A Letter to my Cousin
Unadulterated and Unapologetic
I want you to know how I feel, but every time I try to tell you, a lump rises in my throat and I can’t get it all out. And you usually shrug your shoulders, and say, “Cous, you know I didn’t say those things,” and walk away. And that hurts even more because you’re running from me; I never ran from you. You know you’re my boy and all, and we fought some damn good fights together, but the one between us was gut-wrenching, ugly and demoralizing for me, and you need to understand that, and embrace it. There was no rhyme or reason to it.
I poured all of my heart and strength into protecting you from the venomous hatred spewed out from communities when you disappointed them, time and time again. I tried to help you manage your stress, and made sure you had adequate legal representation for the aftermath when you couldn’t. I stood up for you when no one else, genuinely, would. You need to understand the passion and effort I poured into promoting your dream of having a record label, and materializing it for you because I believed in you. And it was for the love of family that made me make sure you saw your kids every week, and they were provided with everything you had. When all was said and done, I just wanted the best for you. I wanted you and our family to go down in history in a way that would’ve made Grandma Roses really proud.
I don’t understand how all of that translated into me being “Triece the bad guy.” I never thought in a million years you’d turn on me like that. What did I ever do to you? I keep asking myself that question, over and over again. Even now when you come to my house, and we’re talking, when I look into your eyes, you drop your head or turn away, and I know you feel me asking you that same question, without speaking one word. I’m having a hard time right now even composing this letter to you because I still can’t get it out without crying. It is easier for me to believe that you didn’t say those awful things about me, and that maybe you just didn’t defend me when they were being said. Either way, I don’t know which is the lesser of the two evils, in my mind.
I can get past the loss of money and credit, that’s the risk of business investments; nobody wants to take a hit, but they do everyday. At my lowest moment, when my credit was gone to shit, no one would rent to me; they didn’t even want my money because of the water damage to the rental property you allowed your ex-wife to destroy that was under my name, but I could live with that. The difficult part was when I called our family members up North to get help, no one would help me. Everybody, including my own siblings, wanted to know what I did with your money. If it weren’t for Carolyn and John letting me rent a room from them, I would have been in a homeless shelter, or out in the streets, but that didn’t seem to faze you or anyone else in the family. They weren’t even part of our family, just good people we met and hired to work on the music project. I couldn’t even get a telephone for my room because your friend ran up the telephone bill that was in my name, and for what? But just when I thought I had seen it all, here I was served with a lawsuit where you let another female friend of yours run into someone’s vehicle while driving the truck, you asked me to put it in my name for your convenience. Aunt Dessa accused me of getting credit cards under your name. And guess what, I was hurt and anguished, but I found a way to swallow the humiliation and live with it too. But what I haven’t been able to live with, the most difficult part for me to digest, was when one of your female friends said Ann told her I was sleeping with you, and everyone in the family knew that’s how I stole all your money, and that’s why I didn’t want her to be with you. I’ve never felt that level of demoralization in my entire life. I mean, incest… Really? Who does that? You let your friends and our family members attack and degrade my character, when I spent years protecting yours. So my next question to you is, did it take away your pain to join in and watch pain inflicted on me?
The only way I’ve been able to make sense of all of this is that the pain inflicted on you through the beating, the loss of your case against the attorneys, and the friends that betrayed you was too much, and that when you needed to lash out, I just happened to be there. I don’t know, really, what to think to be honest. But what I do know is that I feel betrayed. And I know when you come over and spend time with my Jaydon, that is your way of apologizing. When you make the comment that, “Cous, you deserve a lot more in life than what he had to offer,” it’s your way of complimenting me. But for whatever reason, it’s not enough, I need a better explanation.
Love you always and family forever,