I mentioned Ernest Hemingway in the last chapter by no coincidence. He is my favorite author. And every day I try to write most like he does with the full understanding that I will never be able to pull the emotional power and masculine stamina that he does into one line or paragraph. Yet, this classical writer may have been the first way that I ever connected with my uncle Kevin, truly. That is, of course, with exception to the times that he allowed my best friend Spencer and I to punch him in the stomach when we were in third grade.
Allow me to begin again by saying that my uncle Kevin is quiet. He is not quiet by judgement or contempt. My uncle Kevin is quiet by nature. By nature. What does that mean? That seems like such simple terminology. And it can be. But allow me to disavow that idealism by saying that it is not just a term that I use to describe my uncle, but a true disposition. He was true. God, yet again I pursue an adjective that can be so widely used yet so universally in vein. Truly. Idealistically. Naturally. Quiet. My uncle Kevin was quiet so that he could better understand people. Altruistically.
He stood like a man that you could always be friends with. He was tall without being overbearing. He was red without being angry. He had dark locks that went uncombed, yet drew you in rather than pushing you away. His standard glasses were surrounded by a face that was inviting, smiling, and almost always laughing, while telling a joke or receiving one.
This is where I feel ashamed.
As I said in chapter one, I had only begun to understand the depths of my uncle. In 2011, ignorant and stupid as I was at 24 years of age, I knew nothing of my uncle. As I said in chapter one, I had just begun learning about him. But that was but a fraction of his entirety. I returned to San Diego, after living in Las Vegas, with a wife, a career, and what I understood to be something to be proud of. I also returned with a new found knowledge, or so I thought, of the classic novels of the early 20th century. And surprising, stupidly surprising to me, my uncle and I connected on something that we could truly talk about for the first time.
I must admit that after reading two Dickens novels and one Hemingway, I felt like King Shit. God, the ignorance of a 24 year old. Granted, I will look back on this writing one day and say, “Fuck, the ignorance of a 27 year old.” But my uncle Kevin opened my eyes and discussed things with me that I truly and deeply enjoyed. It was at the coffee shop. And that was only just the beginning.