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  1. A part of me hopes somehow my cousin will be reading this. A part of me wants this to be a confession. So much so that I do not mind telling you I am in Massachusetts. Yet a part of me could never come out right and say any of this, as much as I might want to. I think if we are being honest with ourselves as people, we all have that dream of that "right" person. That person is obviously, not perfect, as they too have flaws just like the rest of us, but still, we have that image of what it would be like to find that right person. The sad truth is, many of us just settle over time for "as good as it gets". I have met the woman of my dreams and when I first saw her, I honestly thought I was hallucinating. No woman could ever look, that good. Yet there she was for my eyes to behold and nothing has ever changed that. I care very little about what my family thinks of me, especially my mother's side of the family in particular. To keep it short, we have nothing to do with these people and these folks put the "D" in dysfunctional (I can explain later if anyone wishes). I do not mean to rant about that side of my family, but you need to understand how it is possible for you to have a grown cousin and not even know it. With that said, there is a diamond in the ruff, as she turned out to be a pretty decent human being, even though I'm confident, more than often they do not nearly let her know that, as they should. I know she deserves so much better. Imagine being at what should be awake, yet has managed to turn into a block party, where the police have to come to the house concerning the noise (twice). You are related to only 10 people there and the other 80+ who are all around the property, including running off into the street, are no way related to you at all and at which point, even neighbors from the surrounding neighborhood are joining in. The food and drink are good, the music is playing, some folks are dancing, you're getting to know all sorts of new people, and you're having a good time all things considering. You've managed to avoid all your relative (the 10 that are there) and you suddenly see a woman who cannot possibly be related to you. To say my cousin is beautiful is like saying the sun is bright, as it would be painfully obvious to even a blind man. But it is more than just her good looks, she's smart, funny, equally a good talker and a good listener. There is a heavenly warmth about her, an electric feeling in the air, the kind the just uplifts you, and nearly makes you believe anything is possible, as though if you could put your mind hard enough to it, you could fly. I can honestly say, no one has ever made me feel like that and still, no one else has. I can still remember, after talking with her for a while, wanting to know her even more, pulling out my phone to get her number, feeling more confident and good about life, and my uncle, 1 of the 9 other people who I am actually related to out of the growing 80+ unrelated strangers, coming over, and saying, "Oh, I see you two met. This is your cousin". Looks of surprise fell on both our faces, I still recall the awkward feeling filling the air, even though we were outside and for me, it lasted only a second. For a second, only for a second, I paused, with the newly founded news, searching on how I was feeling and still trying to read her, and after that second, the fact that she was my cousin, did not matter and I proceeded as though the knowledge that this was my cousin, had never been delivered. In my eyes, all I could see is a profoundly beautiful woman, the kind that no wise man, could ever doubt or pass up the opportunity to know better. I would have been a fool, to walk away from her. I continued talking to her and eventually asked if she'd like to go hang out at the local town fair, which she agreed. Perhaps her sister, who I was aware of (the cousin I was aware of), felt the chemistry or read the growing vibe as we continued to sit together, laughing, and just talking about this and that. Because she soon came over, hovered over us, and actually tried to physically sit between us. This game of musical chairs would play for a while, as each of us would get up to get a drink and reposition ourselves closer, and anytime "AV" sat next to me her sister felt the need to break us apart for one reason or another. I believe my uncle may have noticed at some point because now he was offering to get our drinks, and I suspect it was to keep us parked with her sister sitting smack in the middle. Of course, the atmosphere changed while they were there, and we kept our conversation to simple, "small talk". Sometime later, when I came to pick up "AV" to go to the local town fair, her sister was on the way out (AV planned the time, so we could have some time to talk before going out). We were probably alone for perhaps 5 minutes, before her sister came running back up the stairs, and proclaimed that her boyfriend was going to come over, as opposed to her coming to him. By the time we were going to go to the fair, her sister wanted to come with, and we both looked at each other and at the same time said, "Oh good". We, after all, had no valid excuse to be rude and ask her not come, but it was clear she was going to act as chaperone all night, as everything "AV" or I wanted to do, her sister either thought it would be dull or she couldn't do it since she brought her, then young baby along. We still went on some of the rides, despite the occasional protest from her sister. While on some of the rides, we got to talking without being listened in on. Eventually, AV's sister had her boyfriend come to the fair to take the baby home, which she should have done herself (earlier) since it was dark (night) and cold outside. The last ride, which was simply the "merry-go-round", AV decided to sit with me in one of the smaller carts (not a horse). AV leaned on me, which caused a knee-jerk reaction for me to put my arm around her, and that definitely got a reaction from her sister. Suddenly she too wanted to fit into this small cart and she squeezed herself next to "AV". The whole time I kept my arm right where it was, while AV continues to lean in on me, only now it was more for the purpose to make room for her sister, which pushed poor "AV" in the middle. Although her sister was giving me dirty looks and told "AV" she could rest on her, and much to my surprise "AV" stayed press up against me. After the ride, her sister promptly pronounces that it's time for them to go home. "AV" starts to insist that she can go without her and that she'll catch up (go home later). But her sister continues to insist, and eventually, they both go home. "AV" called me a few times and I called her, but our schedules never seemed to match up. Except for one time when I came to the house again, only for her sister's original plans to go out were once again changed. Our schedules never seemed to match up after that. Soon after, AV started to date a few different people as time passed on. I did too, but I keep in contact through Facebook. What I know of "AV" is she is a strong woman, just as much as she would rather not go it alone. A balance of the two, though she at times she tries to hide it. Just as I know, her family talks so much trash about her and tries to control her, which only puts her into a whirl-wind and spiral. The beauty in her is she is less like them and more of a good soul. She is a free spirit who does not want to be held down, yet wishes to fly and although she is not perfect and she has made some mistakes, so have I (haven't we all?). The men, "AV" ended up dating are real losers and so many times, I wanted to tell her how much more she deserves. But while she was dating, I played the role of the concerned cousin and not the role of the man who wanted to give her so much more out of life. There was one time in particular, where she wanted to get out of a bad spot, and I wish to God, she had sent me the message via her phone and not on Facebook. It was after that, that I seemed to continue to get information, after the fact. There are many times after that, that I learn of other events, and many times I wanted to be there for her. It killed me inside to know this bright light in a dark world, was being attacked from all sides. There have been a few times when I wanted to scream at her family, to the top of my lungs, just as much as I wanted to knock some sense into some of her ex's. Nothing would make me happier, above all, to see her happy. For a while, I thought she had found a path to happiness, with news of her pregnancy. After hearing that news, for a brief moment, I imagined what it would be like if it was ours. To dream of the woman, who seems to have slipped by. Recently, I learned that he wants nothing to do with "AV" or her child, who is due soon. I sent her a simple message, again reminding her that if she ever needs anything, and I do mean anything, she need only ask. But I think we've spent so much time and space apart (playing the caring cousin from the side), that she'll politely say, thanks, and never speak up. A part of me, a big part of me, want to do more than be the caring cousin, which I have been led to play. There is still that bold, confident me, who wants to defy the social norm and try to sweep her off her feet. I want to provide for her, with all the things, I know he is not providing for her now. I want to make sure her child grows up secure, safe, and loved. I want to spend my day, shopping for baby supplies and not just the casual gift, but shower her with everything she could ever need. Not just a few simple clothes or diaper, I want to furnish her nursery. I want to be there for every doctor visit, including in the delivery room, holding "AV" hand, so that she knows, she will never be alone, and someone is there by her side, standing with her, always, and I want the chance to love her, like all the men before, should have, the fools, all of them. I want her happy and I want to be whatever she needs me to be.
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