Recently, I friended one of my cousins on Facebook. I use a false name there. He friended me back right away though. I wonder if he knows it is me? It brought up a lot of old memories. I realize I miss him. I didn’t think that I did before.
This man is the son of my father’s next oldest brother. My father is the oldest of 6. However, the five are all half-siblings to him. Anyway, this cousin is less than 2 years younger than me. When we were growing up, he and I competed at everything. Who was fastest? Who made better grades? Who knew more lyrics to songs we liked? Who could pin the other in wrestling more often? It was a constant one-upmanship between us. He was a boy and therefore felt he was superior anyway. I was older and therefore felt I was. It was a no-win situation. It was always done good-naturedly. It was done with love. I loved that boy like he was a physical part of my own body.
My parent divorced when I was 8. Prior to then, we had always spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s houses. This cousin happened to live next door to my father’s parents. I had seen him several days a month for years and years. After the divorce, for a long while, we didn’t go to that grandmother’s anymore. I guess here was badness between those grandparents and my mother. Well, actually, I know there was, but then I was a little kid and didn’t understand. For what was a long time in the life of a child, I didn’t see my cousin. I don’t know why the change came about, but finally, we went to visit my grandparents again. I suppose my sister and I were with my father when it happened. Can’t imagine my mother took us over there. For some reason, it was a school day. I should have been in school, but instead I was kicking around in the yard. Waiting.
When the school bus finally arrived and dropped off my cousin, I was standing in his driveway. Close to the house, not near the drop off point. I may have been nervous. I can’t remember why I would have been waiting so far away. maybe I was trying to surprise him and didn’t want him to see me at first. I was probably 9 years old, who knows how my brain was working. When he saw me, when we really saw each other, it was such a huge moment. We actually ran towards one another and met in the middle of the drive. We hugged and hugged. We must have looked like some cheesy romance movie. But it was genuine affection. We had missed each other so much.
A couple hours later, we were wrestling and rolling around in the dirt. We were racing and we were arguing. We were right back where we had always been. but it wasn’t a bad thing. Sure, it often looked like fighting. But it wasn’t really. It was just us. It was right and it worked. We were very close as children. I remember that little boy. I love that little boy still. He was a very important part of my life. I don’t know if he ever knew that.
As teens, we grew apart. We had nothing left in common. As adults, we moved to opposite ends of the metro-Atlanta area. We must live 60-70 miles away from one another now. We are both married, we both have children. We only see each other at funerals. But I haven’t forgotten him. And I haven’t stopped loving him.