Okay this is a bit of a weird story but here goes: I have (had?) a cousin who was completely in love with me.
Now before you start gagging at the incestuous state of it all, let me clarify a few things. My dad had a brother who married a woman who already had a son. This son was, by technicality, my cousin. Clint.
I hadn't met him until I was 7 years old, and he a year older. But he was already in love with me before then; my father had sent pictures to the family over the years, the way family does. And apparently, there was a picture of little 4 year old me in my little pink dress and my curls, which my cousin saw and claimed for his own, and kept all those years until we actually met.
Don't cue the 'bachpan ki mohabbat' songs yet. So, one summer my family went to visit them for vacation. This boy, from the first moment, claimed my hand, and refused to let it go. He made up all sorts of 'rules' about how he was in charge of showing me the place, how I was not allowed to let go of his hand when we were crossing streets, almost everything. I can tell you already I had lots of moments trying to pull my hand free and escape this weird young Romeo.
Not like I was totally oblivious of the idea of romance either, I was a Juliet in my own right - I'd already cropped a few crushes of my own in kindergarten already - but c'mon, my cousin? I know maybe I should have been flattered, and perhaps I was to be honest, but it just never.. y'know? It just wasn't going to happen.
Not that he was ugly either. He was of Spanish ancestry so, he just had that olive-toned brown skin and chiselled features. But yeah, his step-father used to take out a lot of anger on him, and I felt for him, but not in the way he wanted. In a moment of jest, his father took down the picture of me that Clint had kept all those years from a hiding spot on a top cabinet in the kitchen, and told us how when he saw the picture he just kept kissing it, so they had to eventually hide it when we came over before we caught him doing that.
Unfortunately my hand got the kisses instead of the picture. But then we eventually left, and because he wasn't really a real cousin, he had also gone to live with his other relatives who we weren't close to. So the next time I saw him was when we were grown into teenagers, or at least I think I was about 12-13 or so.
He had grown pretty handsomely, and I was hoping he had forgotten his childhood infatuation, so we could just be normal friends. We all (me, him, my siblings) had a good time playing games and stuff in the streets of New York. But here's the thing, he had this video game console that was all his, and he told my younger brother to tell me that I couldn't play unless I told him I liked him too.
Excuse me? Of course that meant I stubbornly refused to talk to him or even care to play his stupid video games and stayed out playing basketball solo for a good part of the afternoon. Until he sent my brother to tell me that I could play if I wanted. I refused and kept playing. Then they came out to play shamefacedly. I left them and went inside out of the sun and decided I would play video games myself. After half hour playing shoot the duck or whatever it was I was playing, he came in and sat beside me and I ignored him, but he kept leaning against me. I rolled my eyes and kept playing after elbowing him. Then my dad came and he got up fast, bahaha. Then we returned home from our visit, and I hadn't seen him again for many years. The last I saw him was many years later, at a funeral home where he was consoling his step-sister, my cousin, crying at the loss of my uncle. Across the room, we met eyes, and we shared a mutual sad smile before turning away to our own lives. I haven't seen him since.