My perfect (2nd) cousin

30 Oct 2018

Today I did the unthinkable. I submitted a piece online for a fiction writing course which was totally true! About my perfect second cousin.

It brought back painful memories. She is the reason I dyed my hair "goddess" blonde. The event I recalled, at the tender age of 15, was going round to a local village disco, my brother accompanied by my crush Steve plus a gaggle of friends. She turned up with her pushy Essex mother, crazy father and unassuming brother. Holding up two sets of shoes, she enquiref which ones she should wear... the sky-high strappy white stilettoes or the slightly lower ones. Like a b**ch, I suggest the lower ones.

It wouldn't have made a difference. As my mother was to remark at another visit to their house to me "You can't compete". No one has ever said three words that have cut my heart in two more than those. Like I didn't know. Me with my mousey hair, spotty complexion and average bust compared to this Amazonian Southend goddess. And her clothes were bang-on current. So bang-on that her own mother remarked in later times as she looked down at my white Cowboy ankle boots "Oh Lorraine had a pair of those last year". Ouch.

Was it co-incidence that I was surrounded by a nest of vipers. Except this.

Lorraine was lovely. Why wouldn't she be though? In later years I was to hear my dad (and this is creepy as **** to recall) to his friend saying "A 16 year old with a 40 inch chest Ian"... his reply back was even worse. Lucky me with such nice people in my life eh? I can forgive myself slightly as I was at that delicate age of kissing pillows, being a wallflower but only getting asked to dance by the ugly ones!

Cut to the getting ready. She dons a partly-see through blouse (it was the 80s so it was all "New Romantic") the not through bits tantalisingly covering her huge chest. Scarlet red knickerbockers over perfect skin. The blonde bob curled under to perfection. One of the guys asks her "Are you the age of consent?" My brother's diary entry was succinct and to the point of "Gorgeous looking but expensive to keep" (told you I was sinful).

I ended up going outside with Steve as I was feeling so awkward as the cousin was surrounded by ogling men... and I was being ignored by every single one of them. He was surprisingly sympathetic. In later years I was to visit her, and she had married a highly unremarkable but rich man and had the perfect "taupe" house and the beautiful grey car in the driveway. She remarked that it was dull when I complimented her.

I was obsessed with her back then because if anyone had said to me, you can be her, I would have swapped in a heartbeat. I'd love to see her now. My ugly duckling has turned into a fairly sassy swan... but the scars remain...


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