Of all the people on my dad’s side of the family I missed talking to the the most, it was my older cousin Carson.
Carson and I used to be close as kids, when my father was part of my life. We are only two years apart and to him and I it’s always felt like nothing. He’s the closest thing I ever had to a brother, more so then my own brother even. That’s why when he decided to come down to my father’s house I didn’t think much about it, all I could wonder about was what he was going to be like now that he was nineteen, an actual adult. So much had changed since we were just toddlers playing in the blow up pool at his grandmothers house, I was nervous about all the things that had been said about me to my other family, the people who possibly didn’t know what I had gone through, why my father had left. I wasn’t sure, Dad hadn’t mentioned to me anything about my aunt or my cousins, or even my own great grandmother for that matter. Granted she had died earlier this year it was the fact that he didn’t even talk about his family that put me slightly on edge.
Carson pulled into the driveway in his sleek mini-van and slammed the door shut, holding out his broad arms and wearing a huge smile on his face.
I couldn’t contain the enthusiasm that suddenly shot through my body. I was so happy that he didn’t have this look of disgust or contempt on his face for me that I actually ran down the steps like a giddy school girl and into my cousins arms, letting him swing me around the yard like I was still a little girl.
“I don’t remember you being this pretty”, he ruffled the top of my hair.
“I don’t remember you being this tall!” I had to look up at my cousin, him being a good five inches taller then me or more. Still, despite the fact that he grown about 3 feet since I’d last seen him he was still the goofy kid I knew to be my older cousin, and that more then anything made me feel like maybe this was a good idea, maybe I could let my family back into my life.
“Violet! I’ll be in the house, come in when your ready for supper”, my Dad grumbled, his hands stuck in his jeans.
“I wonder what his problem is”, I thought aloud.
“Violet, maybe we should sit out here on the porch and talk, I think there’s some stuff I need to tell you”.
The smile faded from my face, what had happened to the close family I knew after all these years? Why had my father given Carson the death glare, and why did Carson now look sick to his stomach?
I sat down on the swing my dad had put out on the front porch when I was just a baby. I remembered my mother rocking me in it to sleep, my dad bouncing me on his knee to get me to laugh, all the things that make a baby’s life worth while had happened on this swing, and here I was almost grown up, and I was feeling like it was suddenly the last place I wanted to be.
Carson sighed, looking over at me with a meek smile, “Violet Esmerelda Blake, little Vi, I can’t believe I’m really seeing you”, Carson’s eyes began to brim over with tears and I felt my breath catch in my throat.
“Carson, what is wrong?” I placed my hand over my cousin’s.
“I’m afraid If I tell you, then you won’t love me anymore”.
I felt the strong urge to raise my voice but i fought to keep it steady so my rude father wouldn’t come back out to ask what was going on.
“What? Carson, you know that nothing you tell me will ever make me not love you, no matter what it is”.
“And you know the same goes for you! so why didn’t you ever contact me for all these years Violet, what was going on with you that I can’t know about?”
I froze, i couldn’t tell him. Not yet anyways. I was finally starting to see that the family I thought was perfect when I was younger was faulty, if Carson was this upset about something then it could only involve the family, no one else was worth all this trouble.
“Just tell me what’s bugging you, we have plenty of time to talk about me later”.
Carson stopped crying, my strong older cousin with the palest skin on the planet. I remember I used to tease him about being a vampire when we were maybe nine and seven, only two years before my mother had to take me away from my father, from everyone here.
I squeezed my hand in his, “I’m gay, Violet”.
My jaw almost dropped, that’s what this was all about? That what he was afraid was going to make me not love him? It occurred to me that my cousin didn’t know anything about me anymore, that he must’ve thought I would be just like my father, judgmental and close minded, but he’s wrong. I’m not my father, I have never been him, never will be.
I almost began to laugh, it seemed to clear to me. Carson had always been different, he didn’t like all the little boy toys, tonka trucks or army men, he was much more interested in the way things worked, the way people worked. He shied away from everyone, and even at nine I should have seen the way my eleven year old cousin was becoming more and more secluded, like me. If I would’ve known about this then (believe me i was old enough to know exactly what being gay means) maybe I would’ve told him about the rape, he would’ve bee able to handle the situation better, told his mom, my grandma, I don’t know. I just wish that I could’ve been there for my cousin, and I feel guilty I didn’t let him be there for me.
“Carson look at me, I love you more then you know, always have, and I want you to be happy no matter what that means, you could be attracted to goats for all I care and I would still love you just the same”.
It was Carson’s turn to laugh now, “I can’t say I’m into goats but I could go for a man with a goatee”, he teased.
I wanted to find a pillow to hit him with for making such a lame joke, “Look, I know my dad doesn’t approve of it, i can tell, but you need to know that I am definitely okay with it, I wouldn’t have you any other way, and if you parents really love you, and the rest of our family does, then they will get over it”.
Carson nodded, “You’re right, I should have known you’d be the only accepting one, you always were the type of person who didn’t care who someone was, like that time when you were in second grade and I heard about you refusing to sit with anyone else besides Alan Hite just because you wanted him to have more friends”.
I giggled, I can’t believe he remembered that! I didn’t even know Alan Hite anymore, he had just been some kid in the second grade who liked to wear tap shoes to school every day, and I used to tap dance when I was a little girl. I guess that’s why I was nice to him.
“You still know Alan Hite?” I asked, curious as to why he brought him up all of sudden.
Carson fidgeted, “you could say that, he’s kind of my boyfriend”.
I KNEW IT!
I wrapped my cousin back up in a hug, “Well you tell Alan I want too see him take good care of my favorite cousin, oh, and I can still tap dance circles around him”.
Carson nodded, “Thank you Violet, for being okay with this”.
I smiled, so maybe I’m not ready to talk about my personal problems with all the people I used to know, and maybe it’s going to take a lot of time before I’m ready to bring it up, but I know that with Carson’s help, Jimmy’s help, Cameron’s help, Mrs. Hudson’s help and maybe even my dad’s help I can do it, I can let people back in.
So, whatever you are, whoever you are, whatever your problems are, just know that there are people out there who want to help you if you let them, the world isn’t just black or white, so live in color 🙂