I had a first-cousin once removed, who joined a local baseball team. The entire family would meet to watch him play, at the neighborhood park. We liked to encourage his need to feel important. Hitting a ball helped him cope with being ordinary.
This cousin of mine was very handsome. Every time we saw each other, he would tell me about the small home that could be seen across the river, next to the park. He would say that elves lived there. They were very kind, and though they did not trust humans, he had developed a special relationship with them. Excited, I would run toward the river, and wait. It took months before I saw any activity. But what came out of the door was not an elf. It was an unkempt man, who screamed at me to leave, once he noticed my presence.
After several baseball seasons, my cousin ran off with my uncle’s wife. Recently, I saw a picture them together. They stood in front of a blue house, my aunt in front of him, as if aggressively guarding a thing of great value. I have never seen the misery so visible in someone’s eyes. He no longer plays baseball. He is no longer handsome.
I think of everything that has caused emotions to rise. One can feel so much, in such a short time. This softens a person, so that there is such a tenderness, that the meat almost falls off the bones.