This is about the end of the world. I know that’s so yesterday, but this is about yesterday. Yesterday, I helped my friends Matt and Elana move out of the Alder St. Co-op, where I also used to live. We put their stuff in a storage unit in Mt. Vernon while they prepare to head out across the world. It was an end of an era.
I met Matt years and years ago at my dad’s old work’s Christmas party, which I almost missed in favor of a dance performance. This was back when he was dating a 20 year old Vietnamese girl and I was only interested in people who were leaving town within a month. So we’ve always simply been friends. He was my toe in the door at Alder St. and I worked for his brother for a while. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I’d gone to the dance performance instead of the Christmas party. Would I have moved to New Zealand with a Sri Lankan deep sea diver? Would I have discovered I was actually a lesbian rockstar? It feels like one of those junctures where anything is possible; so much of my life the last few years opened out of that night.
When Matt and I were housemates, we were pretty close. We did projects together, critiqued each others’ writing, and gave each other good hugs. Sometimes we would help each other out with our online dating profiles. Sometimes we made each other cry over things like raisins. Often we had great, rambling conversations about life and literature and agriculture and everything else worthwhile. Sometimes I would come upstairs, and his door would be ajar, and candlelight and soft music would be smearing out and I could hear grunting and heavy breathing. This was Matt doing his candlelight workouts. You’ll have to ask him what wacky things I was doing.
We spent a lot of time talking on the upstairs landing. I was usually brushing my teeth, and he was messing around on the chin-up bar in the doorway to his room. His old-school Tolkien poster was on the door behind him, and back in his room — along with some gorgeous but gigantic rocks from Utah and a bunch of knives from South East Asia — was his Yoda altar. Matt, you are never going to get a girlfriend with a bunch of knives over your bed and a Yoda altar, I’m sure I was blunt enough to tell him.
But I was dead wrong. Not only did he get a girlfriend, he got Elana — who rocks his socks off and keeps him in line and more than that is his all around equal — and they got married. And now they’re headed off. All their things are packed and stored, including many boxes marked things like Machetes, Wheat, etc. Apparently, Matt has a lot of machetes.
And yesterday, while we were sitting in the co-op in Mt. Vernon eating lunch in the middle of the desperation of moving, the world ended. This is how it was: the co-op was filled with people. Outside, suddenly, was a flurry of snow. A ripple went through everyone, a murmur, a moment. Then, between the buildings down by the river: a rainbow.