But the absurdity of my family certainly doesn’t end with the multiple marriages and the town’s excitement for me. I haven’t even started talking about Jason. Jason, I just call ‘Jason’ because it’s hard to explain exactly what he was. On one hand, he’s my father’s nephew, which makes him my cousin, but a full twenty-four years older than me which makes him feel less like than a cousin, and more like an Uncle or something. On the other hand, he’s my brother-in-law, married to my older sister, Rachel, when my mother was three months pregnant with me. It was weird to think about how intertwined that made my family but strictly speaking, I was the only thing that made any kind of biological connection between Jason and Rachel. And they were happy together, so they were together.
Now, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way. I love my parents, and I love my sisters. I even love my crazy grandparents and my even crazier Aunt Liz and Uncle Tommy (Jason’s Parents). But Jason is by far my favorite family member. In part because he’s been married to my sister longer than I’ve been alive and in part because he spent three years living with my father as his father figure (he still claims to think of my dad as more of a father than his father ever was.) Jason is, in many ways, the older brother I’ll never have.
I remember distinctly when I was twelve years old and getting the first flexing of my teenage rebellion muscles. My mother and Rachel were out for one of their days, leaving Jason, My Dad, and I alone in the house. I’ve long since forgotten what the argument was about, or what I actually said to my dad, but I know it was cutting, and perfectly designed to hurt my dad’s feelings. I stormed out of the house and into town, sinking down to sit on the bridge that we were constantly earning money to make repairs for. It wasn’t but fifteen minutes later that Jason came and sank down to sit next to me.
I braced myself for the lecture. The whole spiel about how lucky I was to have Lucas as a father, the kind that could only be delivered by a man who had been abandoned by his own father and taken mine as a surrogate. I expected the good cop routine that wouldn’t make me go back and apologize to Dad, but would strongly indicate and convince me that I should.
What I had not anticipated was for him to sigh and say “Lucas can be a right ass, can’t he?” To say I was shocked to would have been a gross understatement. Jason never swore when I was in the same room, let alone in conversation with me. “Man, I cannot tell you just how much I hated him at times.” Still half in shock, and half having no response to that, I didn’t say anything. So Jason continued, “Not that I didn’t give as good as I got. Once I pissed him off so much that he just pushed me right off this bridge.”
That got my attention quickly and completely. “He what?”
“Yep. I had just finished being a real brat about something or other. I thought I’d won and that he had nothing else to say. We were walking along and he just,” Jason reached over and pushed on my shoulder gently, “And into the water I went.” In spite of myself, I laughed. I couldn’t help it. “Yeah, yeah, yuck it up.” Jason bumped his shoulder against mine, and I managed to control my giggles. “He loves you, you know, more than anything in this world.” Jason commented, suddenly serious for a second.
“Yeah, I know.” I mumbled back.
“He loves you. He loves your Mom. He loves Rachel and April and Liz and Tommy and for some reason I will never understood, he loves me.” Jason continued.
“Lucas Stevenson must be some kind of saint.” I teased.
“You know,” Jason turned to look at me, “I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he was.”
“I guess I should go back and apologize, huh?” I sighed, standing up from the bridge.
“Yeah probably. It’s February, so, you’d probably get hypothermia if you were pushed into the water now.”