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My Cousin & I


by P.R. Mercado


My cousin and I walked around the village at night. It was beginning to rain, but we walked on. She had a jacket. I didn't because of course. 

She said: “Sometimes I just want to know if he's settling or he's really in love with me.”

I said: “Well, part of being in love is overcoming that fear because there will always be a risk. Crazy shit go down all the time, but if you're really in love you're willing to take that risk and love him anyway.”

“I just don't want what happened to me to happen again,” she said. Her boyfriend had cheated on her a few years back with some homo over Skype. She almost ran him over with her car. “I don't think I'll survive if it happened again.”

I wiped the raindrops off my glasses. “Being cheated on is traumatic, but love itself is trauma. It changes your entire perspective on things. You have to choose which trauma you want to dictate how you see everything, and you know which to pick if you really love him.”

A few days prior she came with me to a job interview. I forgot my resume so we went to the mall instead and had a hair spa treatment. While we sat in front of the mirror, my hair in a towel turban just like her's, she said: “Do you remember when we used to play that board game when we were younger? The Game of Life?”

“You always won,” I said. “I hated you for it.”

The attendant began wrapping my hair in cling film. 

“It was such a hard game,” she said. “The Game of Life is such a hard game.”

“You're still doing pretty well,” I said. “Better than me, at least.”

When we got back home from walking she began drinking all my sister's Jack Daniels with Coke. I sat beside her and drank tea. She said: “So, what are your plans?”

“Nothing,” I said. “I don't plan that far ahead.”

There was nothing to plan. 

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