Despite popular belief Wolverine can take The Hulk.

December 30, 2010
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My cousin Jacob had always really frightened me, with his shocking height of 6'4” which he always adorned in black and his ever changing dyed hair and his mouth out of which it seemed no words came. He never made the effort to show up when our families went skiing, he would just leave, not even using a lame excuse. I had known him all of my life but he was like a crow, dark, cold, and only showing up when there was something in it for him.

The day he turned 18 he was gone from his parent’s house like a fading echo. His father is a Jehovah Witness Priest, meaning the family has really strict rules. Jacob hated rules, the only thing he seemed to ever like was rebelling. His father was so furious with Jacob he wasn't allowed near the house. We all shoved Jacob away because we were either scared or intolerant of him. He faded from our minds, and slowly though not completely from our hearts. Little did we know soon he would need us to keep him alive.

Then the night we got the call, the night I will never forget. Jacob had been doing drugs with his friends. When they were high, somehow Jacob was hit in the neck with a baseball bat damaging his spinal cord. His “friends” didn’t rush him to emergency room when he blacked out, like they should have, no they left him in his parent’s yard at 2 in the morning for dead. The result of this incident is he is now paralyzed from the neck down, will never walk again, has slurred broken speech, and the doctors suspect that he will only live a few more years. The worst part is that if he had been driven to the hospital immediately when he black out, the outcome of that night would have been way less severe. He is only in his 20’s and has come closer to death then most, and survived. I realized then that he would have died and I would have never really known him. I was disappointed in myself for letting fear take over my opinion, and knowledge of my cousin. He was my own blood yet he was a stranger.

The heat it seemed consumed the air, and my grandma’s pond appeared to be boiling over it’s edges, the day I saw Jacob for the first time in a while and decided to finally talk to him. I had never talked to him, I mean really talked to him so when I saw he was sitting in my grandma’s garden staring out at the pond with obvious boredom showing on his face, I knew it was my chance. He was alone, no one was even close to him. I walked over to his wheel chair, tense with anticipation, but when he saw me coming over to him his whole face brightened.

“Hi Jacob,” I said shyness overtaking my voice. I sat down in the grass by his side, fiddling with the blades of green.

“Hey Austen. I hear you were reading some old comics,” he replied, interest tugging at his lips.
“Yeah I am. The Hulk ones are okay but I prefer Wolverine to the rest because his story can have many outcomes, and cause he can kick some butt,” (not the word I really used but...)I fold a piece of grass under my finger and began to rub it together, it’s toughness soon giving away to become soft.
“You are so wrong, Hulk is the best, because of how people view him for what Hulk looks like not who he is,” Jacob said, acting like a smart a**.
“But Wolverine’s story has some of the best archenemies. Does Hulk have ones of his lovers killed on his birthday every year? No, he doesn’t,” I retaliated, smiling smugly to myself.
“True but Hulk has more emotions then just anger, unlike Wolverine. Giving him a more personal story,” Jacob said fake sighing as though he was disappointed in me.

“Not true,” I said letting my ego take over.

The rest of the conversation was a fight of the egos but that was all it took, it was like I had put the final piece in a bridge and I could finally cross it. I sat next to him for hours talking only about comics and video games but to me that was enough. He was happy because for the first time someone besides his immediate family had talked to him not out of pity but because they wanted to. For the first time I finally came to understand Jacob, why he rebelled against his family. All he wanted was attention. He got it, he finally had all the attention you could ever want, but it was because he has to get suctioned every half ‘n’ hour, has a huge wheel chair, and will never walk again, and has the appearance of pale skin sinking away into brittle bones.

Just sitting there arguing over whether Wolverine could take The Hulk in a battle, and if Left 4 Dead was comparable to Resident Evil, built a connection between us. It was like we had both been given a clean slate. No past judgements, and no fear. I realized how little freedom he has, that he can’t even go get himself a glass of water without asking and waiting for it. Or how it matters what side he sleeps on. His life is filled with many rules that if broken might result in death.
It’s amazing that despite all of his struggles he wants to help, he wants to be there. He travels to schools to show kids what a outcome of using drugs might be so they hopefully don’t end up like him. He always makes the effort to go to every horse show his sister participates in because he wants to be there, to make up for how much of her life he shoved aside before. His dream right now is to go to college, one of the many things he loathed with a burning passion before the accident. I plan to be there on the day he graduates, because he can do anything he wants to do no matter how steep of a mountain he must overcome. What happened to him is sad, but it will never hold him back.
Once Jacob was the black sheep of my family, now he is the shining knight. I have learned a lot from Jacob, and I will never use drugs because it feels like it would be an insult to everything he is now. I learned to tell people what they mean to you because tomorrow may never come. Jacob has an expiration date that is coming very soon and I want to know him for who he is, I want to forget that figure he once was. Whenever I see him now I try to learn about him and take his mind off of what will never come for him. Jacob is my role model and I want him to know that before it’s too late.

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