It is 10 a.m. and my beloved first cousin Angela, from South Boston (now living in New Hampshire), is on the phone with me, all sass and coffee-go-go and filling me in on the latest cousin news.
“Katey, I’m telling you, Shannon’s got wicked cleavage. She’s got cleavage like a man’s ass without the hair, I mean, she can’t even cross her arms across her own chest for Christ’s sake.”
This, regarding my second cousin, who is joyfully pregnant with her first child.
“And you know what she says, to me? She says to me, ‘All I wanted was a puppy!’ And I laugh and say, welcome to marriage, honey.” Angela is all sweet and matter-of-fact in the same breath, her Southie accent cutting through the phone lines like a razor. “And they’re pregnant boobs so they’re perky and Shannon walks in the door and I have to go over and touch them, Jesus God, they’re hardly real. It’s like a dairy farm here.”
She pauses, and I think I might get a word in edgewise, but she’s only stopped to take a breath and—
“Shannon walks in the door and the first thing I say now is, ‘Got milk?’ And she says to me, ‘There’s not even milk yet, what am I gonna do?’ and we laugh and go to Target to get the next size up, I’m telling you, the whole thing is a pisser.”
She’s not complaining. In part of my family, this is called relating, and it’s about as funny and real as it gets. My cousin is, essentially, a first class story teller and one of the most hilarious people I know. I could listen for hours, which is basically what happens whenever she calls, and I settle into my chair on the porch, put my homework down (T.C. Boyle’s Without a Hero), and hold on for the ride.
Family. Gotta love ‘em.