Monday, April 29, 2013

Matt came to visit, it had been a few years

Matt came to visit. It's been two years since I've seen him. The last time was at Stephen's funeral, a bewildering few days in Connecticut; I spent the whole time scraping my finger nails against my skin trying to peel off the layer of dirt that covered me. In our grief we were strangers to one another. I drove away angry and pretty certain that I would never see Matt or Tino again. And that was it for me and kayaking, for a long time, if not forever.

But two years passed, and those ragged memories faded. Now I can now think about Stephen and our days on the river without crying. I think about Matt and remember months and months on the road and our ludicrous job of keeping everything together, from South America to Canada, the siete tazas, goats drowning on the Rio Achibueno, campfires on the banks of the Ottawas, jokes we used to make about coffee which made my boyfriend at the time angry, that we'd be sharing jokes like that, although now I can't remember what they were. Or how they could illicit anger.  

Matt and I have a friendship sealed by working for that school, a strange and wild place based on a river in West Virginia, by our mutual devotion for all the kids who went there, and in particular Stephen, because we'll never see him again.
I had only been back in the pacific northwest for one day when I went to collect Matt from the train station. Funny, I'd been thinking of leaving, but now that I had a visitor I couldn't remember why. I felt so proud of my home, the place that felt so decidedly mine: my city, my beach. We had a few dark, rainy days and then a break in the clouds, a patch of clear, colorful days when my heart almost burst with pride at the sudden, severe beauty of the place- the mountains out in astounding clarity, Rainier impossibly huge on the horizon, white ships gliding on the blue Puget sound.

Even Matt paused a few times, struck by the grandeur of the place, and he's not one for moments of sincerity. Matt is half loner cowboy and half West Virginia cynic, six feet six and darkly hilarious.
I showed him the classics- pike place market, the Ferris wheel on the dock, capitol hill in the evening, the rancid gum wall and open fields of Discovery. We ate every meal at a different restaurant. We lay around a lot and talked a lot, and when I dropped him off at Kings Street station I said I hope we don't go years without seeing each other again.

But we probably will, and it probably won't matter.  Some people in your life, they're just cemented in place.


Lucy Marie said...

You have a lot of very good looking men in your life, what is your secret ;) Love your blog girl.

Liz Stout said...

Reading this, bopping back to your entry about Stephen, I'm realizing that we almost have to know some of the same people. I didn't boat much, I don't have the cajones for it. I sold my little river runner and bought a puppy instead - but I dated a boater for a long time. I knew all his friends. I attended memorials for several boater friends of his (and mine I suppose). Climbing, boating, WV....hell we could have even bumped into one another unbeknownst to us at some point.

At any rate - you write beautifully and I love the unique style in which you tell about your pursuits.

Susan said...

Matt is a cutie!

Anonymous said...

those photos!!

Susan said...

My goodness, he is a looker.

SmithShack71 said...

Uh, six feet six of Oh yeah.


ps If you ever make it to my part of KY, I so gotta get a pic with the flask. It's becoming iconic! Love it.

Anonymous said...

there is a hot Jesus if I have ever seen one :)

Melina said...

Angie, sounds great, we'd fill it with KY moonshine!

Kristin said...

Thought of you this week and the texting volley. I met a guy. He asked me out. Two good dates and a sense of promise.....some more texting, and then crickets.... totally fell off the grid. ugh. I hate the no response trend. I miss rejection letters too. On a happy note, love reading about your travels and visitors. :)

bundlesofbliss on IG

Kristin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacki said...

You really do have a wealth of handsome man-friends! ;) Some people really are cemented in place, isn't that the truth.

MattSmink said...

Wow Melina that was great, Thanks!

I'd love to get some of those pictures off of you. I need a new facebook profile pic. :)