This beautiful man is Matt Taylor.
He passed away eleven years ago.
I can still remember the very first time I saw him.
My Mom was driving my brother and I home from school.
To this day, I can still feel the elation that emanated from my brother as he pointed out the window and announced, “Hey, there’s my new friend, Matt!”
I quickly turned to look.
It was like one of those momentous, slow motion scenes from a movie.
I remember it all so vividly.
There he was.
This tall, confident kid, just waltzing down the sidewalk with this incredible sense of purpose.
But he wasn’t walking.
I don’t think he ever walked a day in his life.
He was bouncing.
He was skipping.
He was nearly levitating.
There was this energy.
I could see it.
I could feel it.
He exuded it so much.
It was like an invisible bungee cord had come down from the sky and hooked itself onto the pom-pom of his hat.
He could barely keep his feet on the ground.
And when he saw my brother in the car.
He immediately waved.
Not a second of pause.
The biggest wave I’ve ever seen.
His whole body rocked back and forth as he tried to stretch his arm up even further.
And his smile.
It was warm, stunningly reassuring, and completely and utterly infectious.
And I remember feeling jealous.
Where did my brother find this magical creature?!
And in that single moment.
That he was someone very special.
And I didn’t know it at the time.
But thankfully, he was about to become my friend, too.
Time went by.
My brother and him became the best of friends.
So many moments.
So many memories.
And so many experiences of what it meant to be alive, were created.
He had his struggles.
Probably more than I knew.
And now, as an adult, I can recognize the turmoil he must have constantly been in.
But that didn’t stop him.
He continued to skip.
He brought people together.
People with nothing in common.
Other than the fact that they were both friends with Matt Taylor.
He probably would have been friends with you, too.
He made you feel special.
And regardless of all the pain.
He let his heart lead the way.
And I miss him.
I searched everywhere for this photo.
I found it in a box.
At the back of my closet.
Where I keep other special things.
And when I look at it.
I can remember exactly how that moment felt.
It was memorable.
Because that’s what he did.
He left an unmistakable mark.
Everywhere he went.
He imprinted on people’s lives.
He changed their composition.
And I’m so very thankful for that.
And there’s no doubt in my mind.
That the world changed too.
For the better.
Because at one point in time.
Matt Fucking Taylor was skipping in it.