I have 2 male cousins roughly about my age. With that said, we can conclude that all our lives are destined to be revolved with comparisons at a certain age (can she walk, talk, ride a motorcycle, etc already?) or certain result of an important exam (how many A’s does he has last time?)

Me and another cousin always took turns coming up on top which leaves another cousin last.

He’s a bit slow.

I do not mean this in a disrespectful way. He is an extremely slow person – in his talk, his walk, his everything.

I did not know that he existed until I was about 10. He moved back home to Perlis after spending most of his time in Kuala Lumpur. His family was in some sort of trouble I assumed, as they arrived late at night with nothing much but clothes and important documents packed in a white wagon on hinges with everything on the verge of collapsing down.

I did not understand the situation at that time. All I can remember was that it was very late and my parents are helping them to find a house to rent and unpacking several boxes.

Mother gave them pots, pans, plates, glasses, pails, utensils and Father gave them some money. The house was a small hut situated near a Chinese school, very close to the main road. It has two bedrooms and a small kitchen. The family has 3 children too small for their age.

They’re your cousins. Be nice. I remember Father told us.

We always visited them. We would go to the house several times every week. I knew that the uncle started a small business making ‘roti canai’. Father always insisted that we paid for our portion (For God’s sake you just started!) and the uncle would refuse it with all his might (No.It’s the least that I could do.) It would go back and forth and Father would gave up. This prolonged for several years.

They had a very hard beginning and the slow cousin had it worse.

He didn’t know how to read until he was 12. He was really thin, small, short, dark, stuttered every time asked by the teacher and never once raised his hand in class. He was picked by the boys so he had the girls laughing during his spare time. Shy and hunched, he will go back home with his clothes hanging by the thread or bleeding nose or missing his books, bag or shoes.

The thing about him is that he is so easy to like. He respects people, kind and honest. He will listen to you as if you are the last person he will ever talk to on Earth and he will genuinely help anyone although he doesn’t have much. Also, he would rather starve himself than steal although the bullies threw his food to the birds and stole his money.

But that was 12 years ago. Now he’s married and has 2 beautiful daughters. He did not stutter anymore, grew 10 more inches and has his own business.

Now he visits my parents along with his small family with his new car chatting merrily about his daughter’s new accomplishments (he has very smart children) and how proud that he is to be married to his wife and how thankful he is to have this opportunity to thank my parents for all that they’re done to his family that night when every single relative closed their doors to them.

He remembered.

What about the other cousins? The ones who got beaten at their own game?

Pity. They’re too slow.

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