The Dreamer and the Muppet

Today, I woke up with this song (see below) in my head. It is a song, I might add, to which I have not listened since college. I wouldn’t insist you listen to it, as I would, say, Kate Bush’s “Running Up that Hill” or the Arcade Fire’s “Neighborhood #3.” Eighteen years later, it seems schmaltzier, less beautiful . . . and this is coming from someone who loves, LOVES, the Christopher Cross song “Sailing.” But I think I thought of it because thinking about people to whom I was once so much closer brings up two categories of those people: college friends and former lovers.

Matt was kind of both. He seemed hilarious, I am hilarious, so we briefly dated and were terrible, terrible, horrible together: crabby and cranky and unpredictable. So, we stopped and happily spent the rest of our college years together in plays, musicals, choir concerts, and, for one summer (see The Summer We Knew We Were Young), housemates. Once, when I was in a David Mamet play and had to play a chain smoker, Matt took me out back of the fine arts center and taught me how to smoke. He took great pleasure in that—particularly because I didn’t.

Matt loved screaming. Matt had an Irish fisherman’s sweater that my mom still talks about fondly. Matt seemed to be the leader of a pack of wild Lost Boys and was responsible for some of the more ridiculous pranks on campus, always involving large phallic structures.

Matt and I were both DJ’s at the college radio station and spent many silly hours singing very, very loudly and intentionally not always well in the booth together. Our favorite was Juliana Hatfield–how 90’s is that? In reality, Matt had a beautiful singing voice, and he married another dear friend with another beautiful singing voice. They have a million boy children now, a new pack of Lost Boys for Matt to lead.

The last time I saw Matt, it had been years, and I was with his wife in his house, when he came home for dinner. “HI!” I bounded towards him. “Oh, hi, Brynny,” he said, hanging up his coat and walking into the next room, away from me. For some people, you’re always the irritating little sister, sometimes enlisted in the hijinks, sometimes merely tolerated. Here are two songs from the two sides of Matt: the Dreamer and the Muppet.

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