Posted by: Trisha Leigh | November 10, 2011

Now and Then

“When you’re 12, without effort, you live in the moment. You don’t regret the past or worry about the future, and in that moment, Teeny filled my heart with hope and comfort.” Samantha (Now and Then)

My first real life crush happened when I was 12.

His parents worked in a live country music show at the Lake of the Ozarks, and they let Matt play drums in Great Balls of Fire and help his dad with some comedy.

I was smitten.

It was my first (but not last) encounter with the strange affinity most girls feel for musicians, but I was far too shy to ever approach him. We met when my grandfather tired of watching me stare and blush, so he took matters into his own hands. I’ll never forget the sight of Matt in a headlock, being quite literally dragged over to meet me. The experience mortified me (I think I cried the whole way home), but Matt and I began a friendship that survived for several years.

We lost touch around the age of 20, but still saw one another once or twice a year until we were probably 25. We aren’t friends anymore, but to be honest this fact never bothers me. Things change. People move on. Not all friendships are built to last. I rarely think about him or our history unless presented with some form of memory jog.

Such as: this past week he announced he will be performing on David Letterman tonight.

After all of these years, he’s never given up on his dream and now he’s got a great opportunity.

In this moment, I’m stuck in a quagmire of complicated feelings.

We were childhood friends, Matt and I. We were more than friends for a brief period. We knew each other during that period in life when you haven’t yet learned to be cautious, to not share everything you are because other people will take it and hurt it – not always because they mean to, but because that’s life. Much like family, friendships that begin in childhood put down roots so deep they can’t be easily separated from the multitude of experiences, memories, and emotions that tangle together to make us who we are.

So when I see this news – my friend, the boy I watched on stage for years and years, the boy I encouraged when audiences asked for someone else, who lit up and hugged me and made me feel special, who grew into a man in front of my eyes – is going to get a chance to touch his dreams it makes those dusty feelings glow and swell until they almost burst with pride.

The rest of me, the part that grew up and apart, realizes I don’t know the man that emerged the boy I loved. I stopped wanting to know him when he hurt me – a deep, jagged, cruel hurt, the kind only a person you’ve known for most of your life can inflict.

Then again, I’d be lying if I told you I’d never hurt him.

It confuses me that the old love and pride can push aside the more recent pain and betrayal.

And maybe none of that makes a difference, anyway. Maybe what matters is not what we aren’t now, but what we were then.

I don’t have to be friends with the man in order to be overjoyed for the boy, because those younger versions of us live in the past, where all that exists are the dreams of the moment and faith in the future. It’s a place where sixteen-year-old Trisha can look at sixteen-year-old Matt with a genuine grin and say “I never doubted for one single moment you would make it here, and I’m so proud of you.”

And I am.

*Watch Matt perform tonight, November 10, 2011, on The Late Show with David Letterman



  1. This is beautiful. You have such a way with words. Thank you.

    • Thank you. I struggled with this one, so it’s good to know it was appreciated. 🙂

  2. You amaze me. I love that despite your loss – because it really is a loss – you can be overjoyed for the boy even though you’re no longer friends with the man.

    • I didn’t mean to. It just sort of happened 🙂

  3. I think it’s because you have a true heart. And a true heart is worth having no matter how shitty life and people sometimes are.

    I bet your friend deserves your good feelings for him, at least some of him does.

    ❤ you.

    • I hope he does, Beth. I really do.

  4. You have an open and understanding heart.

    >>Maybe what matters is not what we aren’t now, but what we were then.<<

    Exactly. You are so wise. 🙂

    • Thanks, Linda. This was a tough one. I don’t know if I’m wise. Is that the same thing as cynical? 😉

      • Geez, I sure hope so, since I tend to be a cynical b!tch about most things. 😉

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