Kelvin, 37

He smiles a sad smile, a bit reserved, a bit wary, and I say hello. Would you like a bowl of soup. Yes, please, he says. I serve him up a healthy portion, he takes it from me and joins the others in the room who hunch over their steaming bowls, enjoying some comforting warmth on a cold day.

I’ve met Kelvin previously, he’s always polite, quiet, but he will talk if you engage. He is a good looking young man, keeps to himself mostly. I wonder what his story is?

After lunch he comes over to me and says can you help me please? I say yes, anything. He says, can you help me in the clothing room? I say sure. The two of us look though the clothing for what he needs…a pair of shorts that he can work out and go swimming in. I’m trying to get in shape he says, going to the Parkinson, but I need shorts. I find him a pair, and they look like the right size. Yes, those will work well, he says. Thanks.

Next time I see him he is running downtown, looking fast and fit and he doesn’t see me because I’m in the car with my husband, driving by him on the sidewalk and I say, I know that guy. And I tell my husband about how Kelvin is working on his fitness, how he is intentional about getting in shape, and doesn’t he look amazing? What an great story, my husband says.

Less than two weeks go by and I hear Kelvin has passed away. At first I don’t make the connection, the name, the person. Then I see his photograph. But…is all I can manage to think and say…but…how…

I meet a friend of Kelvin’s on the sidewalk outside the Mission. She is angry, in disbelief, wondering how can this be? They just spoke. He sounded so good. This can’t be true. What happened? I don’t know, I say. I listen. I promise to keep in contact over the few days that will include planning a memorial, and coming to terms with losing another young life.

I’m not used to this harsh reality, and wonder if I will ever be? Each time I hear we have lost a community member, I wonder who it is this time? I try to recall our last interaction. I think of being hopeless and alone, like that. I think of how we might have intervened, changed the outcome. I think about a lot of things.

Rest in Peace, Kelvin.


Story by Lesley-Anne Evans, photographs by Laurence East

Kelvin participated in a Metro Community collaborative creation of a clay vessel, facilitated by our potter Marijanel Knight. I’m fairly certain that Kelvin molded his piece of clay into a heart shape, which he is applying to the vessel in the photograph above. How beautiful that a part of Kelvin is still with us, now fired and glazed into the whole.


8 thoughts on “Kelvin

  1. Kelvin was a very good friend of mine , we have been friends for many yrs over 5 maybe more, sometimes when your on the streets , time and places , and events run together , but this will be with me for the rest of my life, kelvin was strugglin with his demons , mostly alcohol , i have been sober for almost ten yrs, i still struggle with my own health and wellbeing , but i have for many yrs done outreach , helping others to gain a sense of self confidence , and also so seek treatment, or meetings, well i went to visit my grandchildren , with plans for kelvin to come and stay a few days to get away from all the chaos at the mission , we had a great visit prior to my going , he made me dinner and we talked about what he wanted to accomplish and why he was determined to get sober, and stay on the path , he also was a god fearing man, His motivation was his daughter, we had alot in common, my children are of the same heritage , and i could relate to why he wanted to change his life for his daughter and to set a positive role model , he also was tired of living the life , as we say . I came home to find that he had died of a fentanyl overdose, which i still find it hard to accept as kelvin didn’t do hard drugs, so now i try to deal with the loss of my friend , Troy , i ask myself some days, when will it end , who will be next , I ask for gods protection and care over all those who are still suffering and those who are homeless. May god be with you . Kandy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Lesley for your kind words at last weeks metro barbecue, it is hard to deal with so many lifes lost and souls gone astray, but i needto remind myself that God has a greater plan than we can everh imagjne, those who go before prepared our house, i wish that addiction and death would take a permanent holiday, but that is ot our feality. I AM SADDENED for the death of our dear friend Rita. I Pray for her loved one and her and extended families in this time of loss. I really appreciate all your stories, and the books and your commitment to our community, Thanks again fof your clncdfn, it means alot , kandy

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Every time I see this story, my heart breaks. He was a wonderful person and I’m proud to say he was my friend. Things in this life are unfair people go to fast. I can still remember our last conversation and I will hold that with me forever.

    Liked by 1 person

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