When my little cousin, Xuan, was born, I was excited. He was a beautiful child with big eyes, long eyelashes, and silky skin. I used to gaze at him in his baby carrier for a long time and thought he should have been a girl. One day, I was left alone with him for a short while, when we were in the countryside. Even though I was 12, I thought myself as a big sister. I took him out and bundled him up in blankets. He looked like a pretty doll. I was going to carry him to see little ducks. He might like that. I thought. As we turned the corner, out of nowhere, a crazy dog came running after us. I got very nervous and hurried my steps. But, with Xuan in my hands, I could not running fast enough. As l was looking back at the dog, fast approaching, I tripped. Xuan flew out of my hands and landed face down. He screamed and scared the dog away. When I picked him up, his lips were bleeding. He got a permanent mark on his lip and made his upper lip thicker; I never got to be in charge of him again.
When he got older, he told me, “Sis, I like my lips. It is sticking out and cute.”
“I dropped you when you were a baby. I still feel bad.” I confessed.
“No matter, Sis. I do not remember any of it.”
He was kind and gentle.
He died of brain tumor, at age 18.
It broke everyone’s heart. But, no one talks much about him in my family. Occasionally, when my mom was alone she would tell me, “Poor little Xuan. If he would be alive, your uncle and aunt would have been much happier.”
After they lost their son, my uncle and aunt, adopted a girl and had another son. Now, these two kids are all grown and in their teens. When I saw my aunt during the Chinese New Year, she opened up to me, “Jasmine, I am so sorry about your loss. I know how you feel. You know what I have been through…. Your Kevin is with my child, Xuan. You need to take care of yourself and your husband. With or without a child, make a decision and make sure it is YOUR decision. Do not let anyone force you.” I nodded in my pool of tears.