Five For All Forever

By , Chicago, IL
My baby cousin is crying while the rest of us run away from our moms in our favorite dress-up clothes. The scene is complete chaos. I’m holding a sign that I can’t yet read, posing for a picture with my two sisters and two cousins. My aunt snaps a picture and we’re allowed to return to our world of imagination. This is the first memory I have of us all together. Perhaps it’s because of the picture, or maybe it is an actual fragment of my memory; All I know is we’re all together, the crazy, scraggly-haired, close-knit cousins that we still are today.



The lights are dimmed, curtains closed. My heart races. I clear my throat and take a deep breathe. The music starts and my nerves immediately calm, as I begin to follow the music. The beats of Lady Marmalade jolt through my veins. My band of cousins and I give it all we’ve got, every move done together. As the song comes to an end, I can hear the laughter. It’s my cousins, of course, the lucky spectators who got to witness this unbelievably flawless routine, performed in my basement. Before I know it, we are all up there, teaching each other the dance and trying to fit in new moves to make it even more impressive. We’re all happy with this, I mean what else were we going to do? At this point in time, showbiz was our life.



We beg and plead, for what seems like an eternity, for our parents to take a break from their complicated chatter upstairs and come visit our hangout, to see our show. In the end we are so proud and the smiles won’t leave our faces. We move onto another game of fantasy and imagination, until that dreadful moment when they have to leave. At my uncle’s call, my cousins sprint into hiding or pretend to lose a shoe or do something that we think is so clever, but is so tragically obvious to the adults. Their exit always involved someone pretending to cry or, when we got lucky, a sleepover. We knew either way we’d see each other soon enough, only to continue our activities from that same night. We were inseparable. The best of friends that some girls only dream of.


A cloudy day in Autumn. Shades of burnt orange and yellow pass by my car like flames of a raging forest fire. My ipod shuffles as I flip through the songs, half ignoring the road ahead of me, until a song comes on and I stop. It’s from my sisters’ play, Little Women, that they were in a few years back. I listen closely to the words. Five for all forever, from now on. My lips automatically start to say the words and my foot begins to tap the beat. This song could easily be about my cousins and me. I think about my mom and how she always tells us how lucky we all are to have each other. We always laugh at her being sentimental, but we know it’s the truth.


A slow summer day in the lakeside town of Long Beach, Indiana. I’m flipping through the latest edition of People. Erika, with her long, blonde, beachy waves and freckles that cover her from head to toe, is sipping from her glass of ice cold lemonade while very descriptively telling of all of her friends back home. Gena, optimistic and outgoing, texts some boy, trying to plan our adventures for later in the night. Jamie and Cate, the two youngest who usually tend to get themselves into trouble, watch E! on TV, getting all the celebrity gossip. I glance up for a second and my mind wanders back to the old photograph. We’re all here, together, once again. This is no different than any other family get together or random hangout but for some reason, I feel different. I guess it’s the fact that I’ve never stopped and thought about us. We’ve always been close…Nothing has stopped us, not sports games every weekend, not them moving to London, or friends, or boys, or issues between our parents, or anything. We have a sisterhood, a bond that will never be broken no matter how far it get’s bent. As I ponder this scene, I can’t help to feel good about the fact that I know I will always have someone out there in that cruel world who always my back.





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