Dear Tricky Fan in British Columbia,
You’re getting married today.
You’re getting married today and my not being there is physically sickening. So, first off, I’d like to apologize for that. Didn’t get my, er, stuff together in time and that makes me a bad cousin. So this is the beginnings of making up for that.
I sent my mother in my place. Well, actually, I didn’t have anything to do with her being there but I’m just going to claim I did, anyway. She’s there as my envoy, although I shoot a better game of pool than she does. I’m also better at Mario Kart. However, I digress (it’s a gift, really).
I’m writing this because it’s what I do.
Tricky Fan, I’ve never really been able to figure you out. You’ve got a great poker face. It was always a bit difficult to tell if you were having a good time or not. Your brother is more outgoing and, standing next to him, you can seem almost silent by comparison (sorry, K-Wild, but you know it’s true). The one thing I was sure of, though, was that you were thinking. For whatever reason you chose to still your tongue, it became apparent throughout our shared years growing up, that it wasn’t for lack of anything to say.
You were a bright kid and, annoyingly to me, you didn’t feel like showing it to everyone. Me, I’d run my mouth off saying all the things I thought were mandatory for me to share with the world in order to improve it with my brilliant observations. You’d just sit there and smile and, quietly, excel at learning things. I didn’t know it at the time but it was annoying to me because it made me feel ashamed at my lack of restraint.
Growing up, our family cluster eventually became fragmented and scattered to the four winds. Some were in Toronto, some were back in Jamaica, others in some faraway land called Markham (not sure of the pronunciation). Your family ended up in British Columbia. This was also annoying because it meant I didn’t get the requisite amount of time needed to figure you out; to crack the case. And if I couldn’t figure you out then maybe I wasn’t so brilliant after all.
So, here we are decades later and I still haven’t figured you out. Rats!
Not to mention, we’ve hardly seen each other in the last stretch and every time we do, I think how much you’ve changed since the last time. Yes, I do still have visions of you as a tiny little girl with glasses quietly sitting at a table writing or drawing something while your brother and I guffawed over some boyish stuff. Yes, I know that’s not who you are anymore. I don’t really know the person you are now — I have not seen it with my own eyes — and I don’t even know if it’s right to call you Tricky Fan at all.
I’ll tell you this, though, no matter how much I couldn’t crack the code, no matter how aggravating to my ego it was I couldn’t see past the pleasant smile and courteous manner, and no matter how little you revealed, I was always secretly (jealously) impressed.
There’s something intangible in a person. Some call it a soul, some call it chakra, qi, aura, et al. Most days, I think of it as bearing. And, you, dear cousin, have always been of effortless, positive, and generous bearing. It is of anyone’s benefit to be around you. It is right that your parents cherish you dearly, since you carry yourself with a quiet and humble grace which reminds me of someone, and it is the reason why I came to think of you as Tricky Fan in British Columbia in the first place. It really has very little to do with Tricky.
That gentle nobility of character seems to me, upon reflection, to be most like our dearly departed grandmother.
This is why it pains me that I cannot be there to witness your happiest of days. But should this message find its way to you, I hope you read it and know that, though I may not have said it often or perhaps at all, I have always loved you and I have always been proud to be your cousin.
So, I’m very sorry I couldn’t be there for you. Take solace in the realization that you don’t need me there. You’ve never needed me because you’re not my little cousin who needed my protection from the harsh world. You’re not that at all. In fact, you are, and have always been, the hero of the story.
I truly hope today is the beginning of the bliss which will empower you for the rest of your life.
– – –
With Love and Great Admiration,
✧ ✦ ✧ ✦ ✧
PS: This may not be the most conventional of wedding day song dedications but what’s so great about being conventional anyway?