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He was big and strong, but it made his hugs extra warm. He was always late to my birthday parties, and he never had a gift with him, but when he did show he would scoop me up in his massive arms and promise me an extravagant shopping spree at Toys ‘R Us. He was loud, and he never passed up a chance to speak his mind, but I found his ability to openly share his opinions admirable. He always seemed to be tired, but if he was in a good mood he would cuddle me close and stroke my hair. He called me his favorite niece, even though I was his only one. He was my uncle, and I absolutely adored him.

I always knew Uncle Nate had issues. He was a recovering addict, had been in and out of jail, and hung out with shady people. He still loved me, but he loved his drugs too. He never came around much when he was high, and even if he had I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. At that young age, to me he could do no wrong. He was family, and there was no giving up on family.

This past summer, everything changed. There was a break in at my grandmother’s house. TV’s, checkbooks, and credit cards were all taken, and the house was left in disarray. Everyone in my family had a gut feeling who it was, but I refused to believe it. It couldn’t have been my Nate. Not my uncle. He had made plenty of mistakes earlier in his life, but that was all over. He was getting better, or so I thought.

The disappointment hit me more than the shock when I found out my uncle, the man I had trusted my whole life, had admitted to stealing from his own mother. She came home and told me that he was in a bad relapse. I was not to answer any of his phone calls, or let him in if he showed up at the house.

I was gutted. The uncle that scooped me up in his arms, spoiled me rotten, and called me his favorite niece, was gone. He’s been replaced with a selfish, greedy, monster, and I may never trust him the same way again.

It’s been a few months now since I’ve seen or heard from Nate. I wish him the very best, but I don’t think I’ll ever see him again. And the strange thing? I don’t miss him.





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