i’m seeing k briefly tonight.
i met k…maybe 13 years ago. she’s 7 years younger than me, so at the time, she was only in elementary school. the little sister of my dearest friend.
one of my earliest memories of her was when her sister and i were coming out after school, walking towards the car for our ride home, and k running up, short and skinny, with her mom’s bright red lipstick on – looking for a hug from her sister.
shortly after i left university, k did a retreat. and for the life of me, i can never remember where she went. but it was a third world country, and she was there as a volunteer.
we spent many late nights together in the year that she came back, keeping each other company on webcam until 3 in the morning. sometimes, she disappeared from the camera for hours. i would wonder where she went. the next day, she told me she had fallen asleep on the floor.
a conversation we had during one of those webcam nights was her telling me about her retreat. when it had come time to go home, the thought in her head was, i can’t leave. i can’t leave these kids here. she said she feared, when she came back, she would end back up in the bubble of materialistic needs and circles of superfluous conversations. that conversation left a deep impression on me. it was one of our first heart to hearts – not about love, and boys – but values outside of ourselves. i saw her differently for what she cared about. i realized that the awkward little girl with her mom’s lipstick had grown up.
this past fall, she went to india for an internship. she stayed there for three months, engaged in an organization that is (in her words) “a social enterprise working to end human trafficking through the rehabilitation of survivors.” i was so proud of her. what a journey to have in your back pocket. every picture she posted, i was so proud.
and i think the thing that moves me most is when i think back, all those years ago, to her telling me she couldn’t leave those kids there – is that in a way – she didn’t. because she went back. not to that same group of children, but to children, or people in general, that need people like her.
i think i have five minutes with her tonight. or maybe it’ll just be three. we are only seeing each other in passing, but i will look forward to it all.
love you k.