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My first year in Richmond, there were seven of us: me, my boyfriend Raven, Jessica, her boyfriend John, [livejournal.com profile] giantrobokitty, her boyfriend Ben aka Skulz, and Matthew.

Last night, Matthew was killed in a horrible car accident -- hit by a drunk driver around the corner from his house.

It's absolutely unfathomable.

Seven years ago, when we met, none of could have predicted where we'd be now.

Many of you remember what happened to Ben: He went to jail for killing Taylor Behl. Jessica lives in Louisiana. John is somewhere in Richmond. [livejournal.com profile] giantrobokitty has made a fabulous life for herself, with a great boyfriend and on the verge of graduating from VCU. Raven has gotten married (and legally changed his name to Raven). I've left my career behind to find happiness and have a girlfriend.

Matthew had finally found true love. He was 19 when I met him, and all he ever wanted was to have someone to love with all of his heart. It's been about seven months since I last saw him, out at Mars Bar, not long after I started dating Jess. At the time, I thought he was single. However, I think he started dating his girlfriend Jessica (and not the one who was part of our Gang of Seven) about the same time. [livejournal.com profile] giantrobokitty told me tonight that he and Jessica had moved in together and were doing really well. From reading Jessica's journal, it seemed as if he and she had both found the right person to love.

Matthew dreamed of stardom. He fronted a band. He DJed. He painted -- I think I still have one of his paintings, or at least, I hope I do. He christened himself "Matthew Paris," in part I think because he wanted to go to Paris. During that year, our magical year of drama and love and friendship, he complained that he didn't have a nickname and [livejournal.com profile] giantrobokitty said, "Your nickname should be Tippy." It stuck.

Matthew was part of my first threesome. He was in love with me for a while, tried to convince me to leave Raven because he wasn't treating me well. I loved Matthew too, but I couldn't date someone so much younger than me. (HA!) The night I broke up with Raven, Matthew came over to my apartment and kept me company. We watched The Virgin Suicides while I took out my braids (long story). He was always there for me in the aftermath of my relationship with Raven.

I've missed Matthew these last few years, but our lives went in different directions. [livejournal.com profile] giantrobokitty and he were best friends, so I still heard from Kit what was going on in Matt's life. I never thought that I wouldn't have a chance to get to know him again, someday when our lives came back together in the way that they do in Richmond.

It's been a long time since I really knew Matthew, so I have no claim on the type of grief that [livejournal.com profile] giantrobokitty has been going through. But this hits me in the middle of my chest -- it's hard to breathe. I can't even cry.

I've had a rough weekend -- I finally stopped my frantic running around and worrying about everything to touch the edges of my grief about my mother's health. I fell apart today. Jess and I had our first fight this weekend, too, and it was the biggest thing we've faced as a couple. My friend Mike's uncle died of lung cancer yesterday. My friend Leslie had a seizure and is in a bad way emotionally right now. Nothing was good for anyone this weekend.

I want to grieve for Matthew, but I think I'm in shock. It's unreal. Combined with everything going on in and around my life, I'm on overload.

I'll be out at Rox on Monday night, and at Mars Bar on Wednesday night, for wakes held by Matthew's friends. I have no words left, for them or myself.

Five of us left; four of us here in Richmond. Who knows what will happen to us?
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March 2007

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