I met Ben at Lucky Bar in D.C. A friend in common, Krissy, had invited both of us. Ben was actually there to meet another of Krissy’s friends, in the hope that they would hit it off. But she didn’t show. Ben and I, however, did hit it off. In classic Mt. Pleasant fashion, we had our first date at the Raven. We talked easily, found we had a similar sense of humor, a mutual love of language, and a connection that was unmistakable. It was that connection that took us as far away as Istanbul and Machu Picchu, but most often found us sharing stories between drinks at Tonic. He lived in Mt. Pleasant for a long time, and often said it was his favorite part of D.C. I suppose, in that sense, it’s kind of fitting that he passed away here too.
I’m not going to sugar coat this. I miss him so much it feels like my heart is being repeatedly dragged over a bed of nails. Crying randomly and in public is currently unavoidable. It’s not fair. Even though I’ve read and been interviewed for news stories, it still doesn’t seem real. I pinched myself twice yesterday. I’m still hoping, desperately, to wake up from this hell.
I know I won’t though. This is my new life. One without my best friend. We stopped dating a while ago, but we never lost our love for each other. We had a friendship that I will cherish for the rest of my days. Ben was there for me every time I needed him, without judgment and with all his heart. We talked every day and told each other everything. He was my emotional emergency contact. He was family. Where do you go when your go-to friend dies?
I know things will get better, and that eventually there will be a day when I don’t cry. But that day will still be a day without Ben. I owe him more than my tears though. I owe it to a man who lived life with 110% passion to make these days count. He died far too young, but anyone who knew him knew he lived every day of his 35 years with his heart on his sleeve and caution thrown to the wind. I don’t know when my time will be up, but I will damn well make sure that every second counts. It’s the least I can do to honor my friend.
Knowing him was a gift and I will cherish my time with him always.
I love you Ben.