Written on March 24th, 2011
This story is long but it is 100% true. If you need inspiration or context in the question of loving your cousin, please read both chapters and then comment. I understand the turmoil you are going through. Maybe my story, posted here, may help you!
We grew up together, one summer at a time, she from Saskatchewan, me from British Columbia, Canada. Every summer her family would come to the coast to keep up with family and camp, visit, water ski, and explore the world of our provincial camp grounds week after summer week. I guess I first noticed her as more than just a first cousin when I was 15. She is 3 years younger than me so, yes, that would have made her 12. As we grew up together, each summer after summer, I felt stirrings for her. Yet I "knew it was wrong" to love her. She was my first cousin, and our families are Mennonite Bretheren, a deeply religious, fundamentalist sect of Christianity. Summers came and left us, each a year older and more aware of the opposite sex.
I was 15 when I reached puberty and, although she didn't notice me doing so, I would stare at my "skinny kid cousin" that summer, wondering why it was so difficult to stop watching her and how closely I was drawn to her. I felt quite guilty about it and busied my self with my other family away from her. The following summer there was a family reunion at my family's house. She was there, as was all the rest of the family. When I saw her I was staggered by the change in her body. She had curves I had not noticed before; she was becoming a woman. I immediately felt drawn to her wih a drive and determination I had never experienced before. I wanted this girl to be mine, and I hoped that she would want me too. On one certain day of the reunion, she and I were in the bedroom I shared with my older brother. We were just lounging around watching the small black and white TV Dad had set up there us kids. We were alone but sitting with an open door to the hallway. I wanted to be completely alone with her, so I got up and closed the door. I still remember how good she smelled and how pretty she looked dressed in light summer clothes. I felt a growing, new desire for her and a sense of puppy love for her. I pushed up close to her, leaned in and kissed her. To my amazement, she pulled back momentarily, smiled broadley, then leaned in and kissed me back. I fell in love with her that day. My skinney kid cousin from Saskatchewan had stolen my heart.
The next summer I became more and more inraptured with her, and the summers that followed. When I was 18, and no longer living with my parents, I knew that she was visiting at my family's home in Burnaby. I was living in a shared rental with two roomates, I worked at a gas station and got around on my Honda motorcycle. It turns out that she was sleeping in a tent trailer in the back yard. I had called her to let her know that I might drop by to see her that evening. There was no clue in her mind that I meant late at night and without "parental supervision." I coasted my motorcycle to the back gate and dismounting, snuck across the yard and slipped into the tent trailer. I spent the next hour being a boy who was trying to be a man, attempting to woo her. Although our kisses were real, and our passion was genuine, she refused my advances beyond the clumsy gropings of two kids with libidos, and we each left the encounter, me out the tent trailer door, both our virginities in tact.
The next summer, as we had both were becoming adults, our desires grew. Her mother had died that year, the same year I turned 19. She came to the coast without her mom for the very first time. In her heart, even after the loss of her mom, she knew she had to come back to be with me, even if just for the short time the summer visit offered us. I was working as a bartender in downtown Vancouver and owned my own car. My relationship with my family had gone downhill because of our differing religious points of view. I would drive to the house and my love and I would sit in the yard, talking, laughing and just looking at each other, grinning and flirting. She seemed so shy but she would not leave my side as we sat on the lawn together, in the summer heat, daring to touch our fingertips together, furtively, looking around before-hand. We did this now under the watchful eyes of my mother and father who somehow knew that our feelings for each other were more than "cousinly."
I phoned her on a Friday in the August of that year and asked her if she wanted to go on a day-date with me. The next morning I swung by and picked her up and we spent the day up Grouse Mountain starting the occassion with the gondola ride to the top. I wanted to impress her. I felt the mountain would do the trick. We enjoyed the day as only two kids, so much in love with each other could. I was on the top of the world with my sweet cousin, holding hands, walking down shadowed pathways, stopping to steal a kiss here and there, and afterwards, all walked out and tired, we sat down at the Grouse Nest restaurant for lunch. I knew that I wanted her but more-so, I knew that I loved her and had since she kissed me three years earlier. How wierd was that!? I was in love with my first cousin. I felt afraid and thrilled at the same time. It was one of the best days of my life, the best day I had ever known to that day for sure. After the long summer day on the mountain we descended back into the city on the way back to normality. I wanted her so badly. I knew she wanted me too, but how much and to what degree were certainly mysteries to me. I asked if she would like to go back to my apartment to see how I lived.
She said yes.
We spend the rest of the evening in loving embrace, doing it all. No, not all. I was very ready to make her mine for ever when she pleaded to me, "Please no! I want to be a virgin when I get married." It was a thunderclap moment. I could have taken her there and then, but she said no. To make her mine I would have to make her my wife.
She went back to Saskatchewan that autumn to return to high shool, to finish grade 12, and I remained in my life unsatisfied and restless. I knew that I loved my sweet cousin; that was that. For weeks we would talk long distance over the telephone for hours at a time. She would giggle and I would tell her that I really wanted more, to be with her. She said that she wanted me as well. One day her father, overhearing our conversation remarked saying, "He is a little too attentive for a cousin, don't you think?" I finally came to the conclusion that I really wanted to be her husband at the tender age of 19 approaching 20 years old. I got busy on my old '56 Morris Oxford, spending my fortune on new tires, radiator, new front end and all the required repairs to drive to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Finally, by early October, the car and I were ready. Well, my car was ready to go, but I was now broke. I needed money for the expidition and I knew where to go to get a loan.
So, on a rainy autumn morning I drove my car to my Mom and Dad's house and announced that I was prepared to drive to Saskatchewan and elope with my cousin. I told them that I planned to marry her and I would be honourable in all respects bringing her back to Vancouver as my new bride. I then told my Mom and Dad that I needed to borrow $1000 from them to make my dream come true. I finished speaking and just sat there watching my parent's faces. My mother's face drained white while Dad's rapidly turned a very deep and angry red.
"You will not marry your cousin! You will never think of her again, either! It is a sin to even consider what you are thinking!" my Dad bellowed. I protested that I loved her, to which he replied, "If you continue in this path you will be disowned by us, cut off, and you will never be welcome in this house again! Now leave!"
I stood up and left the house to the sounds of my Mother's sobs in the back ground. I was angry - so very angry. Wthout this help from my parents (and their blessing, I suppose) I could never go get my love. And a Canadian winter was closing in. I stood on a hill near my apartment later that day and swore and oath that I would "get even" with my father and that I would hurt him terribly as he had hurt me. Yes, I would seek my revenge, and I knew just what to do. I embarked on a streak of revenge against my religious parents. I was so bent on this pursuit that I walked away from my relationship with my cousin-love. I actively went out, sought out and married a woman outside of my race and married her the following autumn. My cousin, crushed by my abandonment and by the recent death of her mom moved on without a word to me and finished high school. She started up and broke up with a boyfriend or two, and finally ended up enrolling in a one-year program at a Bible school on the coast. She never stopped thinking of our young love even as she married a "suitable husband type," had two children and carried on without me. She moved to Calgary, AB. I softened in the years following. I too had two children, and they are almost the exact age of my cousin's kids. I never forgot about her over those years and anything I heard about her came second hand from the "Family Letter" or by word-of-mouth from from others in the family. I moved to Victoria, BC with my first wife, and live there still today, now with my second. If this were the end of this account, it would be a terrible and disheartening story for those who also love their cousins, for any and each of you who have or will read it. But just wait....
My Father, the same man who kept my love and I apart, died in February 2010. The family arranged to bury him and have an "after interment" service and reception at a church in Vanouver. All the family came. Cousins, uncles, aunts and friends. As I walked across the paved parking lot to the church entrance I saw my mother speaking to a woman, a blonde, about 50 feet away. I could not see who she was talking to, I guessed another well-wisher. Mom looked up and saw me. She called over to me and said, "David, do you know who this is?" The blonde turned to face me and my body froze in its tracks. I stopped breathing, I could not think! There, facing me, after a 38-year absence was the woman of my young dreams, my cousin-love! She walked to me and hugged me saying, "Hello stranger!" Her scent filled my soul and I held her closely to my heart. She was trembling so hard I had to hold her up or she would have sagged to the ground. After a short eternity of bliss we broke our hug, regained our composures, remembering the nature of the meeting: that to say good bye to my father. An overwhelming sense of irony struck me. The very man who forbade our love died and thus facilitated our reunion.
The Service and Reception droned on that afternoon. I caught glimpses of her here and there. I was there with my wife so I could not be too obvious in my seeking after her. Suddenly, there she was, walking up to me, standing alone in the middle of a crowd of well-wishers and coffee-swillers. She approached me and, once again, hugged me. Again I was drunk with her scent, the creak of her leather jacket swamped my senses as I threw all caution to the wind, kissed her neck, and wispered, "It has always been you!" She pulled back her head, smiled her ancient smile I had loved since childhood and she hugged me again, kissing my cheek softly and very warmly. "I have never forgotten you, David." she purred to me. I stepped back and I asked her, "Are you happy?" She thought for a moment and replied, "I would like a do-over," as her bore a painful look that cut into me. I had to leave the reception to take Mom home. Just as we were about to leave, I gave her my secret email address on a slip of paper. She wrote hers on the bottom of the slip, tore it in half and taking mine, gave me hers. I left her presence again, just like I did 38 years earlier, but I knew that it would be different this time, that I would do all I could, everything in my power to give her the do-over she was asking for. I tapped off an email to her a few days later, her in Cagary, me in Victoria. I spoke of love, fond memories and our futures. Since that day our love has bloomed and we are now equally and deeply in love.
We see each other about once a month, her flying in or me flying there, and make every moment count. We live 500 miles apart but we text all the time and talk on the phone several times a day. We are planning to move in together, probably on the coast, probably before this Christmas. Yes, we are in love. We share all the fears that others do, like how do we tell our kids our reasons for doing what we are doing. It is our turn for happiness, and nothing could be more right! Please do not despair over the distances or the years that you and your cousin-love are separated by. Never give up! The love between two cousins is unmatched in its purity and valour. Yes, this long distance thing and the "how/what do we tell the family (or do we care to tell them anything)," questions are very hard on us too, buit we have a goal, first to divorce our "mistake" spouses and then the two of us will marry, perhaps as we should have done 38 years ago. Our goal keeps us centered! Never give up. If you love each other, seek each other.
You will win. We have. :-)