By John Kelly, columnist
The Washington Post
November 23, 2016
They first saw each other in 2012, outside the Forestville mall. Kelfa Taylor hadn’t planned what exactly he was going to say to Maria McNair if she agreed to speak with him — “I was just gonna go, just think of something to keep her busy and maybe go out,” he recalled with a chuckle recently — but, as it happened, she wasn’t interested in talking.
Kelfa was more successful the next time he tried to strike up a conversation at the mall. He got Maria’s phone number, they texted and talked, they went on one date, then another. Eventually they became a couple, inseparable.
More than a couple, actually. There was Maria’s young son, Desmond, and Kelfa’s son, Kamari.
They found an apartment in Southeast Washington in 2013 and made plans to move in together. The weekend of the move, Kelfa got a call at the McDonald’s that he managed.
“They said my son, he passed away,” Kelfa said.
Kamari had been beaten to death by the boyfriend of the 4-year-old’s mother.
Many tribulations would follow, lost jobs among them, but through it all one thing was constant: “She was there with me,” Kelfa said of Maria. “She was there through everything. Through ups, downs, she was there. . . . It would have been easy for her just to leave me. She didn’t do that. She stayed by my side.”
And so did Community of Hope, a charity that aids homeless families in the District and is a partner in The Washington Post Helping Hand.
Story continued in The Washington Post.