It was one summer day after the devastating time of quarantine. I was getting myself ready to get picked up by someone named Moises, 32, from the Bronx, NY – to go to the lake with my ex’s family. To be clear, he is my ex’s – cousin boyfriend. This is the first time I get to meet him and thought it would be awkward. I get the text that he is downstairs waiting for me so I start heading out. I open the door and dab him up, or in other words, greet each other. As we start riding he noticed that I’m somewhat of a quiet person so he starts having a conversation with me. As we talk, we noticed that we have similarities together, he loves the sneaker game, clothes, knows the true New York lifestyle, and all that. This is what sparked our relationship. More into the ride, we somehow got into the real talk. I was 18 at the time and was clueless about my future. He took notice as more as we talked and started to mentor me from the beginning.

From the start of that day, he would talk to me here and there. He’s what defines a friend to me. A friend I never had. I noticed that when you surround yourself with people older than you, they have values and lessons to teach you. One day, he invited me to go eat with his friends after car shopping with them. I felt grown and cool with them. During the car shop, he noticed how I was looking at these cars as a kid so he came up to me and taught me how the car business works to keep note once I get older. Something I was never taught. No one in my family even owns a car so he knows how it is to grow up as a first-generation in this country. He motivates me. His own friends too. They were all teaching me values in life and mind you, that was the first time I met his friends. Reality hit me at that point making me have standards, priorities, become independent, responsible, and so on.

To this day, it’s always a conversation about the future and advice. He made me realize how important it is to have a father figure. Moises overall is important to me. He’s a true friend and shows how caring he is from the first day. I see him as a role model or a second father to me. He’s the reason why my mindset and standards have completely changed from last year to now. I see myself as more mature, grown, and emotionally stable. I truly appreciate him and sometimes think about the butterfly effect, how would I be if it wasn’t for that one car ride with him from last summer.