So, here's the thing, my name is Adelia, I'm 23 years old, and his name is Dante, he's 24, and we're from Indonesia. We're second cousin, my father and his mother is a first cousin, we share great grand-parents. I know him since I was born, we're both the first grand-children for the big family, so basically (from our parents stories), as a child I spent most of my time with him; played together, bathed together, slept together..
Time went by and I grew up into a shy little girl, and he's a naughty little boy--the age range is probably about when we're 5 until 11. Every time our big family gathered, I always avoid eye contact with him, because deep down I know that I like him (even as a child I already know that) and I was afraid to admit that. He used to annoy me, like pulling my hair or teased me, but as I ignored him, he stopped, and we were basically just stealing glances at each other when the others weren't looking.
As we grew older (teenage), we avoided talking or even just saw each other (like when we met we were just said hi and then busy with our own things). Even though I kinda remember that he was always curious at what I was doing, like when I was creating a dance routine for my grandmother's birthday, he insisted to peek at my rehearsal but I shook him off. and There was this time when I was 12 and we played hide and seek in the dark with his first cousins and siblings, and he was the seeker, and here the seeker is a tiger who hunts his prey. I couldn't see clearly, but I can feel that every time he tackled me, he tackled me harder than the others until I fell on my back, and he smells me so.. intimately (he really smell my shoulder, up to my neck, and my cheek and his hands are around me) before he moved to someone else. so, can you imagine how confused I was? lol.
After that it got back like the usual routines, said hi and went mind our own business. until I was 18 and we held this family gathering. There's this cousin (also my second), Alvian who came from distant place and I only met him once when I was 5, we're instantly became closer and he always teased me, sometimes more than he should and I could only keep quiet. There was this moment when we were at Dante's room, I laid on his bed and Alvian started talking "Ugh, you look so big. move over, chubby!" and I just laid there in silent because it's actually hurt and I didn't want to make a big fuss about it. But then Dante stepped in and said "No she's not, Adelia is very beautiful. Her body is adorable," without looking at me or him, and Alvian shut his mouth after that. Dante was really just passing by and then got into his closet.
When my grandmother died, he was there in our house. there was only me, my sister, him, and our uncle. My sister and my uncle were inside, while I was pacing back and forth from inside to my porch. And every time I moved, he moved, we're not saying anything, but he's just tailing me and i let him. When I heard the news I cried and hugged my sister, and I could see from the corner of my eyes that he was trying to approach and console me but he doesn't know how.
When I was 19 (my first year in college), we held another gathering, and this time for youth only. He brought his girlfriend, and I was trying my best that it didn't hurt. But for the first time in my life, he hugged me so tightly when he saw me, he looked at me in the eyes and smiled so brightly. After that we spent time for one night, and after the hug we started ignoring each other again until I heard him talking about our government system, and I couldn’t help myself but to tackled in, since I'm so interested and because I'm also in the student movement on the university. He looked startled and avoided my eyes, but his girlfriend kept encourage him and saying things like "See, you're not alone in this matter." And when we said good bye, that was when he saw me in the eyes again and embrace me deeply.
Time went by and I'm finally trying not to be so shy and avoid him, and I think he also tries not to avoid me. Now, every time we met, when there's no people, we hug, if there's people, I just have to kiss his hand (it's a culture thing to honored someone older). When I was sick in bed and the big family paid me a visit, nobody wanted to kiss me because I haven't wash my hair for a few days. Then he stepped in when people talked outside the room, and as he approached me I said "Don't kiss, I'm smell..." but he just smiled "It's alright, I don't care," leaned, and kissed my forehead for some time.
Every time we talked, we’re always talks about something enjoyable and something serious (like our college progress), we know how to balance it. When we had a conversation, he always laughed, looking at me with admirable in his eyes, and sometimes desirable. And when it's just the two of us talking, we can't look into each other eyes as occasionally when people around, because every time we stare into each other, we blushed and the tension is there and I guess both of us are scared about it, about what it might lead.
My sister notices and said that he treats me differently from the others, because with the others he always so playful and sometimes annoying, but with me he's really gentle and delicate, from the way he speak until his gesture, she said (and I also feel it, but it’s probably only exist in my head) that every time he talks to me he always looks so enchanted by me, and he quietly steals glances at me when I’m not looking and always looked so interested in what I’m doing, in short there's chemistry. I knew from his mother and witnessed it for several years that he never compliments a girl, like saying she’s pretty—even if it’s his sister or his girlfriend (who always told his mother about how cold he is in their relationship).
When my grandfather died, he and I talked more than we usually did. And his grandmother (not from our side) saw how I was being helpful and kind to her, when we met she said she likes the way I look and something about I’m being beautiful (despite the fact that my eyes are swollen because I cried for hours), then she saw me fetch Dante and she said spontaneously "Adelia, what if you become his girlfriend? I’m sure Dante wouldn’t mind with someone so lovely like you." Dante and I just remained silent, and didn't even dare to see each other, but we stayed there, stood awkwardly with his grandma between us. Then my mother said "They can't, they are cousin." And his grandmother didn't do anything but smile.
The last time I saw him was yesterday. Sometimes he looked ignorant, but he eventually listened to what I'm saying when I eventually talked to someone else and in the end said "What?". Yesterday my feet is bruised, and I talked about how pain it was with my uncle, Dante sat like two seats away from me, and before I realized he suddenly moved to me and asked "What happened to your feet?" It stunned me but I'm able to recover and explain, and after that he was busily looking at my feet and checked it quietly.
I don't know why but his mother keeps saying to me every time we meet "Why don't you and Dante went abroad together (for school) after this?" or "Why don't you bla, bla, bla..." that involves him. lastly she said "Hey, just graduate together!" and I said as I looking into Dante's eyes "No, I'll graduate first, right Dante?" and he's looking at me and shook his head with the cutest gesture I ever see on him. My sister also caught his mother's gesture and talked to me about her probably wants me with his son. His mother also always filled me with his relationship progress since I was 14, about how he always ended up breaking up with his girlfriend. And so far, I know that his love story was always end in a sad one, he is gorgeous, and rich, and chicks around him--and they’re all really beautiful-- just love that about him. The girlfriend I knew when he first hugged me end up running with his friend, and all that time he was just a driver and a trophy for her, and mostly it ended up like that. So I guess he kinda found something in me that he can't find in someone else.
The point is, I'm at my frustrated limit here, as time goes by I am more aware about how I feel about him and it keeps getting stronger. It's not like I never had boyfriend, now I'm in a relationship for several years and to forget Dante i tries so hard to focus on my boyfriend. It's not like I don't love my boyfriend, I love him so much but Dante always interrupted when I'm in a relationship or not, every time I met him my heart flustered and I'm in doubt, and even when I'm not thinking of him I dream about him that night, I always love him more. It's annoying and saddening at the same time. If he's someone else I could probably just tell him about how I feel. If this is really a taboo, I really want to move on, but I'm afraid that if I don’t get this resolved, these feelings will keep growing and save inside my heart even if I finally marry to someone. And I don’t want that because if I'll do that then I'll hurt my partner, and I want to fully commit to him...
Should I tell Dante? But if I tell him I'm afraid of the consequences, if he doesn't feel the same he'll probably look down on me and judge me as a weirdo, and if he feels the same, I will probably end up really happy, but what about then? What we have to do about our feelings? What about our family? What about other people? Or this entire thing is just something I made in my mind, I probably just imagining or speculating things while he’s actually never feels anything about me? And even if I want to tell him, how should I start? I don’t want to have regrets when I’m older, or loving two men at the same time.
After yesterday meeting I really wanted to cry because I feel like a sinner and like a weirdo… Why does God have to do this to me? I don’t know what to do and to whom I can ask for help.