I met Maddy at one of Will’s notorious movie nights. Maddy was a central force of comedic energy among some strong and equally ridiculous competition in that friend group. I was immediately inspired by and attracted to the way he carried himself. Though he walked on his toes a bit, he was sure-footed. I think I told him that I needed help with PIB algebra 2 (I did), and he, being Maddy, was happy to help me. Really I just wanted to be close to him and I was lucky enough that he wanted to be close to me too.
Maddy came into my life as a grounding and caring presence during the otherwise difficult late teenage years. At the beginning of our relationship, he took me to Boulder Baked one night when neither of us could sleep. I told him a terrible joke, he somehow forgave me, we ate cookies and talked about, like, everything. I realized then that there was a silly, brilliant depth to him.
That was a lot of our relationship: good food, stupid jokes, exploring Boulder, inquisitive conversations. And cuddling. I’d like to think we helped each other equally by being there for each other and helping each other grow. But truthfully Maddy was smarter and better at life than me, and he showed up in ways I didn’t know how to. He was so uniquely sharp and had an answer for any question I challenged him with. I watched him meet the world with his charming, friendly devotion. I have family members who met him once and coo about him to this day. I also got to know a softer Maddy, in moments when he was still and quiet, somehow wordlessly processing and protecting me from whatever he was making sense of before dozing off to sleep.
I have never met someone with an IQ as high as his and the emotional intelligence to match. I think this has a lot to do with his incredible family. He could help me with my science and math homework and he could also intuitively understand my needs as a young woman better than I could. I always felt safe and seen. With gentle strength he would push me to take care of myself, and if all else failed and I was too stubborn or serious, (or whenever he felt like it), he had no problem doing something so outrageously goofy and dumb that I had to laugh. We introduced each other to memes and media and kept each other entertained and interested as our lives unfolded into new chapters. We drove around listening to contrasting music, once through high flood waters. We spent hours seeing who could find the best culturally relevant meme valentine. We had a lot of fun.
On my birthday, which happened to be on prom night, he secretly arranged to have a cake at the restaurant and organized everyone to surprise me and sing to me. When a big project of mine was due and I was pulling an all nighter, Maddy would come over with a caffeine and candy care package. Shoutout to google photos for saving every picture I have ever taken apparently. The cool thing about Maddy is, as you probably know, he showed up like this for everyone and everything he cared about.
Maddy was my first serious boyfriend, and I will always be grateful that my introduction to intimacy was with someone so kind, funny, wise, and beautiful. We were young but especially as I have experienced more of life I recognize that he was just… exceptionally good. During a time in my life where the world seemed intimidatingly big and confusing, his laughter and his warm clarifying wisdom made me feel like everything was absolutely, unconditionally okay. I am trying to remember that and embody that now.
Maddy and I amicably broke up when he moved away for school, and after that we checked in on each other over the years, less frequently as time went on. I knew that he was up to great things and he knew that I respected and admired him. I am devastated, and most importantly, I am blessed to love - and have been loved by Maddy.