Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Morning at Dark Harbour Shop Picking up Bread

"So we have to tell you about last night.
- Have you ever been to the scar? OH my God it's absolutely spectacular, isn't it Meg?
We went for the Devereaux boys wedding which was just lovely - oh! you have to see her dress!
- You have to see it, it was just perfect
Oh and we have to tell you about how they met. They were open about it so I'm sure we can talk about it. It's so funny-
-It really is so funny
So they were freshman at Stanford at a party and he said to her, 'you know I have a funny family history, I'm actually a test tube baby and my sister is adopted' and SHE turns to him and says 'well I'm adopted and my brother is a test tube baby' - isn't that the sweetest?
-it really is so sweet
Oh and who was that man I was speaking with at the party?
-I don't know who he was honestly I wouldn't know him if he came over and BIT me on the leg..
Anyway I was sitting next to this man and I turn and say to him 'do you mind if I move the seats around so I don't sit next to my husband? We like to meet new people - do you and your wife do that' and he turns to me looks me square in the eye -
-oh now THIS is funny
It really is so funny, and he says to me 'my wife is dead'
My wife is dead!
And so I say 'oh I'm so sorry I hope you find happiness in your life' and he says 'I won't; I'm an utter introvert' and, I'm sure he says this strictly for the challenge, of course I got him talking and talking and it turns out he's read just about every 20th century novel and taught anthropology at Yale which is just so funny
-it really is so funny.
Anyway dear it's so nice to see you, how is your father doing?"

Sunday, May 10, 2015

No Title

There has to be a word for when someone you once knew and loved dies. I don't know if it's nostalgia or emotion or empathy, but it's weird, I think I hate it. I've done so much to put certain times in my life out of my head and I think I hate remembering everything about Ben. But realizing someone who, at one point in your life was one of your best friends, who was one of your boyfriends is no longer on this Earth is probably one of the strangest feelings I've ever felt. Especially when your life is so much different than what it used to be at one point.
I remember how heavy his head was. Even when we would all be in the car and he would put his head on my shoulder I remember how heavy it was.
I remember how calloused his fingers were from playing the guitar.
I remember how pejorative he became the moment he felt uncomfortable or threatened.
I remember how much we competed with each other with our knowledge about music and how when I acted like I knew what I was talking about he just nodded and said I was right, even though I wasn't.
I remember how much he loved Kerouac and how when I read On The Road I thought it was a lost gospel and swore that I would live my life as a beat from here on out.
I remember how that only lasted about a week.
I remember how I skipped going to Church because Ben and I would talk about how being spiritual is enough and I thought that being around my friends was kind of like going to church because we were living and learning in the presence of others.
I remember how guilty I felt for skipping church and never doing it again.
I remember how good he was at finding music.
I remember how much he loved attention.
I remember how much he danced.
How much he sang.
I remember how much we all danced when we were together. Atlanta was a weird time in my life but it was also one of the most exciting, most impressionable and learning years of my life. We all fell head first into this unbreakable friendship that lasted a year or so. I've never laughed so hard in my entire life. I've never danced so hard so late at night in my life. I've never taken so many pictures and been in so many pictures in my entire life. We were so young. We were so, so young. We were reckless. We were everything you read about in books about kids going through phases and living life fast and loud and not caring about anything that we were taught to believe.

I've been able to block this time out of my head for a while now. Times like this only last so long until something becomes spoiled and infects everything it touches. The decline of the Atlanta group was probably one of the saddest things that's ever happened to me, now that I think back on it. We all loved everyone so much and then everything just kind of fell apart and I moved back to New York and people moved elsewhere and went different places in life and that's what life is, that's what happens and it's ok.

I remember how you could stick Ben in a room with 10 strangers and within three minutes he would know everything about them and already have plans to meet up with them later.
I remember how he never slept because he never wanted to miss anything.
Ben never wanted to miss anything. He wanted to love everyone. He wanted to be loved by everyone, and he was. He could get the angriest person in the entire world to laugh within seconds. I feel sad that I was young when I knew him and that everything ended unpleasantly. I feel sad that things turned out the way they did. But as I've said before; such is life. People grow up, they move and they move on. I wish I was more patient with him, and that I didn't throw the flower out the window of the cab in Chicago that he gave me when I saw him after five years. I wish I read more into his cryptic email that he sent me a couple of months ago. But I had tried to help for so long and nothing really seemed to do anything, or was it that he made it seem like it had done everything and everything was alright? I don't know. I don't really know what I'm feeling except just sad. Never in my life have I ever met someone so full of potential. So talented at writing. So talented at singing. So talented at just being a person.

I'm in pain for his best friends. I'm in pain for his family. I'm in pain for everyone who knew and was honestly touched by Ben's presence. If you met him, you remembered him.

I hope he's happy now. I hope he finally found was he was searching for the past seven years of his life. I hope he's somewhere playing guitar with Jeff Buckley and crooning about everything he ever went through. I hope he meets Jack Kerouac and realizes he's smarter than Jack ever hoped to be. I hope he knows that he's always in our minds and our hearts and our prayers.

Rest easy, Benjamin. You're so truly loved by so, so many.

I know you would have loved Lorrie Moore, so here's one of my favorite lines from her:
please god, I mean God, don't let me go like this but let me stay right in this garden next to the plastic flamingos and let me croon the blues till I am crazy with them."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I Miss Babysitting

I got on the subway in a hurry because I took too long picking which shoes to wear. I sat down in the middle car, frazzled and kind of angry because I made a rash decision to not go for a run that morning, whatever I'll run later. When we got to Astor Place, a boy, no older than seventh grade sat down across from me, backpack in tow with kind of nerdy glasses on his face. "Awh, I wonder how long he's been allowed to take the subway by himself" I thought to myself. His brand new snow boots were untied and the laces were dragging, he was slouched on the subway seat, head leaning back against the window. His hands stayed in his pockets and his backpack was still on his back, just, leaning all the way to the right side. He stared at the blonde boy who just got on the train and sat beside him. This boy was cuter, same age, with that wing-y wavy hair look, skinny pants and proper sneakers that matched his backpack. Boy2 took out what looked like a sheet of math homework and began to do last nights assignment. Boy1, with his hands still in his pockets and his legs sprawled out in front of him, unwilling to pull them in for anyone who passed him, looked down at the boys homework, and I could tell he was doing the problems in his head. He would look at the math problem and then shoot a look at Boy2s face, look back at the problem, and look back at the boys face as if to say "helloooo the answer is 4 why can't you get it." He threw his head back in a disgusted, bored, completely bratty type of way and continued to keep his legs out. All I kept thinking about was how much of a little shit this kid probably was, how he probably whined every time he didn't get his way, how he probably hated everything his mom (or nanny) made for dinner every night, how all he wanted to do was be alone in his room, oblivious to how much his mom (or nanny) wanted to spend time with him. He probably made comments like "I hate that, it's so stupid" when referring to mashed potatoes, "I don't care" when he would get in trouble and his Play Station got taken away, and "ok.." when reprimanded about his behavior and asked if he understood why what he did was wrong. He was probably unaware how nice it was he didn't have to pay for a metro pass, or what the value of a dollar was. He doesn't know what a pain in the ass paying rent was, or trying to figure out whether or not you could be less frugal that morning and splurge on a coffee and croissant for breakfast. I hope his nanny slaps his head when he acts up, and his parents aren't too hard on the teachers when the teachers call to tell them their son got caught helping another boy cheat.

We both got off at 23rd street and it took almost everything in me not to trip him just so I could hear the child whine "Owww!"