After Cousin Ray left, I decided to visit Anna next door. As I got outside, there she was, sitting on the front step.
“Hi, there.” she greeted.
“Hey, girl.” I returned, siting down.
I started the conversion about the books I’ve read that she had given me a few days ago. I told Anna that the books offered me a little more enjoyment than the movies I saw about them. Anna smiled.
“I know,” she said. “I don’t watch much television in the summer and get bored surfing the Internet. So the two things I often do with my time are watching movies on my Blu-Ray and reading books. If I don’t have anything else to do, I do my summer homework that my home school teacher gives me. Even on summer, I always have to do homework.”
“I wish I could for once take your place, Anna. It would be something to live your life.”
“You don’t want to have my life, Butterfly. You have a father and mother that you see all the time, a cousin that cares about you and two sweet and kind siblings that love you madly. My parents are overseas in a war and my brother and I rarely get to spend time with each other. In fact, we don’t talk that much to each other. You’re the only friend that I may ever have in a lifetime. I’m always lonely. I should be the one to wish to take your place.”
I never told Anna that I would consider being her friend. I held her hand in silence, as she held mine. We were silent for a while, looking at the cars and people passing by.
“You’re like a butterfly. Always wanting to stay, but only to die young.” Anna quoted to me. I turned to her. Once again, Anna gave me that smile.
“I have Little Butterfly if you want to read that. Those books always make me cry.”
A man in a fast food uniform came up to us and saw us holding hands.
“Hi, Vladimir.” Anna answered, “this is Butterfly. She’s my friend.”
“Friend or no friend, you shouldn’t be sitting on other people’s steps,” he told her. By the tone of his voice, I knew that Vladimir wasn’t too glad to see me with his sister. Vladimir was in his late teens or early 20’s tall and had gray hair. By the frown lines, he never smiled in ages.
“I have to go,” Anna told me. “It was nice meeting you, Butterfly.”
Anna rose up and left with her brother. Anna and Vladimir looked back at me before going back inside their house.
Cousin Ray arrived back home at 5 o’clock that evening. We kids greeted him warmly. Cousin Ray gave T.R. and Jordan yellow roses; he gave me a red rose. I was aback by the gift.
I asked my cousin, “Ray, why did you give me a red rose?”
He replied,” You deserved to have a red rose, my honey. The reddest rose in Orangeburg, South Carolina.”
Cousin Ray was so happy to see me with a rose. I didn’t want to hurt him, so I thanked him.
When night came, I was haunted by the red rose that Cousin Ray had given me. I saw the rose on my night table. I remembered as a little girl Cousin Ray giving me a rose. I wanted to know why did he love me and why was he so good to me. I crawled out of bed, slipped on my bedroom slippers and went out of my bedroom. I came downstairs and saw Cousin Ray on the couch, reading a book in the lamplight. I didn’t want to disturb him, so I tried to sneak back upstairs to bed. As I was about to head upstairs, Smokie was sitting down on the steps, mewing at me.
Cousin Ray turned his head and saw me.
“Hello, my honey. Would you like to sit with me?”
Not wanting to decline, I scoop up Smokie and walked over to the couch where my cousin was. As I sat down next to him, I placed Smokie down on the floor. Cousin Ray sat his book down on the coffee table to talk to me. Cousin Ray tussled my hair and moved closer toward me.
“What is it you want to talk about, kiddo?”
“I want to know something. Why are you so nice to me?”
Cousin Ray took my hand and quoted, “If I profane with you my hand. This gentle sin is that I want to kiss a girl who is as beautiful as a rose.”
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I played along with him.
I quoted back, ” with a mannerly devotion show in this; for saints have hands that must be used in payer. Your lips must be used in prayer.”
“My dear saint, let lips do what hands do. They pray: grant thou, less faith turn to despair.”
We giggled at the inaccurate quotes from words of long ago. I wanted to go to bed, so I told Cousin Ray, “I must be going to my chamber. Good night, Cousin. ‘Til it be morning.”
“Parting is such sweet sorrow, my honey.”
Before I got up, Cousin Ray removed his glasses and set them on the coffee table. He glanced at me and asked, “may I kiss you?”
“Sure.” I replied.
When I said ‘sure’, Cousin Ray placed both his hands around my neck. He inhaled and exhaled. He closed his eyes and zoomed in on me. Before I could back out, I felt my cousin’s soft lips on mine. I closed my eyes as I felt myself melting into the couch. The butterflies in my stomach slowly transformed into fireworks. I was living a blissful dream. I don’t know how long the kiss lasted, but after Cousin Ray and I stopped, we saw each other and were red as stop lights.
“I think I should go to bed,” I said. “I’ll see you in the morning.” I got up from the couch and headed upstairs. Along the way, I glanced at my cousin once more. Putting back on his glasses, he looked at me and told me goodnight.
I went inside my bedroom and went over to my bed. I crawled into my bed and went back to sleep. In my sleep, I felt my heart filling with happiness that I never felt before. I dreamt about the kiss that my cousin and I shared. Is it what someone meant by the phrase of ‘kissing cousins’? As I fell asleep, I knew that I would never be the same with Cousin Ray Again.
To Be continued/Stay Tuned