page 26: this one’s for kai

elliott and kai. sandy beach, oahu. august 2010

on the day i found out kai passed away, i was riding muni on my way to work, scrolling through facebook on my phone. alotta times when people talk about death, they talk around death. so no matter how much i clicked and clicked through facebook, i couldn’t figure out what exactly happened to him. a little bit of me was certain he was gone, but mostly i was trying to confirm that. “rest in peace” is straightforward but at the time, unconvincing. 

kai was elliott’s kid brother. he was 18 when he passed, but i’d really only known him long before that. happy go lucky guy with a knack for getting pretty good at anything he picked up – piano and bmx, from what i remember. my memories of kai are hazy and endearing…frozen in time. he had a quiet enigma, but when he opened up, his kindness was this palpable energy. i can’t explain it. in my thoughts, he’s a handsome and goofy 13, 14 year old boy who spent time with me and elliott in the summers at the beach, my house, their house. he’d also be the one i’d reach out to to let me into their apartment when elliott and i got into big arguments and locked me out to get some space. looking back, i appreciate his patience in those less ideal times. 

i never saw kai after 2013 or 2014, but when i saw recent photos of him, i had a hard time wrapping my head around him looking so grown up. to me, he was still a kid. but in these photos, he was a taller young man with muscles and facial hair and larger hands and that same big smile.

the first thing i did when i heard about kai passing was reach out to elliott. things were chaotic and sad after we broke up, so we cut ties. two years later, reaching out felt familiar and cautionary, but i wanted to connect, understand, sympathize properly. i think we’re much better now. less manic, more nostalgic and grateful. it felt good to reminisce, i’ll leave it at that. 

time grows. time passes. time heals. rest in peace kai!

shot on holga 135bc
sandy beach aka sandy’s, oahu, august 2010

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