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I generally consider myself to be a little lonely in the family department. My father, stepmother, and baby brother moved back to the Philippines two years ago—almost 9,000 miles of flight away from me. My older brother (and best friend) is moving to Ohio, for grad school. And I live alone in a sleepy city in New England.
When I came here it was because of the quiet and calm it afforded. I wanted a place to retreat, where I could sulk or celebrate or create new memories from nothing. A place far from the gunshots that rang out in my old neighborhood, in the crumbling house that sat at the edge of a crooked cobblestone street, squeezed between the decay of the ghetto and houses too dilapidated to gentrify.