualify himself has disabled. He can learn and work just as well as you or I. But for some reason, he would prefer not to; Bartleby, the cousin. Besides graduating high school, he has not taken any other steps toward adulthood. He does not feel the need nor drive. His father, my uncle Joe, is a Korean War veteran. Joe died several years ago, but I think the family still gets some kind of veteran’s assistance from him.

I was a homebody in high school and passed most of my time playing video games, Manny and I had this very much in common. We would play the newest video games all the time and have long conversations on the phone about our favorite parts of the story and of different plot twists. I would also tell him about the most recent World War II books I read, telling him all about the different battles and tactics that prevailed. It was great having a listening ear. But as time went on, and I began to speak more about girlfriends or the difficulties at work or in college, I realized the conversations became more and more one sided. I was the speaker, Manny the listening ear. I was living my life; working, going to school, dating, moving out of my parent’s house, drinking, smoking weed, partying. I was living life. After he graduated high school, Manny just ah.. ahhhhhhh played videogames.

Now, we’re both 26. Manny never worked a day in his life and never been on a date. I’m really not trying to sound condescending or make it sound like I have all the answers or tell someone how to live their life, but real talk: Manny lives like a loser. He spends most of his days playing video games for several hours, takes a break to watch tv, calls people, eats, shits, and then goes back to gaming till he falls asleep and beings it all over again tomorrow. For someone to be 26 and have so little planning ahead for their future or so little drive is pathetic. He has no foresight. I ask him what career he wants to have, he says something in gaming; I ask him what specifically in gaming he’d like to do, vaguely hints at graphics; I ask him when is he going to start to go to school for it, he says he does not know. This has been going on for years.

My cousin, his sister, Maria offered to hook him up with a job sweeping trains for the PATH system in New Jersey earlier this year. Maria would even allow Manny to live with her until he gets on his feet if he took the job. It pays $35,000 a year with medical and dental benefits. He said no. Imagine the first job you ever had paying you $35,000 and insuring you! And you refuse it!- Dude, you’re 26 with no work experience or advanced education and your sister could hook you up with this job that pays you $35,000 a year and you say no?! What other prospects are out there for you? It’s not like you have anything else going on at the moment. You just sit at home and play video games and watch tv.

Today, November 16th, 2013, was my friend’s funeral at 3pm. He was just 31 when he passed. My Titi Iris is in her sixties. Death can take any one of us when we least expect it and my titi, even though I love her so, is not going to live forever. I worry about what would become of Manny when she dies. He is utterly dependent on her. For him not to make logical connections that he needs to take charge of his own life baffles me. I’ve tried bringing this up to him on the phone. His brothers and sister have too. I have no idea what my Titi Iris’ stance is on this; she is the one enabling him and also all of her other children live on their own and are quite successful, but she seems not to be pushing Manny- no idea why. I revere her too much to dare ask.

I love my cousin, usually when we speak on the phone, we talk about videogames and tv shows. We love Mass Effect, Fallout, professional wrestling and The Walking Dead. Those conversations are great. I love my cousin and am so happy I have someone to share my interest in; but whenever I bring the convo to his future, he just shares vague thoughts about what he’d like to do. I haven’t always had my shit together (coasted around aimlessly for a few years while I was torn about joining the army and also stayed in a deadend job delivering mail until I figured out what I really wanted to do) so I could relate to trying to figure everything out- but I made sure I was at least doing something while I got it together. I told Manny about my tentative first steps and how I made it to where I am now and he just loses all enthusiasm in the conversation and would go quiet until we change the topic.

Today, I called him after my friend’s funeral and was speaking about this essay I have to write for class to get workshopped (I was originally thinking about writing about my friend’s death) when he gradually moved the conversation to his Xbox 360 not being able to connect to one of his controllers and how he called some company to see if they could fix it for him. If only he would show such initiative to his future. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since my friend died. He was only 31, his life was over before he had the chance to do a lot of the things he wanted to achieve. I’m afraid Manny is just letting life pass him by. For all my gentle suggestions that he move to New York, move in with me even, start school or start working, I’ve never once told him that he’s living like a loser. I’m afraid it would crush him or make him hate me, but it is the truth (shout out to Daniel). I’ve tried bringing it up every other way, suppose its time to not hold back.

20 thoughts on “My Favorite Cousin is Arrested

  1. Orhan Gokkaya

    The piece speaks highly about Manny and the narrator. I wanted to know more about Manny, The author states, “We are both 26. Manny never worked a day in his life and never been on a single date.” Is not being on a date a relation to success? Also I think Manny would work if he saw the hardships of life. The problems with your cousin arise when you state, “I love my cousin and am so happy I have someone to share my interest in; but whenever I bring the convo to his future” This sentence gives a good point to the problem of your cousin.
    The author is hiding is true feelings towards her cousin who she loves so much. Manny was competitive when he was young, was there a trauma left on her which shifted her thoughts of not getting ready for the future? You stated, “Today (November 11th, 2013) was my friend’s funeral. He was just 31 when he passed.” How did he die?

    Reply
  2. Vanessa

    [Side note (sorry, Professor): I’m always for being honest, especially with people close to you, but I try to do it in an objective way, keeping in mind that what I think or feel may not always be accurate; so, I would suggest breaking it to your cousin that he is living in a way that needs to change, but evaluate your wording–he may or may not stop talking to you after you call him a loser. I personally don’t know his type of character, so I can only suggest that you think it over.]

    I also have a close friend that I’ve known since I was three, and he’s the same way…25, plays video games, but he goes out with his friends to eat, wasting more of his mother’s money, and always makes excuses about not finding a job. (He thinks he needs to find the perfect job before he would do it. He’s basically treated like a prince by his mother. He is someone I definitely can’t call a loser to his face.)

    With all that said, I definitely was able to relate to your narrator. I think what really helped was all the details that were given about the relationship, the childhood experiences, and personal observations. I could see this being a real human experience for many; for me, I feel helpless when I think of my friend, as if I were actually his sister and that I had some responsibility in his life. Your narrator is actually related to Manny, so perhaps more could be discussed in this piece about the emotional involvement.

    I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It was, however, a strong addition to the piece in that it brought the narrator to evaluate the mortality of his aunt and how that would affect his cousin. I suggest expanding on this more to explore the seriousness of this inevitable fate.

    I could definitely see a consistent voice in your writing; it carries over from your first piece. It plays into an easy evaluation of the narrator’s competent and unguarded character. I suggest changing your title to something more vague, since I think readers will draw unnecessary conclusions at the beginning with the current title. Also, you should take out the parenthetical shout-out to Daniel if you plan to publish it elsewhere (LOL). But good job!

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  3. Diali Montalvo

    I like your explanation of you and Manny’s relationship when you were younger. At first I felt like the examples of your childhood were a bit drawn out but I appreciated them as you began to write about how much you had matured and changed and how different your life had become. I wanted to know about who Manny was because I felt like your opinion of how Manny’s life turned out was a bit biased. It was hard for me to be in agreement with Manny being a loser solely based on what you expressed. A key part of your story was Manny’s move to Puerto Rico. As a reader I was curious if Manny had shared some experiences of the changes he went through moving and the death of his father which more than likely had an impact on his formative years. Might be a reason why he lacks motivation to be a better person. Some sentences read a little funny but overall good job

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  4. Henry Bucket

    On a side note before I begin my “official response.” I’d agree with Vanessa, telling the truth is good, but there are ways to tell the truth without being brutally honest. It’s obvious you love your cousin and value your relationship with him so this probably goes without saying, but think hard about how your going to talk to him.

    I really enjoyed your piece. The detail that you put into the beginning was great; it really drew me in. I almost felt like i was at the pool enjoying the smell of the food and feeling the warm sun on my face (even though I’m in a cold dark room right now). I also liked the bit about laying chips all over the house, because my best friend and I did something similar when we were really little. How pissed was your family when they found the mess? I think that the questions you bring up are really interesting. What is he doing with his life? How can you talk to him to make him understand the importance of thinking about his future? I think that you have created a very relatable piece, especially for a lot of us in an undergraduate class, thinking about what we’re going to do with our own futures. You have picked an excellent topic that relates well with your audience, even if we know what we want to do, we still haven’t “made it” yet so we can all relate in one way or another. I also think that by adding the childhood memories in the beginning you help us to bond with Manny a bit. Enough so that by the time you say that he’s living like a looser we feel for him a bit. We care for the character “Manny” that you created for us and we don’t want him to be a looser, probably a bit of a reflection for how you feel for your cousin. I really enjoyed this piece.

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  5. Kerel Cain

    First thing, using the word merry to describe the feelings you had with your cousin is good because, to me, it’s close to married. And you place the word appropriately to give the reader a sense of a close bond.

    The childhood stories place a significance to your criticism of Manny’s adult life. Calling him a loser for his failures is harsh but its the truth and your opinion reflects upon other readers with similar stories or who know similar people.

    Informing the reader that you wanted to write about your friend that passed away as oppose to your cousin adds more weight to your criticism towards him and non-directly tells the reader that you choose to reflect and help the living as oppose to reflecting on the dead.

    My critique is the masturbation part. It’s has value because it emphasis that you were inseparable until you needed “alone time” but it wasn’t necessary for the piece. Some of the details about your time together can also be cut because the main part of your piece is the criticism of your cousin.

    Lastly the title could be better.

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  6. Alicia Camano

    I enjoyed your piece; the relationship between your cousin and you explains why you are affected by his actions now. The narrator cares about his cousin, which explains why he would like him to get a job. The narrator’s tone in the piece demonstrates to be frustrated and worried about his cousin. This is demonstrated in the last paragraph with, “I’m afraid Manny is just letting life pass him by. For all my gentle suggestions that he move to New York, move in with me even, start school or start working, I’ve never once told him that he’s living like a loser. I’m afraid it would crush him or make him hate me, but it is the truth (shout out to Daniel). I’ve tried bringing it up every other way, suppose its time to not hold back.”
    The narrator explains the relationship of the cousin and him which is beneficial to the reader to understand the relationship. This is effective which demonstrated the credibility of the writer. If I have to add I would like to see more dialogue between the cousin and the author. These will be interesting to read. Other than that you did a good job. I enjoyed reading your piece.

    Reply
  7. Gabriela

    You did a great job at tricking the reader into thinking that your cousin was actually arrested. At least that was my reaction to your title. I like the way you used the work arrested and spun it to describe a state of mind. Your personality is very evident in this piece, more so than in your last because you share very intimate details which help your piece connect more with the reader. I enjoyed your honesty towards the feelings you had of your cousin, and the shoutout to Daniel was pretty funny. I feel like your piece could use more dialogue between you and Manny, this would show the reader more because I feel like you did a lot of telling. Another way to improve this piece is if you narrowed on what message you wanted the trader to take away from this. With the mention of your friends death, it strays the reader to wanting to know more about that. Stick with writing about Manny, I feel like it show cases your emotions and intimate feelings more so than writing about something else. The asides throughout the piece really work. I could almost hear you saying the too which shows that you were able to connect with the reader.

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  8. David Castro

    i think we all know a person like manny. Its sad, and i believe you should of showed not told. you could of included more action that say a lot of manny’s personality rather than just tell us hes a loser with no motivation. i get a feeling that you kind of feel an anxiety looking at your cousin whom you love, destroy himself, but you cannot help him from himself. Hes just like you, hes a reflection of you you both share a similar upbringing but you made it out right, and he is stuck in the same rut. Why? maybe his mother, maybe a certain experience, this all can make this piece stronger.

    Even though you describe him as a loser speaking of your emotion ( maybe yoru anxiety, watching him metaphorically rot) or certain actions make this piece have a stronger connection with the reader rather than just a rant about your cousin.

    also referring to people in our class is just what the professor said before in class. Treat the piece as if its going to get published, dont treat it as something that is specifically for this class.

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  9. Li Huang

    I particularly enjoyed this piece because of its irony and humor. When I read the title I thought your favorite cousin had some sour confrontation with the police. Turns out he was arrested by his laziness, lack of work ethic and dim lighting of life forecast. Manny has been called out for his crime of sluggishness/gluttony. What made me laugh louder than usual were the part where you locked your cousin out to masturbate (LOL) and “…we weren’t going down (or up?) without a fight.” Brilliantly drawn out.
    Everyone remembers the good aspects of their past, especially childhood memories. It’s called “nostalgia.” Even the Edgar Allen Poe must have reminisced with certain aspects of his early days. It’s good to bring it up because it can really revitalize one, the effervescent of one’s soul.
    Alien>Predator

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  10. Sergio Narine

    After reading the piece, I felt as if the writer really didn’t care about Manny because uses his own ideology of success to judge Manny. I have no problem with being brutally honest, but maybe the writer could “throw themselves under the bus” also. I appreciated how the title threw off the reader because the piece was not about the main character’s cousin being arrested by authorities, but how his cousin was arrested by his undiagnosed mental illness or his laziness. The piece was too long and I felt that the information about Manny and the main character was over-emphasized. The voice of the narrator was apparent to the reader because of the writers fascination with science fiction. I thought that this piece handles the time shift well; for example, the beginning the piece sounds as if it was written by a young child, then it sounds as if it was written by a young adult.

    Why don’t we see any dialogue between the two main characters? Why don’t we learn more about Manny’s hobbies aside from the ones that paint him in a bad light? Can you maybe describe how Manny and the main character’s physical appearances are similar or different? I think that if you changed the structure of the piece that the story will have a more emotional effect with the reader. Maybe you can begin with the line, “Today Manny turned 26… or even …One of my friends died today…” then you can narrate the story backwards because the expository paragraph is too traditional for this piece.

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  11. Daniel

    I appreciate the shoutout but it’s kind of inappropriate to the piece to mention another classmate; we’re supposed to be writing these assignments as though they were for the world, not just us.

    Your cousin is an adult, but family, so that makes things complicated. That’s how I relate to this piece. I’ve been on both sides of where you and your cousin are. I think we all know someone who could get their act together.

    I like how you introduce him so positively then develop his character negatively. It keeps me from hating him and makes me sympathize with him, and you for that matter.

    Reply
  12. Josie

    I think that the writer should change the title. I do not think that the writer’s cousin is an interesting topic to write about. I would like to know why the writer cares so much about his cousin. I would like more events from their life. I would like to know why the cousin’s mother and the writer enable the cousin.

    Reply
  13. Amilka Lopez

    Very relatable piece. In this piece the narrator is bothered by the fact that his cousin is lazy. I like the way the narrator expresses his childhood with his cousin and now wants him to succeed in life rather than not being motivated to do anything. Do you think your cousin is depressed? What might have made him feel this way? Do you only want to help him because he is part of your family? Would you feel the same way if it were a friend?

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  14. Deviniti Donnabella

    I enjoyed the content of the story and how you gave vivid descriptions of childhood memories. I didnt feel like the title fit for the piece because I thought that Manny would have had trouble with the police or something, however that was never the case. There are lots of grammatical errors in the piece that need reworking also. For example in the sentence ”kicking and popping the dozens of scattered all around inside and outside of the house…” I don’t understand what you are trying to say here. The word choices you used in some areas can be modified as well. For example in the line ” huge and massively fun. Perhaps reread the piece slowly and fix what doesn’t sound right, or have a friend read it with you aloud.

    I felt like you spoke more about the great childhood memories with Manny way more than him being lazy and not motivated to pursue things. I liked your description of the predator game. You should eliminate the shout out to Daniel because it changes the voice of the narrator and it seems like you wrote this only for one specific audience, our class.

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  15. Nadya Antoine

    I enjoyed this story for what it was. A realistic story. Usually, I would say that it is an utter stream of consciousness, but here, it works. While reading, I felt as if I was an outsider in a fishbowl looking in on life between you and your cousin. This sort of emotional appeal is quite difficult to portray through writing and quite surprisingly, through memoirs. To that, I applaud you.

    My only problem however is the title of your piece. Throughout the whole piece I felt my-self trying to detach any feelings I may encounter because sooner or later I will find out that Manny got arrested. However it was until the later portions of the piece did I catch on to your figurative use of the word arrested. Thus I suggest small hints here and there, to your title, would strengthen the piece emotionally. Words or phrases like “slave to video games” or “trapped in bondage by the X-box” would clarify and connect to your title a bit more.

    Overall, great piece.

    Reply
  16. Krystal Temple

    You did a great job at deceiving me with this title, because the first time I read this I swore that Manny was going to hang out with the wrong crowd and get arrested. The piece started of quite slow to me because in the beginning you were talking about summers with the other half of your family and all of the games you played. (This actually reminded me of the other piece you wrote where you had a long description of games in the beginning as well). During this part of the piece you lost me a little. I feel as if the point of the piece was to contrast you and Manny and I think you could have further developed this without some of the long explanations in the begging. However, I understand that some of this explanation was needed, like the moment when you locked him out of your room to masturbate. This is an important part of the story, because it marks the moment when you discovered sexuality and moved closer towards girls, meanwhile Manny stayed interested in games. I love the connection you made to death at the end, because it shows your personal resolution. You have finally come to terms with the fact that life is too short, and you might need to let Manny know this. However, by your characterization of Manny (which is very strong by the way) I am unsure that he will ever realize this… Great piece!

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  17. Ruket Negasi

    I think this piece could be improved by condensing it a bit. I felt that it was a bit too long and too informative, especially bringing up different childhood memories the narrator shared with Manny. I suggest that the narrator shares one childhood memory shared with Manny and expand on that event. I think the author did a good job evoking the emotions in this piece.

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  18. Joan Infante

    A more subtle title would have been a more enticing way to attract the reader. The details in terms of your relationship with your cousin Manny was a very nice touch, but it could have used a little bit of trimming. I felt the strong connection between the two, no matter how far you guys were from each other. The realization that your favorite friend/ cousin is just letting life pass by, is a hard thing to admit. Keep on motivating!

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  19. Julianne Reynoso

    i loved the shipwreck part of the story and thought that it was a really cute way of adding charm to your childhood. ” Confined to just a small life boat, the survivors would cram inside and drift around aimlessly, clinging on for some miraculous rescue or chance landing at nearby island. ” I loved the imagination of your kiddie adventures and think you did a good job in using details to make them captivating on their own, (much like you did in your first piece as well). I did think it was going somewhere else when Manny was found lying face up and thought he was really dead at first. The story seems a bit polarizing and i do think that’s something to work on. The beginning is awesome, fun, happy times and the end is all sad, lonely, loser. There should be a better way to transition the changes in Manny so that it doesn’t feel like two completely different stories merging.

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