Today is The Day! Today is the day that I got up and went to the kitchen to make my coffee, and while the kettle sputtered and shook and rattled on its way to boiling, I stood and looked out the window at tiny green tips on the ends of the branches. Spring is HERE! Soon the view from the window will be obscured by a multi-level panorama of leaves, hiding the parking lot and the apartment building, and leaving only the surface of about half the pond. It will be lovely and very private, just me and the ducks, and I will LOVE it! 'Course, I do anyway, as you may have noticed. But I have been looking forward to this for weeks now, so I'm very happy to see it.
Yes, very happy. Which is good, since a very sad thing happened recently. Or at least, something that would have been sad under other circumstances. Which, in it's turn, made me sad, to think of them. But I'm getting sort of backwards here, so let me just say that my cousin Rhys, my first cousin, who was only half a year younger than I, and who lived with my family for about a year when he was fourteen, has just died. It was not unexpected -- he has been an over-the-top alcoholic for about twenty years, and has completely destroyed his interior organs -- but it also was unexpected, because he is the same age as me. And was my friend when we were children. And my half-and-half, friend/enemy, just like any sibling would be, when we were older and lived together. And I haven't seen him for years -- only once when he was a grown man -- so in my imagination, he is still a fourteen-year-old boy. A silly, annoying fourteen-year-old boy, who made ridiculous noises and laughed immoderately at them, and if we betrayed our annoyance, did it again and again. He did love it when I read aloud, and would sit and listen to anything going. Loved Watership Down, and would ask questions about rabbits after. What did I think rabbits thought about? Do rabbits, in fact, think?
And now he is completely gone from the earth. His son lives, so some of his DNA survives, but that is not Rhys. None of his memories of childhood remain. Remember flying those wind-up planes on the sunny corner of the street, Rhysy? Remember? Running along underneath them, with our faces turned up to the sky?
So. John Rhys Murray, April 14, 1966 to April 5, 2011. Rest in Peace, cousin.