actually, he was 22.
around the time that beej was moving out to get married, i started looking for a new roommate. i really don't remember what my relationship with mark was at that point, but i think i stopped him in the hall at church one day and asked if he'd be interested. that turned out to be one of the best choices i've ever made.
mark and i were just the right amount of different but still with enough common ground. he loves to watch football and eat chicken wings, then take naps on the couch. i'm... well, you know me. but he also possesses the great ability to be open to new things. he taught me how to shoot a gun and i taught him about the world of film outside of chris farley and jim carey.
i never really thought much of it until one day a friend texted me, asking what i was up to. "just getting home from the store with mark," i think i said. "you guys do EVERYTHING together," she replied. and i realized that she was right, we did. we didn't try to. we just did.
he learned the drums on rock band and with me on guitar, we'd play for hours. he loved to eat out and so i did more than i ever had in my life. at his suggestion, we started working ourselves through the golden era of the simpsons together. he was the ward executive secretary and i was the elder's quorum president, so we'd be in morning church meetings together (i think?) we would go give priesthood blessings together. we'd watch movies together and pause them to talk about what was happening. we'd go buy junk at d.i. then take it to the shooting range. we watched the entire series of 24 together, yelling at the t.v. and agonizing at every melodramatic cliffhanger. and we went through that fridge incident together.
mark is always a good sport about things, and his easy going personality made a good match for my mercurial artistic temperament. there would be days that he would bug the heck out of me, but even when i was grouchy and irritable towards him, he would shrug it off and we'd likely be out for thai food later that night.
while we lived together, mark went through three cars. i went through three tvs. he was the only constant movie night attendee through its... three(?) year run. the regular crowd turned over two or three times but he was there nearly every week, albeit often asleep by the end (especially in the early years.) but he grew to develop a taste for art films. in our discussions we'd have after the movie, he'd usually have insights to contribute. he recently confessed that, on the night that we watched last year at marienbad, he was trying to offer his interpretation of the movie in hopes of impressing a girl whom he'd invited that night. she's now his wife. (he was also the one to usually say, "so... rock band??")
but he started coming to byu's international cinema with me more as time went on, and continued to go on his own after i moved away. he'd text me about what movies he was watching and i'd suggest others for him to check out. and i have to admit i felt some pride when he told me the list of movies he show if he decided to host his own movie night. i'd go seen them.
and we got in the habit of doing double dates together. one friend noted that it had the tendency to make it hard for the girl to get to know me individually, which is a noteworthy point, but it also let me be on my "home turf"; out with my friend, i was more relaxed and more able to be myself. together, we've gone to the circus and seen the elephants, to the slc hard rock cafe, to stoneground pizza, movie premieres, rodeos, and chicken and waffles.
i've seen him on dates with just about every girl he's been interested in since he's been home from his mission. and i saw that some were better fits for him than others. so i liked it when he was with emily as i moved away from utah two years ago. but a month or two later, he told me that they just didn't feel right about it but still continued to be friends. i couldn't understand it and told him i thought he was being stupid to not be with her if he liked her so much. and, in his calm fashion, he said he could understand why i'd say that but he knew what he felt.
but things have a funny way of working out. in january he told me that he'd been thinking about emily some more, despite her living a time zone away and having a boyfriend. then, the next time i talked with him, they were talking about getting married.
while we, being guys, never said it when i lived in utah, he was my best friend.