Now this is a story. Both hilarious and so dearly tragic. I fell in love with my cousin. Yup, said it.
We weren’t blood related at all and he is probably not my cousin, now that I think back on it. In the Latino world, everyone is your cousin.
However! I promised you an incestuous love story, and alas, I shan’t provide, as it really isn’t what it seems. I fell in love with Alberto, a cousin-friend-human who I met in a brown-water lake somewhere in central Texas. That sounds like the plot for a country song.
Anyways, my newly found 10-year-old love interest, Alberto (Elberto, I cannot actually remember) was clearly an older catch in that lake. He spoke with a mature, Spanish accent and played rough games with his hermanos, splashing passing beauties – trying to score a look.
My pre-pubescent, skinny body sans curves, would certainly appeal to the boys – certainly. Let’s forget the part where I mention that I was a Tom-boy. Let’s combine little American me, dressed like I just fell off of a hay wagon, and the fact that they were probably drastically older than myself, and you have a concoction for wishful thinking and a wonderful story to tell.
It all started in the lake. Watching his sinewy arms ripple as he chased his brothers with a dead fish. Ah, how romantic. He presents the dead fish, how could I resist? Do you truly judge me? I mean, he presented THE FISH.
So, in all of my androgynous glory, I approached.
“Hi, um, I’m Arw—”
Well, of course he didn’t listen to me, I was a kid in his eyes. He fired off another round of water, sending a cascade of dirty water in my direction. Playing hard to get, huh?
So, I observed from a distance, noting their rituals and habits as a collective. He seemed taller than the boys in school (no shit). He was very tan (again, no shit). He did not want to talk to me.
That evening, we were running amuck in my Aunt’s backyard, chasing one another around the perimeter. It was my half-brother’s birthday/ baptism party and if you know anything about Spanish culture, you know that every celebration is an event. There were gifts, food, booze, a mariachi band, a piñata, fireworks and so many people.
The boys, specifically my love interest decided that it would be fun to steal the piñata. We gave chase, and being the albeit slow, but sporty ten-year-old that I was, I decided to break off of the pack and instead cut him off at an angle. It worked, I broke off and hid behind a trash can. As he came down the homestretch thrusting his Secretariat legs ahead of him – I leaped from my foxhole and caught him with one arm around the chest and one around the back in a leaping bear hug. We both careened to the ground in a dusty heap of laughter.
When we stood up from the carnage, the family (even those I did not know) clapped and cheered. He gave me a pat on the back and well… you know.
I was smitten until I watched he and his brothers hook arms with their respective other halves and take off down the street. My 10-year-old heart ruptured. I felt like the Texan sun had baked me to the cement. What an ass!
It took some detailed explanation from my immediate family as to why this boy could not be with me. Aside from the fact that he resided in Mexico at the time, there was the “age-gap” haha.
In retrospect, it is hilarious. My first non-silly crush was of course someone in my school, but to be honest, I can’t remember the details. This, though, I couldn’t forget.