• Emma would be like the mom who’s always making sure you’re wearing a sweater when you go out and wants you to tell her what your plans are!
• Carly would be like the big sister who teaches you about boys, and you borrow her bras to try on and stuff.
• Jacquelyn would be like the little brother who only stays inside and plays Final Fantasy and eats Bugles in queso dip, like, nothing but the Final Fantasy and Bugles in queso dip, and who will only talk about Final Fantasy and we’re all embarrassed and worried!
• Grace would be like the widow aunt who lost her husband to a car wreck in 1992 or something and keeps talking about it and just won’t shut up and is just now going on some sort of spirit quest to India and you just know she’s going to be sending a million group emails about her progress, and you feel bad but a part of you wants it not to help or work out because there’s something sort of fascinating about watching this woman fail.
• Sidney would be like your older guy-cousin Clyde who’s like ten years older and you see him every five years at a wedding or a reunion because he lives kind of far away, like in northern California, and every time he’s taller and more defined and he speaks in this soft voice and yes, yes, sometimes you dream about him sleeping upstairs while you’re on an air mattress in the living room for the weekend and coming down and just watching you while you sleep because you saw that look in his eye on the Fourth of July and he is single and has been for a while and no one would need to know…oh God, am I a pervert, what am I doing, why am I thinking these things? God, I am a pervert…Mom! Mom! When are we going back to Virginia for Christmas!?
• Amy’s totally like the second cousin who’s like a little famous where it’s kind of exciting when she’s there at get-togethers and she’s polite and everything but also you can tell she doesn’t really want to be there. Plus, like, thanks a ton but you gotta be able to pull more strings than this, I don’t want an internship I want like a one-line role or something, come on, Amy, this is family were talking about!
• Jenna’s the grandpa on your Dad’s side who was there when they captured Birkenau, and of course never talks about the war, but once you were looking for an extra blanket when you were staying over and found a trunk in his room that was left unlocked, and inside were the dog tags, or hundemarken, of all the Germans he had killed, and a portrait of a dark-haired young woman who isn’t your grandmother.
• Brittany is like the ancestor who’s at least partially responsible for this country’s legacy of brutality against Native Americans.
• Amanda is the dog. The low, base dog who doesn’t contribute anything, doesn’t earn anything, but just suckles at the teat of this family like a leech, stuck in a perpetual cycle of eating food she doesn’t buy and shitting shit she doesn’t own. We ought to put her outside the bunk to sleep like the dog she is but we don’t because some people would think that was wrong.
• Yes, fine Jules, you can be the eccentric millionaire uncle, but not because you’ve earned it, just because you asked nicely.
Graham Techler is a writer. You can follow him online @grahamtechler or in person around New York when he isn’t looking.
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