Family Secrets

by The Cowl Editor on November 30, 2018


Family sitting down for a thanksgiving dinner
Photo courtesy of

by Sam Pellman ’20

Here we go. I had to mentally prepare myself for the events that were going to happen. It was holiday season, and I was finally home for winter break. It was a rough semester, and those last two weeks really killed me. But I somehow survived and had not yet checked my grades, because why would I want to ruin my Christmas? The family was coming over for Christmas dinner. My family is hard to track down; there’s always someone in a different country or vacationing in Florida, but when we are all able to be together, well that’s when it gets wild. First we have the weird cousins; everyone has those, right? The ones with the messy lives. But also the ones that cause family drama and give us a reason to gossip. One of them is married, one is engaged and they’re only two years older than me but hey, it’s alright, we don’t judge family… Then we have the cousins that we like but don’t see enough. They’re mysterious and always doing their own thing, doing their best to stay out of the drama, but will always be eager to listen to it. Finally, there are the favorite cousins. The ones that are your best friends but in cousin form. But they live across the country so when you finally see them after months and months, there is a list of things to fill each other in on.

The worst is when the favorite cousins show up last and all you do is wait in misery until they finally arrive. Just as I was in the middle of a very uncomfortable conversation with the annoying cousin, a conversation I stopped listening to 15 minutes ago, Kat, my favorite cousin, walks in. Thank God, I thought. We immediately run to each other and start chatting. Now from an outside perspective, it may look like we’re not being inclusive, but that didn’t stop us. Secrets needed to be spilled. Like the fake marriage one. The juiciest one this holiday. Supposedly, the cousin who is so-called “engaged” is actually already married but not telling anyone and still having a ceremony. We can’t wait to see the look on my grandmother’s face when she hears that one.

We sit down at the table. I am of course sitting next to Kat with my grandmother on the other side of me. I already knew she’d ask but I didn’t think it would be so soon.

“Is there anyone special in your life?”

Oh God did she really just ask that in front of everyone. As if I don’t already know that I’m lonely on the holidays.

“Nope, not now…” I begin.

“Well why not?” she prompts.

What do you mean why not, I think to myself. I don’t need a stupid college boy to ruin my future plan in life. Although I don’t really say this. Instead I bite my tongue and say, “Just focusing on myself grandma.” She surprisingly takes the hint and backs off.

“We all can’t wait for the wedding this summer,” my aunt says to the engaged cousin, knowing damn well he’s already married. There are giggles across the table. It seems that everyone knows but my grandmother, and she looks confused. I wondered, is she really going to say it? Right now, right here. His face turns red. “It’s going to be lovely, I’m a lucky grandma!” my grandmother says. Everyone looks at each other, seeing how pure and happy she is.

“Cheers to that,” I say and for once everyone zips their lips. She is living proof that some secrets don’t need to be told.