Of Infamy, Ignorance and Incest
(Photo from ckaroli)
It was the summer of 2002 and I was fourteen years old. We were vacationing at my grandmother’s house in Santa Monica, California. My cousin, Marcus, and his younger sister Emily were visiting my grandmother as well.
Marcus was sixteen and Emily was twelve. Being from the east coast, I only saw my west coast cousins once every couple of years. Our family was large and unorganized and we mostly kept in touch with those that lived close to us.
Once every four years or so, my parents would fly me and my twin brothers, Kevin and Kyle, to my grandmother’s house by the beach. That summer Kevin and Kyle were only nine years old and all they wanted to do was swim in the ocean and catch sand crabs.
My dad had decided to take them to the beach for the day and my mother had decided to take her mom, my grandmother, out shopping.
It was the end of the summer and I had built up a nice tan. My body was beginning to change and there were suddenly lumps where there had been nothing before. I must admit, I thought I was one hot item.
Since we were unsupervised, my cousin Marcus invited a couple of his friends over and one of our other cousins who I had only met once when I was about four years old. His name was William.
William was fifteen years old then and had strikingly blonde hair and bright green eyes while the rest of our family had dark hair and dark eyes. Right away I started crushing on William.
After he and the rest of Marcus’ friend arrived, I went upstairs to my grandmother’s bathroom to change into my bathing suit. Earlier that summer I had purchased what I considered a real hot number, a cherry red two piece with little ties on the side.
My chest was just barely large enough to fill out the cups. My dad had immediately hated the suit and had banned me from wearing it, but since we were alone at my grandmother’s house that day, I thought it safe to trot that red suit out.
In my grandmothers bathroom I also powdered my face and used a bit of her Lancôme lipstick in Rustic Raisin (a discontinued color) to make me look even more grown up.
When I came down stairs Marcus and the guys were all laughing. Marcus had decided that it would be fun to play a game of truth or dare.
Emily agreed, although I am pretty sure she had never played before.
We sat down in a circle next to my grandmother’s orange tree in the backyard and Marcus said that I should go first since I was the guest.
I didn’t argue; I was too busy trying to look cute in my new suit and lipstick.
Then Marcus asked me, “Truth or Dare Rachel?”
“Dare” I said, thinking it made me sound racy.
It was obviously the correct response because, without any hesitation, Marcus said:
“Rachel, I dare you to kiss William on the lips. With tongue,” he added.
It was exactly what I wanted to hear and yet it was everything I was afraid of hearing. I had never kissed a boy before and while the idea of kissing William seemed thrilling and fantastic, I was terrified of looking stupid in front of everyone.
In the end, my desire to run with the thrill won over. William and I moved to the center of the circle, me propped on my knees with my bare feet being tickled by the warm grass below us, and William sitting cross legged with his hands awkwardly in his lap.
We both closed our eyes and leaned forward. His lips tasted like orange soda and salty hot dogs; his tongue was like soft sandpaper inside my mouth.
For one glorious moment we leaned into each other, surrounded by the silence of breaths held all around us, until we were suddenly and horribly interrupted by my father’s loud voice:
“RACHEL!? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR COUSIN??”
My eyes snapped open and I pulled back in time to see my father’s face bright red and my brothers, Kevin and Kyle, laughing hysterically on the floor.
It didn’t matter that I tried to explain that I couldn't remember meeting William. It didn't matter that William insisted the whole thing was set up by Marcus. My father grounded me for the rest of the trip and made my mother throw that red bikini out.
To this day, my brothers won't let me live down the fact that my first kiss was in truth or dare, with my cousin.