I saw a tear roll down her cheek. I had never seen my cousin cry before. I looked away as she brushed it off with the back of her hand. I was feeling quite overwhelmed myself. The news was just a matter of time, I thought. It is ironic how one can have love for something that doesn’t exist, someone who isn’t even born yet. Yet, there is that humbling feeling that weighs your heart down with love. It bursts through like the break of dawn, the first sunray through the clouded sky. For the first time in my life, I was going to become an aunt. Nothing in the world mattered at that moment, and it is quite hard to have words to describe the joy that I felt.
Tabinda and I are first cousins, from my father’s side. She is 11 months older than me, and we have spent every minute together since then. We went to the same school, had the same teachers, and friends. We wore matching outfits when we were kids, listened to the same music and watched the same movies. When something went wrong, we were both blamed, and when one of us was feeling down, the other was always there to cheer up the mood. Needless to say, we act like twins. One glance, and I know what she is thinking. I agree, I was a bit jealous when she got married in March this year. Was I willing to share my sister with someone else? It seemed a bit unfair actually. It was hard to see her laughing with another man, joking around and living at his place. But she was happy, and so was I, I decided.
I was the first person she confided in after she was pregnant. And that day couldn’t have gone happier. I was going to become an aunt. The idea seemed a bit far-fetched, as I haven’t felt this way before. However, everything changed when she brought the black and white photograph of her ultra sound. The image was fuzzy and abstract, and I could barely make out the shape. The baby was 10 weeks old, my cousin told me. I couldn’t see much of the baby’s features and shape, it was all just a black rectangular blob, but it was an overwhelming experience, nonetheless, imagining what he or she would look like, and trying to picture the tiny nose, the small feet and the nails on his or her fingers.
24 years ago, my cousin was a baby in her mother’s arms, and now she will have a baby of her own. The news still has the power to quicken my heart with all the anticipation, and tremendous joy. And I know, deep down in my heart, that the moment I hold my niece or nephew would bring me as much joy as if I were holding one of my very own.