My cousin, the cousin, the youngest, the twig off the branch of the family that we no longer get along with very well, for those of you wondering, is in our fair town for the night. He has a friend here, and came to town last year for Homecoming and is repeating himself. My mom arranged it, and I was all for it. After all, we spent all of our weekends together when we were little.
I was born in 1980, then came my brother along with our cousin in 1985 (one month apart), and I felt out-of-the-loop. Too young to enjoy looking after the babies, and too old to really enjoy their baby games. I was the odd one, until Punk Rock Boy was born, in 1989. I was nine, and it was wonderful to have a baby to tote around and dote on and pretend with. He was so smart, too smart. He talked in complete sentences before he said a single word. He was chattering away in full paragraphs before he could walk. He was special, and I love him.
It's different now, because we are older. He's in that weird phase, the one where you dress up in funny clothes and wear black eyeliner and dye your hair funny colors with strange shaved patches. He's very pretty. I'll show you a picture later, but for now you should just believe me. He's gorgeous. I didn't know what to say to him.
I remember being seventeen and around my relatives, and it was irritating. If they weren't asking me about my plans for the future or my classes, they were asking me about... well, that's pretty much all they asked me about. In particular, I remember PRB's mom grilling me about my choice of college. I would start to answer her only to have her turn her attention elsewhere. These are the questions to which we are bored by the answers. I don't want to be that older relative asking questions about the most boring, most paperworky part of his life, and yet I couldn't stop myself. It's a sign of getting old, I'm sure. Forgetting how to communicate with people only a few years removed from your age. I was faltering, flailing. I felt like the most boring person on earth.
And then I admitted it to him, and we laughed about it and he understood, and things got better. I want him to stay with us more often, I want to have the same connection with him that we had when I was fourteen and he was five. I want us to be normal. I want to shed this part of me that doesn't know what to do with a teenager, because that part of me makes me older than I am.