To My Cousin, Whom I Miss Very MuchLast night, I dreamed of my cousin. It felt as if she is still walking this earth with us. There has been so much death this past year, but so much life too. The juxtaposition of the two has been surreal, but yet nothing could be more real than birth and death. So today, I will write to my cousin.
I have so many memories of you from when we were growing up. One in particular is when you would line up the younger cousins and do our hair. Your bangs were amazing! They were truly gravity-defying. Oh man, you looked so cool. One afternoon at Grandma's house, you announced it was hair time.
"We have to do something about your bangs, all of you," you said to us cousins. You fired up your curling iron. As it heated, we could smell the old Aquanet and singed hair that remained stuck to it, remnants of many hairdos past. Finally, the curling iron beeped its readiness.
"OK, Anna first," you said. I went over to where you were standing by the bureau, and you got to work. You separated my bangs into two layers, then sprayed both with a healthy mist of Aquanet. You curled the bottom pieces under, so they looked like a giant tube. You curled the top pieces up, another giant tube, then you teased them a bit with you fingers until they were standing straight up. You fluffed out the rest of my hair, applied a bit of lip gloss on me, and pronounced, "Voila!"
I looked at myself in the mirror. I looked grown up. Ready for a trip to the mall to go meet boys. I looked like you.
Thank you for being a huge part of my coming of age, of my understanding what it means to be a woman. I watched everything you did, and I wanted to be just like you. You were the coolest ever. And then things changed for you, and it was so sad. You became a shadow of yourself. And then you died. But I want you to know how much you affected me, all of us. And I want you to know I love you. I hope you are at peace.