Lovin' My Cousin
Love is what it is and does what it does, and I knew at a very early age that I loved my first cousin, T. Though we were born in the same town, we would only see each other during the summers or during holiday breaks after my dad and mom moved the family 900 miles north to Jersey, while T and his family remained in Alabama. I couldn’t wait to head South; the South allowed me to break boundaries that others would dare not...it flamed my passion…it was my escape…because I knew I would be able to spend time with T.
When we were kids, T would take me for rides on his motorcycle. We were young teens, maybe even pre-teen, and we’d race the freight trains, crossing over the tracks in the nick of time. I’d hold T tight, pressing my young breasts into him…I never wanted to let him go. I was scared on those rides, yet deeply exhilarated, and deep down inside I knew he’d protect me, no matter how close those trains came to us. I felt his heart beat wildly with mine in a strange yet wonderful synchronicity. After the rush of adrenaline subsided, he’d always look back at me in his rearview mirror, a look that would last a moment longer than usual…in that instant I saw forever; I knew we would always have something special between us. To this day, I find the thundering of a train sacramental because it connects me to T…he instilled in me a sense of romantic adventure that continues to stay with me to this day. We were risk takers…we weren’t afraid…we could outrun anything that came our way. I longed to tell him how I felt, but I was afraid.
T is four years older than I, so as I neared the end of my teen years, it became quite obvious that we had feelings for each other. We spent as much time as we could together whenever I visited. There were so many times I wanted him to take me in his arms and kiss me, so many times that I wanted to sneak into his room to make love to him. When T started playing in a band, I went with him to the club where he played. T was the musician I always wanted to be and he knew how to play my heart, singing directly to me whenever he was on stage, especially when the band sang “Dixie Chicken” by Little Feat. He made me feel so special. One evening, after his final set, we were ready to head home when he leaned over to me and said, “Let’s make love.” And we did…right there in the backseat of his car.
Before the days of email and cell phones, the only way we could communicate was via handwritten letters, which I relished holding in my hands, reading word for word his thoughts in his own handwriting…it added an authenticity that can never be captured through today’s technology. Our letters expressed our love; he was quite the romantic and I fell in love with the power of words, which explains why I’m an English teacher today. One day, one of my letters came back to me, and written on the back was a note from my aunt, T’s mom, pleading with me to end our relationship because it would hurt the family, especially my father, a tough as nails military man with no tolerance for any kind of misbehavior. People feared my father. But T and I didn’t let this stop us from making love to each other whenever I visited. We just became more careful. It was difficult as we grew older because we both got involved in other relationships. When he married, I was heartbroken, even though I was engaged. But as fate would have it, my engagement ended when my fiance found one of T’s letters in my purse, describing how he was going to lick every inch of my person (it was just after Christmas, and I had just returned from seeing T in Alabama. A few weeks later he called me from the airport to come pick him up...he flew up to see me, and slipped his letter in my purse). I was never so happy in my life to be caught because I truly did not want to get married at the age of 22. But the sad thing was that once my fiance read T's letter, he confronted me and told me T had to leave, so I put him on a bus to get back home...it was heartwrenching. I was in my last semester of college, and after T left, I found out I was pregnant with his child, but I never told him (I will be making this confession to him very soon though). Sadly, I couldn't keep the baby and my fiance and I said adios...he knew it wasn't his because we hadn't been intimate in the time fr
Sometime in our 30s, we lost touch. And I was devastated. T seemed to drop off the face of the earth. And I suffered insurmountable turmoil and despair in not being able to find him. I searched for him. I called his old numbers. I wrote letters to his old addresses. I prayed. I cried. I felt as if a piece of me were ripped away. It hurt. And it would be years before our cousin M informed me of the misfortune that had befallen T. M looked me straight in the eye and said, “T needs you. You’re the only one who can help him.” The profundity of that statement stunned me to my core. I heard T was back in Alabama, trying to get his life back together, but I had no contact information. By then I had divorced and T had separated though his wife would die of an overdose. And I had no way of connecting with him. It would be years before we’d connect again. I left it up to the universe to bring us back together somehow. But as the years passed, I began to lose hope, so I married again, hastily.
Two years ago, while I was visiting my father and his wife in Alabama, T’s mom passed away. I knew T would be at the funeral, but I wasn’t sure what to expect, and when I saw him, all of the feelings I had for him came rushing back. I hollered at him (nicely), asking where he had been all these years. We hugged but kept our distance because not only was my husband with me, but T’s girlfriend was beside him. Before the service started, T slipped me his phone number and address and I responded in kind. After the service, he hugged me tightly, promising to stay in touch…which he has. And now with email and texting, we stay in constant contact. Finally, over Christmas break of 2009, we made love after all these years, and most recently over Easter break. I can’t help what I feel for T; he is the love of my life. I plan to move to Alabama in the next year so that we can be closer. Of course, we are both concerned about family finding out but I just know that I can’t live without him in my life; he’s my soulmate, my one and only, my blood and my strength. Someday, when the time is right, I will marry him.