I ramble aimlessly letting word after word tumble over each other in an attempt to say something clever, witty, humorous, or insightful. But for some things, there just aren’t words.
He was a beautiful boy, curls that any girl would envy and those impossible lashes. He was always just there, my best friend’s younger brother. He tormented us, we tormented him. What could be worse for a young man than having his sister’s friends, a gaggle of annoying giggling girls, invade his home for a night or more? He was a cutie, a heartbreaker before he even knew what to do with it, and we teased him about it without mercy. I think he’d finally just barricade himself in his room with enough sandwiches and soda to survive the duration of our stay.
He was the classic good guy. He “dated” my high school sweetheart’s younger sister. That was before he could drive, and I remember once or twice giving him a ride so he could go sit on the sofa in the family room with her for a few hours and watch movies. I enjoyed his company on the ride home, even if it did mean I had to accommodate the curfew of someone a few years younger than myself.
Back then he was just starting out on guitar. Nerves and embarrassment would overcome him 20 seconds into whatever we asked him to play. I had to laugh when I heard he’d played part of “Sex and Candy” for his girl. “Easy there, Buck-o,” I believe was her big brother’s response.
I’ll never forget his dad handing him his guitar at high school graduation, gently looping the strap over his head. His dad taught him and inspired him, and had every right to be proud when the National Anthem poured out over the gymnasium. It was Jimi Hendrix style, of course, and the stale air of that old building has probably never been that alive before or since.
I went to see him play at a coffee house a few years back, one of his first real gigs with his band. I was struck by the fact that while some musicians seem to pose with their guitar while playing it, his seemed to be a part of him, like he was born to it. He was a grown man by that point, of course, even if I still saw him almost as my own kid brother.
Good kid will always be that first thing I think of when I think of him. He loved his family. He went to church. He played gigs with his band, but made time to bring his skills to his church community as well. He didn’t do it for show, but for love. And it hasn’t sunk in even yet that as of a few hours ago, I will forever in the future have to refer to him in the past tense.
Matt and his girlfriend were in a car accident. Neither made it. It is still not real to me. I had to think about him and write about him in an effort to come to grips with it. I ask for your prayers for his family. I feel sure they will need them more than he does. I have no doubt as to where his soul rests, it is in the same place it has always been. Like I said, he was a good kid.