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I never really paid much attention to Adam, and he never paid much attention to me. We were always too different. Iâ€˜m quiet, sensitive, and easily embarrassed, but he is loud, talkative, and always making jokes. We really had nothing in common, except for our family gene pool because we’re cousins.
When I found out he was enlisting to be a marine, I didn’t know what to think. My cousin, Adam, was going to be a marine; the kid who I watched having scream fights with his sisters, who’d wet his bed when he was little, and who had, being a toddler, screamed through my parents’ wedding. And now he was going to fight for my country, for my freedom.
I had no doubt in my mind that he could do it. I knew he had the energy, and the physical and mental endurance. I was just, I don’t know, shocked. I can’t express to you in words what it’s like watching somebody you grew up with drive off to boot camp his summer after high school graduation and then fly off to Iraq a year and a half later at the mere age of nineteen. Nineteen! And my cousin.
The day before he left for boot camp, my family drove to Connecticut to have dinner with his family. It was a pretty typical family gathering: picture taking, laughing, making fun of each other.
After dinner, we all headed back to my grandfather’s house, except for my other cousin, Jenna, Adam, my aunt, and me. We went to find a cake for dessert. But Adam wanted to stop at a local convenience store for something. He asked all three of us if we wanted anything, but we all said no. This was different. Not that Adam is a jerk or anything, but he’s never really been the type to volunteer to treat us all to snacks.
After a few minutes of waiting for him in the car, Jenna and I decided we wanted slushies.
“Mom? Can we get some slushies?” Jenna asked.
She replied, “Ask Adam.”
So we went inside and he agreed to buy us Slushies.
Jenna and I excitedly ran to the slushie counter and laughed hysterically at absolutely nothing as we began preparing them. I grabbed a medium sized cup and was about to fill it when I felt a nudge. I turned around to see Adam.
“Here,” he said, trying to hand me the extra large size of cup. I was pleasantly surprised. This, too, was totally out of character for Adam, who I’d begun to notice had apparently been working out. I wasn’t noticing it in an “Ew. You think your cousin is hot?” way. But I did notice.
“Oh. Thanks.” I said, touched by his gesture.
I filled my cup and we paid. Then we got back in the car and drove somewhere else. I don’t remember where it was exactly, but I knew it had a drive thru and that Adam had once again offered his services.
“You’ve been pretty nice to your family lately,” his mom pointed out.
He looked out the window and said nothing.
I ended up sleeping over my grandfather’s house that night and was there the next day to see him off to boot camp. He drove off and was gone for the Summer. Before he even left I was proud to be his cousin.
So I began writing him. I asked him about boot camp and thanked him for the Slushie. He enjoyed getting my letters and wrote back. I eventually wrote poems about him, and even got an article about him published in the local newspaper. He’s been to Iraq and back once already and is returning once again in a few months. It’s amazing how a relationship between two people can change.
I’ve decided that Adam is my hero. He’s made something of himself, and he’s only a few years older than me. Not only that, but he’s fighting for not only my freedom, but for the freedom of my country. It’s a great thing, and I’m proud of him.