Kyle, Liam, and I took a trip back to my home state of Maine. We drove from Illinois to Maine in one of Kyle’s delivery trucks, because apparently he was delivering a shipment of little paddle boats to a resort very close to my hometown, and decided that we should all go up there for a few days.
We pulled up at my great-aunt’s house, where we were greeted by a rush of people, all very excited to be meeting Liam for the first time. Out of nowhere, one of my cousins that I had grown up with, but hadn’t seen since we were 12 or 13, walked through the door, and commented that I looked beautiful. I smiled and thanked him. We all went inside, where my great-aunt’s dining room had been transformed into a massive banquet hall, with tables piled high with food that lined the great room.
Everyone was still crowded around me, asking a million questions about my life, and about Liam, and Kyle’s work. Every time I turned my head, I could see my cousin staring at me. And it was creepy.
My great-aunt informed me that my mom was going in a mermaid swimming competition that afternoon, which is why she wasn’t at the party, and told me that I should go, because all the proceeds went to some kind of charity. Kyle said that he had to work, but my cousin spoke up and said that he would love to take my son and I. I said yes.
The mermaid swim competition was cute. My mom, and dozens of other men and women, dressed as mermaids and did laps around an Olympic-sized pool, which was somehow in a parking lot outside of a grocery store. The entire time I was trying to watch the swim, my cousin kept telling me that he had missed me, even though we hadn’t spoken in 13+ years, and even as pre-teens, we had grown apart and weren’t close. He said he had just moved and wanted to show me his new apartment. I said sure, and we left the pool area.
My cousin’s apartment was disgusting. It was small and cluttered, but on top of that, everything was covered with a thin layer of filth. There was food and dishes strewn across the place, and clothes on the floor. I stopped in the doorway, and picked up my son so he wouldn’t go inside. I was starting to get annoyed with my cousin’s behavior, and this was the last straw. I told him I did not want to go inside, and asked him to take me back to the pool. He reached for my hand, and I pulled it away. I walked out of the doorway, and back to the street.
He called after me, something about loving me his entire life, and how he would leave his wife for me (I don’t actually know if he is married), but I kept walking.
I was standing on a dock, talking to Kyle, telling him about what happened. He just laughed, and said it was super creepy. He then asked me if I wanted to go to the St. Louis Zoo once he was done tying up all the little boats, and I happily said yes. It never struck me as odd that we were going to the St. Louis Zoo, even though we were still in Maine.
That’s the last thing I remember before I woke up.