Updated: Sep 27, 2021
Before you read this one, make sure to read: https://www.hadleykmcc.com/post/the-stranger-at-the-beach first!
It was two years later, our senior year of college and my friend and I were meeting up for a drink. As we sat down at the highboy in the bar on 6th street just after we ordered our beers she turns to me. "Oh Hadley, our chapter president said someone called for you tonight."
My friend and I were not in the same sorority in college, so it was odd that I would be getting a call at her sorority house. She continued, "yea, apparently some guy named Kevin from Georgia called asking for you."
We were stumped. We couldn't remember a Kevin from Georgia.
After my spring break all night talk session had ended and "Hot Kevin" left for what seemed like would be forever, we became friends with another group of guys from Georgia. The Georgia Tech boys were around our age, maybe just a few years older. They were loud, hilarious and southern. Just what we liked.
We spent the rest of spring break meeting up with them at the bars and on the beach. They even came to visit us in Texas that following summer.
We made good friends, we didn't find love, but they were a hilarious group and they were who we kept in touch with. So when a mysterious Kevin called her sorority house looking for me, we were racking our brains. We went through all the names of the ones we remembered. Hunter, Cav, Greg...It's been over 20 years, that's all I can remember at this point. And nope, none of them was a Kevin.
And she continued. "Well he told her that he remembered that sorority from the shirts we were wearing at the beach, and that we went to The University of Texas." So he did what people do in the '90's, he called information. He got the number for UT, then asked for the number of their sorority house. They gave him the number of the president. Can you imagine it being that easy?
This was merely a few months before my friends were graduating in May, I wasn't set to graduate until December of 2001, but everyone would have been long gone from the sorority house had he waited any later.
Then it dawned on us, at the exact same time, "Oh my god, Hot Kevin?" Could it be the guy I stayed up talking to late into the night, early into the morning, that left, never to be seen or heard from again? I took the post-it note with his number written on it and shoved it into my purse. I would find out for certain tomorrow, but tonight, we party.
The next day I could hardly wait to dial that number, to see if it really was him. His voicemail picked up, and that voice, that southern draw without much concern was instantly recognizable. "Kevin, this is Hadley, I think you called for me." He called back and we picked up where we left off 2 years earlier.
We continued talking on the phone every few weeks, picking up where we left off before. No beat skipped, no news too big.
The phone calls stopped for nearly 6 months, I didn't know what happened. I had no way of finding out. Until one day, right before I graduated and left Austin for good, my phone rang again. "Hey, it's Kevin". No time lost, no beat skipped. He was an avid cyclist, dreamed of one day doing the Tour de France. He told me while out on one of his rides, he was hit by a car and thrown off his bike. His helmet saved his life, but the damage to his back would end his dreams of going to France. He wasn't mad, he wasn't sad, he accepted what had happened and was focusing on healing, but that, he said, is why he hadn't called. Apologetic, unnecessarily so.
Our calls would continue infrequently, but over the next two years. He ended up taking a contracting job that brought him to my hometown in Texas, of all places, but I was living in New York. By the time I got back for a visit, he had already left and was back in Georgia.
I was going to fly through Atlanta on my way to my sister's wedding in Mississippi. He got a friend to drive him to the airport. I remember landing in ATL and checking my messages, with that deep, southern accent he said "I'm at Houlihan's and I've ordered you a beer." My flight was delayed leaving New York and I had 15 minutes to make it across the airport to catch my connecting flight, in turn, I missed our connection.
Our phone calls faded again, a few years went by, a few moves too. I would think of him from time to time, but never reached out.
One day, in late December of 2011, I was sitting at my office late one night and my office phone rang. I looked over at the caller ID and all I saw was the name of the city and Georgia showing up. I remember my heart skipping a beat as I answered. "Hey, it's Kevin". Didn't skip a beat, no time had passed, we picked up where we left off. This was just a few weeks before I was leaving this job, and only a month before I was leaving the country. Kevin's timing has always been incredible.
We kept in touch when I was living in Santiago. I was very close to convincing him to getting his passport and making a visit, but it didn't work out. I got into a relationship and our calls faded again.
Kevin and I have remained phone pals for over 20 years. Give or take a few years, give or take a few relationships that didn't work out. The only picture I have of Kevin is one that was taken in Destin, Florida in 1999. We haven't exchanged photos, we've never facetimed, I haven't met his family nor he mine. He isn't on social media and thankfully never made any type of news to be googled. But it has been one of the most cherished and caring two ships passing in the night relationships I've ever had. It is based on mutual respect, care and friendship.
As the years have gone on and my body has changed and my eyes have grown tired, he remembers the way I looked then and the conversations we have now, and he still calls me beautiful. And as the years have gone on and he says he looks the same and his hair is shorter, I still think of him as Hot Kevin.
And it continues to go on, with promises to meet again in person one day, but maybe not. And it is with the comfort in knowing we might grow old together, but far a part.