My cousin Scotty is more like a brother to me. Or what I imagine a brother to be like. I maybe didn’t spend as much time growing up with him as I would a brother, living in the same house for example, but I did spend a lot of time with him, going to the mountains with our gramaw, or to the beach, or just hanging out. He’s about five years older than me and is the son of my dad’s twin brother, Uncle Tommy. I adore Scotty even though he would sometimes drive me batshit crazy picking on me when we were kids. He still picks on me but I have since developed an immunity to his playful teasing.
When we were younger, Scotty would stop in and visit me at school or work, just come by to cause some excitement and say hi, and then he was gone, leaving a trail of dazed and smitten girls in his wake. First it was my high school he’d stop by, making my friends fall in love with him with his easy charms and good looks. It was like some popular heart-throb had shown up at our school for a visit. Later, he would visit me at work, causing my female co-workers’ hearts to skip beats and ask me, “Who was that?” or, if I’d already introduced him, “That’s your cousin?” (I didn’t know what to make of that one.) “Oh, that’s just my cousin Scotty,” I’d reply, blowing off their newly developed fascination with him, secretly proud that he had this strange power, and he was my cousin. He didn’t even have to try to charm anyone, it just happened. It’s just the way he is.
Even after he was married, when he’d stop in to see me, I’d see the familiar looks on the other girls’ faces and could almost see what was churning in their minds. Again they would say, “Who was that?” And I’d reply with my usual, “He’s just my cousin Scotty.” But then I’d add, “And he’s married.”