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the beautiful destruction

Thursday, May 05, 2005

There Are Others There To Breathe For You

It's been a serious week—car trouble, work-related aggravation, homeowner drama, and an overall somber mood on my part. Most of which hasn't been mentioned, mainly because I feel it's just so damn boring. As some of you may have noticed, the posts haven't exactly been bubbling with joy. But, when placed beneath the weight of the mundane and un-extraordinary, my mood tends to plummet. But there was one incredible moment this week that deserves mention: 11 years ago, this week, I first met Michelle. This is the time we officially consider our anniversary (yes, there is that other day, the wedding anniversary, that competes and often overshadows this day).

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Pictured: Matthew & Michelle (he, he), illustrated by Ashley Wood for his POPBOT series.

We were both young. I was 17, Michelle 19. Her hair was cut short then, bouncing in straight locks at her chin and dyed a fiery red. She often pinned back the longer strands with a barrette—a minute detail which I loved.
We had known of each other in high school but were never really friends. But I always wanted to know her, it seemed we shared something quiet and familiar, and potentially incredible.

It was strange that we crossed paths in the post-high school limbo that my life had become. After dropping out in mid-11th grade, I had lost all interest in my surroundings, opting to sit in the confines of my parents' house playing guitar for 10-12 hours at a time. I still saw friends, but felt things were slipping away from me, like the air had turned cold, become unbreatheable.

High school had been a bad experience (though it also had its share of brilliant moments). In ninth grade, after years of academic excellence, I began to care very little about studying. My moods wandered, shifting from sad to black and bottomless. In 10th grade, I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. And, as if dealing with the odd quirks of having to apply deodorant in a ritualistic manner (a practice that left my armpits raw) and count every footstep I took wasn't hinderance enough, I stumbled into an odd and dramatic relationship with a girl—a situation I could have done without.

After twisting downward for far too long, and dealing with school counselors, school programs for troubled youth, medicine, therapy, and any other quasi-solutions to my rather normal teenage condition, my parents let me quit school—on the promise that I get a job and my GED. The GED part was simple. I didn't study because I didn't care. But the trade off of sitting in a room for one day for 6-8 hours and taking a test to escape the final year and a half of high school seemed too good to be true. So I sat and wrote essays, filled in the bubbles on the Scantron test sheet, struggled with the math, and soared through the history. I almost enjoyed it. The woman grading the exams liked me, told me to wait around for about fifteen minutes and she'd give me my results. When I returned she was smiling like a proud aunt. Not only did I pass, she said I had scored incredibly high. Victory number one: Partial confidence restored.

I wanted to continue here with my victory theme. However, you can't really consider love or fate something you claim. It is something that just happens. And Michelle and I happened at just the right moment. The night we met, I was hanging around with an old friend of mine, doing just about nothing, and he was wearing on my nerves as usual. I didn't drive, so mooching rides was kind of my M.O. We were at the mall and bumped into Michelle, spoke to her for a bit and hung out. My friend was trying to be suave I think... but he was somewhat of a goof, so it was more a source of humor. Michelle later met up with us for fine Mexican cuisine at Taco Bell. As usual, my friend began complaining that he had to get home (he probably had school the next day... not me). Michelle was going to oakland to meet up with some of her friends, so I decided to tag along. We talked in the car on the way to Oakland, and while I felt a bit nervous, I also felt extremely comfortable and safe at the same time. We ended up at the CMU campus, visited some friends of Michelle's, a sordid crew of folks she had met at different raves over the past year or so. We then moved to another house, a story with several amusing historical details that are too time-consuming to get into.

Later that night we ended up outside my parents' house. The moment was strange and beautiful, forever tucked in my thoughts. She was saying goodbye, but we still stood there for a moment. Then I leaned in and kissed her. After that we drank orange juice in my parents' kitchen, leaning against the Formica countertop, while my Dad sat at the kitchen table. I remember the orange juice was filled with pulp, so we joked that if you used your teeth, you could strain out the pulp, hence creating pulp-free juice. A small but useful nugget of information.

We then became inseperable and still are to this day. My mother used to say: "Michelle saved you." And that is true. She came into my life at the perfect time and saved me from destroying myself. I owe her everything. She cares for me, loves me, keeps me safe, keeps me sane, keeps me invigorated, keeps me laughing, keeps me thinking, keeps me striving and moving forward. There is a quote, one of which Michelle knows the origin, that is appropriate: "When you can't breathe, there are others there to breathe for you." Michelle does this for me often. I love you Michelle, you're the Bonnie to my Clyde. Happy Anniversary.

12 Comments:

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Sugar said...

I am sitting here with tears in my eyes from reading that. :)

 
At 2:17 PM, Anonymous Mrs. Newton said...

As I read your beautiful words, I am flooded with so many memories. All of the laughter and a few tears. It feels like the day we met was so long ago, but in a flash I remember being there with you, out side your parents house. I remember the full moon, and the cotton mouth I had that prompted the orange juice incident. I remeber meeting Kelly and your dad in the kitchen. I remember how we bonded over our passion for music, yours for guitar and mine for dancing.I remember the giddy car ride home after we kissed. And how I longed to be with you every day of my life after that.

You, my love have also saved ,mostly from myself.

 
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