So we're talking about good Samaritans for Theme Thursday this week. I didn't plan to write a post this week, in fact, since the last one I've been so overwhelmed with the daily grind that is my life, I haven't written anything at all. I was reading over some of the other contributors posts and came across this one from Mom With Her Running Shoes On. It reminded me of the example set for us.
A parable (according to Merriam-Webster) is a "short fictitious story that illustrates a moral principle or religious attitude". A parable is always more than it appears on the surface.
When I was in my early 20's, I met a guy named Kevin. I don't think I knew his name was Kevin for quite sometime after I met him, everyone I knew called him "Chaos". Except I think he spelled it with a "K" - "Khaos"... but I digress.
When I met Kevin he had green hair and a pierced nose. He wore a heavy leather motorcycle jacket with chains hanging off it, beat up engineer boots, and ripped up dirty jeans. I don't know where Kevin lived, I think he bounced around, but mostly I think he stayed with his girlfriend wherever she was living. He looked to me like he was badly in need of a shower and a washing machine. He was loud. He was foul mouthed. He was surly and angry and somehow arrogant. He had this way of ignoring people he didn't like that made you feel like you'd been emotionally slapped, as he stomped past you completely disregarding the fact that you were speaking to him.
There were several people that I knew at the time who told me what a jerk Kevin was. Let me tell you, it didn't take much convincing to believe that was true. There were others though, who told me different. They told me that once Kevin got to know you, he was a good friend, basically a decent guy. I'm telling you, I just couldn't see it. As weeks and months passed, and Kevin's hardcore exterior faltered in my presence on occasion, I warmed to him. I never felt he was my "friend" though. He was just this guy I knew who was friends with some of my friends. It seemed to me too, that every time I began to see a little bit of that other Kevin, he'd pull some asshole move, and I'd be knocked back a bit on my opinion of him.
Gradually, as I accepted Kevin, he accepted me. We were never close, but he was decent to me, and I was blessedly never the recipient of his anger. Then, one night he shows up at my door, unannounced, and tells me he needs a place to stay, because his girlfriend kicked him out again. He didn't really ask to stay with me, mind you, he just sort of stated his dilemma and waited. When I hesitated he just said "Look, I know you don't really want me here. I don't really want to be here. Mostly I need a place to keep my stuff until she cools off." He was far more explicit in his terminology, but you get the gist. He told me he probably wouldn't even sleep here because he knew his girlfriend would let him stay with her, but he needed to make a show of moving more than anything. So I agreed. He didn't thank me, he didn't say anything, he just stepped outside the door and grabbed a couple bags of his stuff he had sitting there and hauled them up to my spare room. That's sort of how he was.
Kevin stayed there that night, but he really was gone most of the time. Sometimes he'd cruise in for a few minutes to take a shower or grab something he needed, but he really wasn't there more than 30 minutes or so at a time. One of these times he came uh... home (??) and he realized I needed to get to the grocery store so he just ordered me into the car, where a couple of guys he knew had been waiting for him and he made them wait while he and I shopped. It was a crazy experience, I felt like a huge imposition, but he told me in his very Kevin way "F*** them. They can wait." Well, that was Kevin.
Another time my brother called me, he was stranded in downtown Flint (not a great place to be late at night) and asked if there was anyway I could come get him. I had no car, nobody had cell phones then, shoot most of my friends didn't have land lines much less cars, it was late... I told him I would try to figure something out but I was absolutely clueless about what to do or who I could call. Yep. In walks Kevin. Just there to grab a shower before he had to pick his girlfriend up. I asked him anyway. He said he would do it if hedidn't have to get his girlfriend in about an hour when she got off work and that she'd basically freak out if he was late and she'd be especially mad if he drove her car to Flint. I'm thinking there's no hope of getting my brother when he gets this classic Kevin mischievous grin and says "How long does it take to get to Flint?" From where we were it was going to be just under an hour to get there...
We jumped in the car (an old beater wanna be a muscle car) and when we hit the highway, I saw the needle on the speedometer pass 100 and he was still gaining speed, I just turned my face to the window and refused to look. Kevin, of course, found this extremely funny and took great delight in announcing our speed to me and teasing me about being afraid. We got my brother, and he took a verbal beating from her, but later he told me he didn't care. He didn't want to see anybody stranded someplace like that.
Then there was the night he found me at home and I was so sick. I was puking and puking and probably should have gone to the ER, which he tried to convince me to do but I kept refusing. I don't even know what he had going on that night but it certainly wasn't in his plan to sit on the cold bathroom floor with me while I threw up until nothing was left in me. His plan certainly wasn't washing my face repeatedly with a cold washcloth and holding my hair back while I hurled and cried until I literally collapsed on the floor. It wasn't hauling my big old butt to bed when the vomit-fest finally ended and we both thought I might live after all, or sitting there on the edge of my bed telling me the most insane "bedtime story" ever told until I finally fell asleep. When I woke up I found him sleeping on the floor in the extra room, still wearing his boots. He didn't want to leave until he was sure I was going to be ok.
Kevin was the ultimate Good Samaritan to me. Kevin was sort of like a walking parable - always more than he appeared on the surface.
Kevin and I drifted apart some time after that. I saw him occasionally at parties or friends houses but by the way he acted, so casual, so nonchalant about me, you'd never know all the sacrifices he made just to be decent to me. It wasn't about me though. He would have done it for anyone.
Kevin died in August of 2011. He was 40. I heard the news through a friend on Facebook. I cried. I mourned the loss of the opportunity to thank him as much as I did his death. As I said, Kevin and I were never close, not in the traditional sense, but I lost a friend that day and the world lost a really good person. What he did for me, in our craziest years, has never left me. True kindness, never does.
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