The Matthew Effect

The Matthew Effect

A Story by Kathryn Smith








Oh great sights upon this state! 
Wonders bright, and rivers, lake
 ..
 


Trusting things beyond mistake




I can't explain the state that I'm in
The state of my heart, he was my best friend.



Into the car, from the back seat
Our admiration in falling asleep





All of my powers, day after day
I can tell you, we swaggered and swayed
Deep in the tower, the prairies below.






I can tell you, the telling gets old
Terrible sting and terrible storm



 




My friend is gone

 He ran away







I can tell you that it was a wondrous work of art. A vision that I'll never forget.


For a moment, time froze.


As I was driving away from my best friends grave, I saw a lone figure in the distance. 


He was walking slowly towards me, down the long and dusty country road.


As I got closer, I noticed that the person in the hazy summer heat had familiar golden skin and short, wavy, beachy blonde hair.


He was a tall, skinny adolescent boy in a black shirt.


His eyes were glued to the ground as he walked along.


He looked as if he was painfully lonely or deep in thought.


When I realized who it was, something hit me in the stomach.


My heart could've burst into a proud happiness and awe.



This boy was Matthew.


The only person I have fully witnessed grow up.


The only boy I can visibly remember at each age.


The reason why my heart wanted to burst into tears was because in two days, Matthew would be turning 15.


It feels like it was just yesterday my mother and I went to the hospital to meet him.


Only my mother was allowed to see the baby boy, so I waited  in the hallway very disappointed.


Suddenly I heard the door crack.


I looked up to find my mother crouched down in the doorway holding a blanket of blue.


She whispered and told me to hurry up.


I swiftly crept up to the doorway and peered into the crack.


Matthew was the first newborn baby I had ever seen.


He was stunningly beautiful.



As years passed Matthew broke the mold of "The 3 musketeers"


His older twin brothers and I were best friends.


As he got older, The 3 musketeers turned to the 4 musketeers.




One more boy made fighting dragons easier.


He made rampaging through the forest more fun.


There were more squeals and battle cries.


There was bravery and fear.


Losses and victories.


Laughter and wonder.


We were in love.


In love with the world we created as a team.




When I think of childhood, I think of Matthew.


He could be a poster child for the classic American boy.


He was a kid who was a walking and talking dictionary and GPS.


He was obsessed with big words and roads.


He could tell endless jokes. 


Matthew once held my attention telling a joke that lasted 20 minutes..when really the joke was making us listen for that long.


He carried around automated toy birds and couldn't get enough of nature and the world around him.


Through his  bright blue/green eyes, I've seen his kind soul.


I've seen his pain and joy.


His sadness and happiness.







In May, at his brothers graduation party, I noticed he retreated to the corner and didn't seem very sociable.


Something didn't seem right at all.


The little boy Matthew I knew so well was long gone.


The boy who made my world bright and full of adventure.


The kid who made me feel like I had a real little brother.


Now he was diving headfirst into the adult world, but resisting.  





Yet one day in July, he came for a visit. He chirped away like the old times.


His eyes sparkled again and I thought his mouth might break from smiling.


The poor guy couldn't get a word in between his twin brothers.


He was stung by a burning nettle plant and I was alarmed at how worried I became of him.


The way I turned into a mother for him.


As the youngest child myself, I recognized his pain each time he was interrupted or ignored. I made sure he knew I was listening to every word.




As children all we want is to be adults.


and now as adults we'd give anything to go back to being a child. We have to step into the storm whether we like it or not.



Life keeps racing by and we have no choice but to age.



As a child, we are invincible, our imaginations thrive.


Anything can happen and no one can burn us, or let us down.


As children we do not know death or pain like we do as adults.


The world in our curious eyes is a world of endless possibilities and dreams.



The sky is the limit.






As I watched boyhood walk away in my rearview mirror, I found that experiencing the Matthew Effect was a blessing.


There was no reason to be sad. 





Goodbye and best of luck  my little Matthew.


Thank you for the memories.


These roads ahead of you might be filled with terrible storms, stings, and trials, but they are what make you who you are. 


Life is never easy.  


Thank you for being the little brother I never had.


Now go grab the world!


It's yours.









(The Matthew Effect: The phenomenon of watching a child age and grow into an adult.)




 


I can tell you, I love him each day








© 2016 Kathryn Smith



Author's Note

Kathryn Smith

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dan
Kathryn, This piece was, in a word, breathtaking. The whole time I thought you were describing a real life little brother but you weaved a tale of the composite result of boy reaching adulthood. Stunning! Your descriptions were so on point and genuine I was actually dreading what I thought the ending would be...the day that Matthew passed away. You structured such a strong 'character' that I saw the progression to my imagined tragic ending. Just an incredible piece of writing! So well done. take care...dan

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Kathryn Smith

2 Years Ago

Thank you so much Dan!! :) It was hard for me to let a little boy go, but I eventually did. We all h.. read more



Reviews

Very nice to see such and endearing dedication. The piece flowed well. Your introduction of Matthew was drawing me to read on, and the good bye brought some gentle closure. Thanks.

Posted 1 Year Ago


This was a great piece. Wonderful descriptions, beautiful reflections. You did a great job of bringing your characters to life here. I would really like to see the artful introduction to be an explanation of the day that boy ran away - it was a bit of a jar going from artful prose to short story; however, it definitely has style.
Great work, and keep writing!

Posted 1 Year Ago


Well firstly, I would just like to say the line about it being easier four fighting dragons was brilliant. That line is right out of that part of the brain that never forgets the wonder of being a child and the adventure it brings.
And you describe so vividly those little thoughts and wonderings we have throughout our lives of all the "Mathew effects" that have touched our world. For such a relatively short piece, you fill this piece completely with memories of who we are and what we want to be, whilst looking back over our shoulder at who we once were. A very lovely write :)

Posted 1 Year Ago


Facing adult hood is no easy task, it can change a person but only for the better. I loved the story and the way it kept you hooked until its end.

Posted 1 Year Ago


That was really a heart - touching story..i liked it..This is one of your best writings and i agree with you that children want to be adults and adults want to be children....it was really very nice..i liked it...keep on writing and thanks for sharing...

Posted 1 Year Ago


This is a wonderful piece of work that had me weaving in and out from one emotion to another. I. like dan, was preparing for a tragic ending.
The voyage through life is a mystical experience filled with joy, sadness, and an array of other experiences. It saddens me to think so much of mine is behind me now, but I'm glad to have been here.

Posted 1 Year Ago


This piece made me moved. What a flow...Damn good..

Posted 1 Year Ago


This is beautiful. Riveting, even. My eyes was glued to my screen. It's captivating and endearing. You should feel very accomplished. Great work :)

Posted 1 Year Ago


I really enjoyed the journey thru this work! very nicely done. If it matters I found one typo if you decide to change it in this line: "As children all we went is to be adults.". Obviously not a big deal, just thought I'd point it out. All in all a very moving work.

Posted 1 Year Ago


That nice feelings, I appreciate so

Posted 1 Year Ago



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Added on August 9, 2015
Last Updated on June 27, 2016


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