(From the diaries. As a community, we grieve together -- kos)
was the e-mail response to my request of Matt for a “sidebar.” It made me laugh. Soon we were keyboard pals. Kindred spirits being alternately mildly amused and slightly horrified at the dKos, post-Dean implosion, madness. And truly horrified by what was in store for all of us come November ‘04. Yet, Matt was the optimist to my pessimism. While we agreed that it was “bye, bye Daschle,” he thought my projections of a 53-54 seat GOP majority in the Senate and a Kerry popular vote win by three to four million and EC loss was unduly pessimistic. Two days later, we weren’t laughing about anyone’s optimism.
Matt preferred my real name because it was the same as his favorite teacher, Sister M-M. She believed in the little boy that couldn’t play baseball or any other sport. With her he didn’t feel like the weird little gay kid trapped in a heartland that had no use for him. From her he heard that he wasn’t dumb but very smart. Thus, and soon thereafter, the library became a second home for an eight year old, odd duck . He quickly developed a passion. Not so much for books but records. Each week he checked out and lugged home a stack of them. (Hey, it was the fifties, TVs were in black and white and eight track tapes, not to mention cassette tapes, cds and I-Pods, was far in the future.)
By the time he was twelve, he’d mastered four or five languages with those foreign language records. Skills that turned into his ticket out of the Mid-West and on to college and NYC. His facility for languages seemed not to have any bounds. Only constrained by the limits of time. Although he admitted that as he aged it took more effort for him to learn a new one or brush up on one that he hadn‘t used for several years. At one time or another, he’d had command of more than twenty languages. Not all of which he made use of as a professional linguist. Recently he translated Japanese crime novels, a tiny niche market. Not much money in it, but immensely satisfying to his iconoclastic interests.
A new love came into Matt’s life a couple of years ago. After a few months, he was ready to take his partner home to meet his family. He described his committed Catholic mother as having mellowed over the years. As a Mom first and Catholic second, her arms were wide open to Matt and anyone he loved. Dad was then so ga-ga that he didn‘t care who Matt brought home as long as it was a Democrat. Those few days couldn’t have been happier for Matt.
Matt generously critiqued a few pieces I wrote for The Left Coaster before I published them. He pulled me back from naming who I sensed was Jeff Gannon’s WH squeeze. Probably sparing me flack in the short-term and embarrassment if Gannon ever disclosed the identity of his john A minor Bu$hCo mystery that may or may not have been impenetrable to Matt’s highly developed gaydar.
Matt considered himself one of the lucky ones. Made no secret of the reason for that and gave me permission to disclose it at my discretion. Matt was asymptomatic HIV-positive for over twenty years. He didn’t live with AIDS because it had never developed in his body. What is was that gave him this immunity was a medical mystery. A mystery that allowed him to live fully, passionately and with right purpose. He didn’t want to leave us so soon. Wanted to see the end of Bush/Cheney’s reign of terror and the restoration of all that is good and right about America and allowing that to lead us to being better angels. To a grown-up world brimming with peace, equality and diversity.
Good night sweet Matt. (And thank you for being my friend.)