So as I mentioned, I was detained by the police for 7 hours. The first few hours were at Kesner’s house. Talithea, Felicia and I sat in his living room while detectives swarmed the house. They even had the guy that comes with the camera to take pictures of the crime scene. I was not allowed back upstairs but I was not allowed to leave either. I was interviewed several times by different people about the chain of events. It felt like ground-hog day; I had to re-live the whole thing over and over.After several hours passed the representative from the coroner’s office arrived to remove Kesner’s body from the house. They were going to bring him down the stairs and they suggested that I go outside so that I didn’t have to experience that up close. I walked onto the porch where many had gathered by this time. They were mostly Kesner’s fraternity brothers and they let me know that they had reached Kesner’s brother and that he and his mother were on their way.
After they removed Kesner from the house we all left and I had to go to the police station to give an official statement. Felicia and Talithea came with me. My mother was calling for updates every 20 minutes and my friends were beginning to rally.
I have incredible friends.
I didn’t really know what to expect in a situation like this, nothing like this had ever happened to me. I guess maybe I thought I would just go home to my apartment and go to bed – I hadn’t gotten that far in my thinking. But my incredible friends knew the power of the ministry of presence. They were rallying. Dropping everything to come to New Jersey and be with me.
My friend Courtney, who lives in Ohio, got on the phone with the crew: Klay. Monet. Jessie. Andrea. and they were all on their way. Klay and Monet were driving in from New York. Andrea was on the train from New York. Jessie was driving from Maryland. (Tears are welling up in my eyes as I type this)
My friends were coming to be with me.
While the crew was making their way to New Jersey, Talithea, Felicia and I were STILL at the police station. I was telling the story over and over again to the detectives, and by this time I was absolutely exhausted. When we were finally wrapping up – around 11PM - I received word that Kesner’s mother had arrived in town and she was on her way to the police station. My heart jumped up to my throat. I wanted to see her but I was also afraid. Would she blame me for this?
Would she blame me for not being there to save Kesner’s life?
After we’d been at the station for an hour, two of Kesner’s brothers and his mother arrived. The detectives greeted them and spoke with them privately in a room. Then they called me back to join them. His mom spoke to me softly - in a pain filled whisper – she said: “Kim, what happened? Did he eat? I tried to reach him but he didn’t call me back…”
I don’t remember what I said. I only remember that the interaction was very short and very sad. Soon it was time for us to go. We were being ushered downstairs to the lobby of the police station.
I saw Monet first. in a bright yellow rain coat. She came up to me and hugged me and whispered in my ear :”Jessie’s here.” What a selfless thing to say, I thought. She was there too.
Then I felt Klay come beside me, on my right, he slid his arm around my waste. I felt so weak and tired, it was becoming hard to stand on my own.
Then Jessie, Soul Friend. Jessie approached me and stood on my left side and put her arm around my waste also; the two of them together were holding me up.
There were many people in the lobby. And then suddenly through the crowd of voices I heard my name:
It was Kesner’s mother, this time very loud and audible. piercingly strong, she said:
“KIM, WHERE IS HE?”
She spoke with such authority, confidence and strength that the entire waiting room became silent.
“Where is he? Take me to him! Tell them to take me to him NOW! I want to see him tonight! He is NOT DEAD!! He is sleeping. I will tell him to get up! I will tell him to get up just like LAZARUS! Take me to him now, I WANT TO SEE MY SON!”
We were standing face-to-face. She was flanked on either side by two people who had traveled with her, just as I was flanked on either side by Jessie and Klay.
I just looked at her. eyes glazed over. weak. I couldn’t speak. I had no words.
I was thinking to myself:
yes. Lazarus. Why hadn’t I thought about Lazarus? Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in John chapter 11. Why hadn’t I considered Lazarus? Maybe if I had gone into the house with absolute faith and absolute confidence and said:” Kesner Get Up!” Maybe he would have gotten up. Maybe he would be alive right now and we would be together praising God and laughing about how crazy that whole thing was. Why hadn’t I thought about Lazarus?
I couldnt speak. no words were coming out. I just looked at her, blankly. And that is when Monet stepped in so gracefully.
Monet stood face to face with Kesner’s mother, she looked her in the eyes and she said softly: “I am a minister.” Kesner’s mother said to her: “Do you know the miracles of God?“…Monet said: “I know ALL of the miracles of God.” His mom said “Do you know about Lazarus? God raised Lazarus from the dead!” Monet said “yes, I know about Lazarus.” His mom said to Monet: “I want to see my son.”
Monet went to go check with the officers to see if they would allow her to see him that night. Unfortunately it was too late and she would have to wait until the following morning. She was disappointed but Monet reminded her: “Remember, Lazarus was dead for three days and God raised him. You can see him in the morning.” His mother said: “yes, three days. I remember. I will see him tomorrow and I will tell him to get up.”
And I thought to myself: yes. her faith is strong. stronger than mine. she will see him tomorrow and she will tell him to get up… and he will get up.
We left the police station and we headed to Talithea’s house. I had to stop back by Kesner’s because my car was still parked there and I wanted to go inside and take two things: The tee-shirt and shorts that he had been wearing on the last day that we were together. I had seen them on the bathroom floor and I wanted them because they still had his smell on them. I would need to smell him in the days to come.
Klay came into Kesner’s house with me and by this time there were many people in his house, including his ex-girlfriend. Before all of this, his house seemed like our private one-on-one space, but now our space was filled with many people and personalities and commotion.
Kesner and I both valued privacy and our privacy was gone.
I wanted to get out of there. I quickly ran upstairs and grabbed the clothes. But as Klay and I were preparing to leave, a random woman (random to me) said “Let’s Pray!” This was a woman that I had never seen before (I actually had never seen most of these people who were gathered in his house). I think she was from his church. She wanted us all to stand in a circle and pray. I didn’t feel like praying but I acquiesced.
She prayed one of those really long preachy prayers where your voice just gets louder and louder but you’re not really saying anything. I wanted it to be over. I lifted my head and opened my eyes and looked around this room of people who I didn’t know. they were moaning and crying and shouting “YES LORD!” I would have left but we were holding hands. I couldn’t wait for this long preachy prayer to be over!
when we finally said Amen, Klay and I split immediately and headed over to Talithea’s house around the corner. When I walked through the door, there was my Andrea; she was the last to arrive that night.
We all sat around and looked at each other. They each told the story of their escapades in getting there: Monet and Klay were inches away from a very dramatic car accident – they did a complete 360 spin on the NJ Turnpike in the rain. Andrea had done the Flo Jo/OJ Simpson run through Penn Station to make one of the last trains out of The City. And Jessie had to speed rush a goodbye with her parents in Maryland to make it to NJ. But they all made it.
My incredible friends were there.
Then the door bell rang – Adela, my sorority sister, was there with a box of donuts. And shortly after, Kim, another soror, also arrived. Everyone was pretty hungry so Talithea started pulling appetizers out of her freezer and preparing them for my friends – this was around the time that I stopped eating. But it was really random she had so many appetizers: shrimp skewers, baby beef patties, mini pizza’s, pigs in blankets – so random! My friends had a good laugh about it.
I was present but I wasn’t. I kept drifting away into the recesses of my mind, I was in slow motion but every once and a while I would join the conversation. The day felt like it had been split in half, like it had been two separate days. There was the good part of the day: at the conference, presenting on the panel, having discussions about PhD funding.
And then there was the awful part.
I was reflecting: I remembered driving by Kesner’s house that morning at 7:30AM and not going inside. Had I gone inside I would have found his dead body then and I never would have made it to Rutgers that day. It was like a force had prevented me from finding him until I had made some significant inroads into my future.
It was a pocket of Grace.
We sat around Talithea’s living room for an hour or two. It was almost 1AM when we began to consider where we would all stretch out and sleep for the night. Talithea had been generous to open her home and invite my friends and I to stay.
Then Jessie said: “Friend, I can go by the house and feed the cats for you if you like.”
The House – I thought.
The Country House!
I had forgotten that in the midst of all this I was still house-sitting. And at this magnificent House! Why were we trying to figure out where we would sleep at Talithea’s when we could all stretch out very comfortably at The Country House?
And then it was decided. We packed up our things, and in two carloads, my friends and I embarked on the 30 minute drive out to Hopewell, NJ.
We were headed to The Country House.
© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011