May is Matt’s birthday.
Matt was my first ‘boyfriend’, my first ‘real love’. In fact, there is still a teeny tiny bit of my heart, way in the back, which loves him still.
I remember the horrible childish circumstances to which our ‘relationship’ started. My best friend at the time Katie and I made a contest. Who could kiss Matt first.
Although I was pleased I ‘won’ the contest, I failed to tell Katie that I actually had a crush on Matt. Later on, I would find out she did too.
It was the summer before we started high school. We were about 13, and awkward. Matt had floppy blond hair, parted in the middle. He was tall and slender and very toned. He had friendly blue eyes and a wonderful warm smile complete with metal braces. That was Matt’s geeky phase. Sweaters, khaki pants, running shoes with the laces untied. He was strikingly handsome. Even in his geeky phase.
Matt lived up the street from me, so it was convenient to hang out. And I think that pretty much all we did, hang out.
I remember spending what seemed like hours kissing. Trial by fire as it were. Both of us inexperienced; experiencing all these new feelings and sensations together. It was all very sweet, innocent and young.
At the end of the summer things started to get ‘rocky’ – Matt was told about the ‘contest’ and he was angry with me. I tried to explain. He didn’t understand.
We broke up.
I was devastated and utterly heart broken. No matter how much crying and groveling I did, Matt would not ‘take me back’.
We however continued to enjoy benefits, (The sweet, innocent and young kind), until well after Christmas that school year.
He started to hang out with a new crowd in high school, and myself too was becoming friends with a totally different group of people-we drifted apart. He grew his hair long and straight, shaved from underneath. He often kept it back in a pony tail. His sweaters and khakis were replaced with over-sized hoodies and jeans. I remember people asking me all through my grade 9 year how I ever got to date someone like Matt. I should have been offended at the insinuation, instead I was proud. He was cool, and therefore I was cool by association.
I remember his first ‘serious’ girlfriend after me, Karen. I remember feeling utter jealousy towards her. Part of me always felt that Matt and I would get back together. I wanted to hate her. I wanted to hit her. But I couldn’t, because she was really a nice girl!
Matt’s path continued to take a much different turn than mine. He started to get involved with people that were probably not the best influence for him. He experimented with drinking and drugs and soon developed addiction habits.
Because we didn’t hang out often, there was really nothing I could do – but worry about him.
The few times we did hang out, I remember always telling him I was there for him. Anytime he wanted to talk all he had to do was walk up the street.
Once at Jen’s house while we were swimming her pool he told me that he still loved me, and wished we could have ‘worked things out’ all that time ago. It was crushing because at the time I felt the same. In that moment I imagined our time of sweet, innocent and young moments, and I wanted nothing more than to kiss him, and hold him again. But he was with someone else then, what horrible timing.
Even though socially things were quickly becoming a train wreck, he still devoted a lot of time to sports. He played Lacrosse (he was very gifted), as well a mountain biking and skiing.
My future husband and Matt were both on the school ski team. Although everyone involved with the ski team ‘incident’ (a ton of high end skis were taken, and put into the back of my father-in-laws van without his knowledge) have to this day stayed tight lipped. I know Matt was not the instigator, he simply had given into peer pressure.
Recently at a family dinner my Father in Law was talking about that ‘incident’ (unfortunately for my Brother in Law, he got ‘blamed’ for what happened at one point) he sat there putting Matt down. I piped up and defended Matt. I know because I experienced first hand what a genuine and gentle person he is. He was always that person, even though he was lead a stray. I still don’t believe my Father in Law knows my connection with Matt.
Its been years since I spoke to Matt. I remember running into him when I was walking home from work on day when I still lived at home. He was walking his dog. We said we’d get together, catch up, talk. Hang out. We never did. I wish we had.
The last I heard about him is that he got the job he always dreamed of. I’m proud of him.
I’m sitting here, reminiscing and wondering how he is. Is he is loved? Is he happy? Is he content?
With the love of friendship I hope all those things for him.