Back in May I wrote about the dissolution of my friends marriage and the subsequent awkward experience I had at his Ex’s wedding dinner (We have not been invited over to visit Nadine and Rich since that dinner).
My friend started a downward spiral. The apartment he was now living in was a dark dank dump. Even though he spoke that he was better off, his body language said otherwise. He began to ignore my phone calls and texts and I was about to write off the friendship. But it didn’t feel right. So I held onto his phone number in my little address book. Yeah I am not someone that stores everything in their phone.
I met Scott in late fall of 1998. I was 28 and he was 43 and we were both working at a record store in the mall. He had an equally weird sense of humor as me and a major love of films. Out of the blue he mentioned actress Tura Santana to me and was trying to remember what movie she was in with John Carradine ? It blew his mind when I said The Astro-Zombies. After that exchange we became fast friends.
Staying pretty tight after we both moved on in jobs…me to digital archivist, him to Borders Books as a manager. A job derailed from worsening back problems and a business going bankrupt.
Between 1998-2004, Scott and I wrote a terrible juvinile delinquent film called High School Stooge, a film meant to showcase his burgeoning rockabilly band the Whoadads. But it never took off (in hindsight it was a godawful script anyway). Scott was dating a teacher and was engaged but the relationship fell hard, he then found himself dating and eventually marrying his friend (groupie ? Literally the only connection was that Scott sang in a Rockabilly band), definitely an orange and a lemon relationship that quickly moved into marriage but shouldn’t have. Perhaps Nadine was desperate for a father figure for her son ? Who knows.
I’m not the richest person in the world, but I figured if I could find it in my heart to help fellow blogger Beaton all the way in Zimbabwe, when he was down on his luck. I could do the same for my friend of 23 years who lives but a town away.
Despite the fact that his last words to me were “My life is a shit show, just don’t bother calling me again!”
That hurt me. After I felt the need to cleanse myself with a personal atonement, I reached out to him again. I had to know how he was doing ? I wanted to take him to my art opening on the South Bethlehem Greenway which is a short walk from his apartment.
He got back to me, told me he sold off the last of his record/movie/memorabilia collection (when he lived with Nadine in their house, the collection filled the basement floor to ceiling) and despite it all he was flat broke, destitute and facing bills he couldn’t pay.
So I asked what he owed and he told me, he can’t afford to make payments but he had blood work for $328 and a dentist bill for $750…I have money in savings, so I decided (and with my wife’s approval) to pay off the dental bill for him. I’ve never done that kind of gesture for anyone in my life until now.
He received the check in the mail today and texted me the following:
I don’t know what to say . I’m truly blessed to have such wonderful friends . You’re gift is far beyond what I have given back to you . I’m ashamed as to how I have been . You’re a real mensch Matt . A kind hearted and wonderful human being . Blessings to both you and Jess.
I told him not to feel ashamed, to not sell himself short. What he gave me and continues to give me is the gift of friendship. 23 years is quite a gift.