I want you to meet my little cousins because I think you’d like them and they’d like you, though maybe I should stop calling them my little cousins because they’re not little anymore — one’s in grad school, another in college, the youngest a senior, cruising through her last year of high school because she’s already got her college decision — she got it last summer thanks to athletics.
I still call them my little cousins, though, because they’re the only cousins who are younger than I am on my father’s side. We spent two weeks in a camper van in Iceland almost two years ago, which meant we spent two weeks together in a tiny space for twenty-four hours a day, every day for two weeks. We drove around all of Iceland in the van. We slept in the van. We often ate in the van.
We listened to Hamilton so many times, and we cooed at sheep and ponies, and we laughed pretty much non-stop. We took too many Boomerangs, ate too many hot dogs, and the youngest one drank a ridiculous amount of almond milk and carried around a giant thermos of hot chocolate. I almost fell off too many waterfalls. We ate ramyeon at one a.m. in the midnight sun, marveling every time at the colors in the sky, the lack of darkness that threw us off in pleasant ways. We got a lot done in that never-ending daylight, crossing hundreds of miles, stopping when and where we wanted to hike, climb up waterfalls, chase after sheep.
I never thought I could spend so much time in such intense, close contact with anyone and make it out without tension or a full-blown fight, but I guess it’s about being with the right people who complement you — and who laugh from the second they wake up to the second they go to sleep.
Anyway, they’re hilarious and sweet and just all-around great kids, and I love them. They know things about me that others in our family don’t. I think they’d love to know you.
You unfortunately can’t be in New York the weekend I have family in town, and you express surprise at this, that maybe we’ve gotten to the point where you should be introduced in some capacity at least. I’m sad because my youngest cousin is in town with my aunt and uncle, who are in town because my parents are in town, and this would have been a good buffer group through which to start introducing you.
You’re still staring at me via FaceTime while I babble on at night, after all my family has scattered — my parents are on a flight back to Los Angeles, to my puppy, my aunt and uncle are driving back down towards DC, my little cousin is on a train up to Boston, trying to beat a winter storm before trains are cancelled and she can’t get back to her campus in New Hampshire. I’m talking about what we ate, about the Book of Mormon, and I’m saying how I never go the theatre unless it’s with these cousins because they’re into that kind of thing, and my family isn’t so much. I enjoy going when I go because they have good taste and a sense of humor like mine, and I’m telling you about sitting between my little cousin and my conservative aunt and uncle, the two of us laughing non-stop while also kind of cringing because the Book of Mormon is irreverent, raunchy, and scandalous.
Later, I text the eldest to ask why she recommended the Book of Mormon to her parents, and she says, BUT I DIDN’T! because it turns out the little one had told her parents, Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, unni says it’s really good, before the eldest could tell her to abort her plan, pick another musical instead.
I’ll be singing songs from the Book of Mormon for weeks, even you’ll learn the words.
We’ll start wondering what to do about the holidays, even if they’re basically a year away.
While my family, immediate and extended, were at brunch in the morning, someone left a piece of eggs benedict on a plate. We’d gotten plates to share, and there was this piece of eggs benedict left sitting there as we were wrapping up, paying our bills, figuring out what to do next. I wasn’t going to let perfectly good eggs go to waste, so I ate it.