Kay Malone is the kind of celebrity wife that everyone should aspire to be. She is kind and humble and it’s as if she has dedicated her whole life to spreading kindness and building meaningful relationships. She didn’t have to answer comments or reply to direct messages from “fans”, but she replied Budhi’s. She didn’t have to engage in conversations, but she did. And she certainly didn’t have to ask her husband to call Budhi that one morning, but she did.
In 2017, we went to the US for a holiday with the whole Santoso Family. We planned the destinations and the routes since the end of 2016, and decided that we would land in Los Angeles, go on a road trip to San Francisco through Mammoth and Yosemite, fly to Vancouver, take a cruise through Alaska, then fly back to Los Angeles before heading home. Our three-week holiday was all set. During that time, your Dad still kept his hopes up. He asked me, “When would be a good time to meet with Karl Malone and his family during this trip?”
“Well, that depends, babe. Does he want to meet you? Because we aren’t going to Salt Lake City or anywhere near Louisiana, where I assume Karl and his family would be,” I remember telling him.
“I will just DM Kay and ask if there’s any chance to meet.” And that was that. We didn’t discuss it anymore afterwards.
In June 2017, we went on our very first US trip as an extended family of 13. Everything went according to plan – well, accept for a few passport mishaps (which I will share on a separate post.) We stayed in Los Angeles for about four days before going on our road trip to San Francisco through Mammoth Mountain, where we stopped over for two nights. On the second day we were in Mammoth, while we were still in awe of the snow covered trees in the Summer, Budhi got a message from Kay Malone, asking him if we were still in LA, because SHE WAS THERE… WITH KARL!
I can’t remember anything more than the intensity of excitement I felt from your father, followed by confusion of almost the same magnitude. “What should I do?” He asked me. Almost immediately, without even waiting for an answer, he went online – using the spotty signal in the mountains – to search for flights that would take him back to LA, because he wouldn’t be able to drive on his own as we shared the car with Grandpa and Grandma, and as the drive alone would take him more than 6 hours.
A few moments later, however, he replied her text, saying that we’d left and “perhaps there would be a next time.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so lost – like he just watched his dream pass him by.
Almost a week and a half later, we were on a ship, cruising through Alaska. Our days were slow and easy, filled with non-stop eating and marvelling at the beauty of nature. During one of the chillax session on the deck, he was browsing through Instagram, he caught Kay sharing her stories of her annual fishing trip with Karl in Kenai, Alaska. He jumped out of his seat and almost shouted, “OMG! They’re in Alaska too!” and almost immediately – again – went online to search for flights from Anchorage (where we would be embarking from a few days later) to Kenai. “This is it, babe! My dream is coming true!” He told me with sheer excitement. I saw his eyes gleamed and twinkled. I saw hope.
That night, just before bed time, he told me, “When they land in Anchorage, we’ll still be on this boat. When we’re in Anchorage, they’d be in Kenai already. If I went to Kenai, I wouldn’t know if I’d be barging in on their private trip. And besides, we planned for Disneyland and San Diego Zoo and all the places that the kids are looking forward to visit. I can’t do that to them, right? There would be another time, right? God will still take care of it, right?”
I wasn’t sure if he was asking for affirmation or some kind of justification, but that night, I saw the twinkle and the gleam slowly disappear from his eyes.
We didn’t get to meet Karl and Kay Malone during that trip. However, what I saw as a series of sliding doors, like a tease on God’s part, your father saw hope. And he clung to it with all his might. “It was this close, babe. That’s enough for now,” he told me.
Just before we left the US, he texted Kay Malone one more time, to ask for their address, as he wished to send them something. She didn’t have to reply or even give it to him, but she did. And long after that, she never had to reply a single message, but she did. She didn’t have to foster friendship, but she did. And for that alone, we’re grateful.
The story doesn’t end there. But, here’s a spoiler:
She really is an amazing lady and it is truly a privilege to have had the chance to meet with her in person.
To be continued…