Thursday, July 30, 2009

For Kim

Twenty-nine years ago or so this goofy looking socially awkward kid took it upon himself to stand up for a little girl who seemed to be getting the short end of the stick at a family gathering.. a couple of years later that ongoing role was captured on film.

This is a rare shared memory between Kim and I, and perhaps a beginning to something which led to where I am today. Regardless, I was made better for my interaction with that little girl, perhaps even when we reconnected as adults telling ribald stories and keeping the family traditions in liquid refreshment..

We both recalled the day of this photo, and I the Easter which started this role for me. For a person who lives very much in the moment, this shared memory stands as a landmark for me, reminding me that though I walk a solitary path usually blazing it as I go, there are times, or were times when that path crossed others and was better for it.

I took some heat in recent years for offering Kim a place to live while she sorted our her life, a time which some have demeaned by claiming mental illness on her part, chalking up the effort to learn and live to being bipolar, but I know better. Kim had her problems, including medical problems, but she was no more bipolar than the earth is a cube. Her memory deserves better.*

She and I often did not see eye to eye as adults, but we each saw that the other was walking a path with intention and some degree of strength. We each knew that the other has flaws, but respected one another nonetheless.

Kim grew into a woman I sometimes grudgingly liked, but always loved. She could annoy me at the same time that she made me laugh out loud. She expected great things of herself and of the world.

She expected me to be her protector, drinking buddy, sounding board, and honestly I probably don't know what else. I probably did not excel at any of these, but I did what I could when I could, and I will cherish the memories of the various times, from the little girl in her Easter dress to the woman ordering her own special concoction from the bartender who she had already worked into the palm of her hand..

Our time was far too short cousin.. my efforts too little.. my thanks always left unspoken. I am headed to Austin which you loved, and I will drink your silly girlie drink concoction in your memory.. It is too little and too late, but thank you for helping me to become who I am.

*no offense intended to anyone truly suffering from bipolar, the comments are directed at the falseness not the particular accusation.

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