Even though one leg was carried in a sling he could run like the wind on crutches. He would chase my brother and I in a sweaty game of tag making my mother’s dishes in the cupboard rattle with objection. The laughter that lit his face made everyone laugh to the point of distraction. His happiness was so contagious that as children we wondered if crutches held magical powers. My brother and I would try out the sticks that my cousin so proficiently used as legs. Those clumsy attempts gave him strength to out maneuver the speediest two legged child that dare challenge him. Through it all he remained a champ. As little kids we saw him as a hero before we knew what a hero meant. The joy he brought to us in the pretend games children play stays with me to this day. Even as young adults we would smile fondly of the monster game we often played. The miracle of medicine gave my cousin back the use of his legs before he became a teenager. He enjoyed the things that young men pursue; love, marriage and even fatherhood. The the monster game of “cancer” he could not outrun, not even with two working legs. In the end he lost. I miss him already and he is but one day gone.
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