When I was 28, a series of life events lead me to move back in with my parents for the summer. I had left a boyfriend, quit a job, traveled around Europe for a bit, and, upon returning- found myself with no money to call my own. It was, by coincidence, the same summer my cousin also moved in with my parents- he was 24 at the time and had a summer job in Colorado, miles away from his college in Missouri. My cousin and I waved at my parent's RV pulling out of the driveway as they set off for four months of touring, leaving the two of us alone in the house.
That was the summer I dated my cousin.
Not literally, of course. That's gross. But we were both broke and single, with no real friends- and really, we only had each other to hang out with.
"What should we do for lunch?" My cousin asked this around noon on a Tuesday, the two of us in our swimsuits, relaxed on lounge chairs, downing a six-pack of beer in the backyard. My days were spent looking for work (read: sleeping in, watching TV, drinking) and my cousin was putting in roughly 15-20 hours a week at his job. We had more time on our hands than an inmate convicted to life in prison.
"I dunno," I slurred, adjusting the straps on my bikini. "Sandwich?" I rolled over. "Could you rub sunscreen on my back?"
"Sure Cuz," he said. "I really like your bikini, by the way."
At night, we would order pizza with my parents' credit card and watch movies on cable.
"STOP tickling me!" I giggled hysterically as my cousin dug his thumbs into my armpits while we were in our pajamas on the couch watching Out Cold.
"I'm gonna get you!" He said, wiggling his fingers at me while I threw popcorn at him flirtatiously.
"Oh my god, you are the worst," I laughed, flipping my hair. I couldn't help but wonder if he thought I was cute in my silk boxers.
Our lives became intertwined. I picked up his shirts from dry cleaning, he drove me to pick up my car from the shop, and we argued, like a couple.
"I thought you were going to take out the trash," I complained, sipping on a Diet Coke.
"Baby, you know I would if I could," he said, neither of us noticing that he just called me 'Baby'. "But I've got to run. Look, I'll make it up to you, I promise. Okay?"
"Fine." I pouted, but just a little, because I knew he'd bring me home one of my favorite fruit smoothies after work.
It officially became weird when I took him to a wedding as my date, and on the way home I joked, "Cuz, when we danced together, were you pretending I was your girlfriend?"
"Um...." He adjusted the rear view mirror. "No...." he said, sheepishly.
Eventually, I got a job and moved out, and he went back to Missouri. It was like a breakup. I missed his smile, his laugh, and conversations about our Grandma. I started dating men who weren't related to me, which was probably a healthy thing.
"Thank god you're not living with our cousin anymore," my sister said. "You guys were together ALL THE TIME- it was getting weird."
"I know," I said. "But he always gave me the BEST shoulder massages."
Quarter Life Whatever
4 years ago