I have a cousin who is 5 years older than me. In kid time, that is an eternity. I always thought she was really neat… but she was kind of like a constellation to me: pretty, sparkely, and completely foreign and untouchable.

When I was 7, she was 12. We disappeared to her room on one of our infrequent visits to Jacksonville. She sat me down and gave me a full makeover. Okay, there wasn’t much to make over… I was seven. But I clearly remember her applying mascara to my eyelashes… and her rolling her eyes when I blinked too hard smudged her artwork. My mom was none too happy about the mascara, by the way.

On another visit, she asked me if I liked the Police. I rifled through my brain, trying to seem nonchalant. Why wouldn’t I like the police? They were good guys, right? Serve and protect… so I said yes. She saw through the ruse. “You don’t know who the Police are, do you?” she asked, with only a trace of disdain. Yeah, seems as though she was talking about a BAND. Who knew?

The last time I spent any significant amount of time with her, I was about 12. I stayed at her house for a week over the summer. She snuck back in the house one night, after curfew, and crawled into her waterbed where I was feigning sleep… and I immediately rolled between the mattress and the bed frame. I tried to roll back out after she was asleep, but every time I was close to regaining some footing on the mattress, she would shift in her sleep, and I would roll right back into the crack. And the whole time, I just kept thinking how cool she was to have stayed out so late. I couldn’t WAIT to break curfew!

My cousin and I haven’t had much contact as adults. My father wasn’t real keen on his sister’s family knowing I am gay… so I just stayed clear of them for the most part. Then my cousin friended me on Facebook. I have to admit, I hesitated before I accepted her request. I mean, one look at my relationship status and 14 years of secret keeping goes down the tubes. But, then again, it was never my idea that my sexual orientation needed to be hidden in the first place. I accepted her request, and I waited…

She has sent me 3 emails in the past two days. She takes note of my status updates and comments on them constantly. She even wrote on my Wall. Seems like my cousin really was asking to be my friend.

I wonder if she still likes the Police? Maybe I will write on her Wall…

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