Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun
I want to write of fire and rain, of carbon destroyed by the very pressures that briefly turned it into diamond, of supernovas and chaos, of disappointment and love. The truth is that my limitations as a writer make it impossible for me to do justice to the complex individual that was Matt Reagon.
Matt was chaotic and fabulous and terrible and brilliant and destructive and charming and arrogant. He was never invisible. He never swallowed his pride and he never tempered his rage because circumstances demanded he do so. He never took the easy way. He fought, even when fighting was ill-advised and he struggled with demons that most of us can barely imagine. There was never a middle ground, you loved him or hated him.
I thought I could just write down all my memories of Matt, in the hopes that a collage of experiences might allow glimpses into who he was
There was a brief period of time when we called him Pleasure Boy (his high school girlfriend had visited and written something on him and Zil had teased him saying she must have written “hands off, Matt is my pleasure boy”—or maybe she actually wrote that and Zil saw it, I can’t remember). Then we stopped because too many people started doing it and it felt wrong.But really, these are just funny stories from when we were practically children, they don't really tell you anything about the man he grew up to become. Really, they just are about who we were back then, or maybe who we thought we were. Who was that?
We saw the film, Damage, and found it to be pretty awful. At one point, Jeremy Irons, with perfect PoMo inarticulateness, choked out, “I’ve never felt” and Matt shouted out “An erection.” Immature, yes, but if you have ever seen the film, it actually rings true.Matt, aware that I was afraid of rats, would chase me around the room trying to get me to pet Finnegan, Tracy's pet rat.
And part of my problem is that so many of my memories are about Tracy and, maybe, the whole story of Matt, as far as I am concerned, is about Tracy. Because while I was friends with Matt, I didn’t connect to him the way I connected with Tracy and we might not have stayed friends after college except that he was married to Tracy. Even before their separation and subsequent divorce, my relationship with him had devolved to small talk if he happened to pick up the phone when I was calling her.
Fred says he can’t imagine a world without Matt in it. I thought it an odd thing to say, considering Matt has not really been a part of our lives for years, but the more I think about it, the more true it seems. In a way I can’t articulate, I never stopped being Matt’s friend and I hope he never stopped being mine. And the world seems a little more empty now.
I don't really think I can do him justice in words. So why am I here, pretending he is Seymour Glass and I am J.D. Salinger? Because I am remote, my loss is not concrete, so I must try to define it for you as I try to define it for myself. The truth is that I didn't know the man who lived and died in 2008, I am mourning the boy I knew years ago and our shared past. However, I can say the Matt I knew was restless and that didn't change, so I hope that Matt’s soul has found the peace he was not able to find in life.
Please note, Tracy created a website where people can go to remember Matt, read the obituaries, and see pictures of him and the non-traditional family. As she noted in the Reed obituary, Matt viewed the creation of this family as his great accomplishment in life.