He never ever harrassed me about being with Doug. He never told me I was stupid for staying. Oh, I was very stupid for staying, but he would have never said so. He only did what he could, protect me from Doug, and a bit from myself. Feeling safe with Doug asleep and secure knowing if something DID happen, Ben would swiftly come to my house and beat Dougs ass if he had to, I went to bed.
On the morning of March 13th 2001, Ben took Amanda's brother to wal-mart to get him some extra items he would need for the trip to school. Amanda stayed at home to wait for him to return so they could come get me. It was only Ben and Amanda's brother there that morning, so I suppose no one but those two know exactly what happened.... but I firmly believe he had been shooting that morning. He did keep his word to me by stopping the shooting for several months after our previous discussion the summer before, but he also hid from me the fact that he still did it from time to time. Almost home, there was a set of train tracks Ben had to cross at the end of Buck Mountain Road. Left to his house, right to Amanda's, A T shaped intersection with a stop sigh immediately after the tracks. Ben was superstitious a bit so whenever he crossed train tracks he lifted his feet from the floorboard of the car. You can NOT go more then 25 miles per hour over those tracks, or you would slam right into the phone pole or the house that sat at that top bar of the T intersection. Ben grew up here, he drove over these tracks for years and years. Somehow, crossing those tracks that morning, he went into the ditch. This ditch... it isnt deep enough to cover my head if I stood in it. Im five foot 3. And it isnt wide or long enough to fit a bus in. Somehow, Bens car went into this ditch. Flipping over, he was ejected from the car. The car landed on him. He did not die instantly, I dont know how long he lay there suffering, but Amanda's brother got out unscathed. And was there with Ben when he did pass. He would never really talk about the accident to anyone. Im sure it cut him deeply, and into silence.
Ben wrecking like that..... was amazing to me. This was a guy with whom him and I used to take breaks from work at Plastics One, right across those same tracks, and we would speed through the back roads of Southwest, and laugh at the danger of it. We even made a game out of trying to guess what pieces of his car flew off when we hit bumps too hard and seen pieces fly. Sure, thats stupid as hell, but thats the kind of relationship we had. He would push the limits, trying to scare me, and I would show him he couldnt. But wreck? He was an incredible driver. Wreck at 25 miles per hour. Impossible, unless you were nodding in and out of a heroin haze. No, he didnt overdose, and Amanda's brother said he was very awake when the car flipped. I'll never forget the call.
Around 11 am Amanda called me. I could hear the strain in her voice. It is like people say when something horrific happens, slow motion, surreal. "Joy, Ben wont be able to pick you up today." "That sucks, I was looking forward to it, why not what are you guys going to get into?" "Nothing Joy, Ben is dead." And thinking back on how cruel my next words to her must have seemed, I feel horrible. But I was so in denial, no way my angel was dead. Angels dont die. They live to protect those who need it. I needed it desperately. "Amanda, dont fuck with me like that, thats fucking sick." "Joy, Id never fuck with you about that or about Ben, hes dead Joy, hes gone, forever."
She broke down, I broke down, she told me how he had died and we hung up. I remember laying on my couch, saying over and over, silently at first, until I was screaming in between sobs, Bens dead...... Bens dead. At that very moment I wanted to be dead with him. Doug rushed in to see what I was screaming about. Once he heard, he fell to his knees in front of me, and I know with my heart and soul he was feeling so guilty, about the accusations, about not trusting me and Ben together. I didnt care. I wanted death, and I wanted it that very moment. I wanted to follow Ben quickly to the other side, wherever that is, and be there with him forever. I felt hollowed out. I felt empty beyond words and comprehension. I felt completely soulless. My world was black, void, nothing in it worth even opening my eyes to look at. There was a song that I played, over and over, that kept me sane. It kept me crying, but crying I knew kept me alive. There was no emotion I felt besides pain. It still hurts, fresh, like it was yesterday he left me. That week, the funeral, that month, that year.... was a haze for me. A cold and angry haze. I felt so much hatred and venom for anyone and everyone. None of them could replace him in my heart, ever. I withdrew, not even into myself... just away. Another world, another place where best friends didnt die, and good mothers didnt lose their babies.
Im still trying to let Ben go. It seems impossible even today. I will never forget him, or let his memory, or the incredible person he was fade from my heart. But I feel like my pain is his, and I'm scared to stop hurting for him, as if stopping would cause him to have never existed.
In loving memory of
Benjamin Royden Campbell
10/30/77 - 03/13/01
Benjamin Royden Campbell
10/30/77 - 03/13/01
"I never wanted to write these words down for you. With the pages of phrases of things we will never do. So I blow out the candle, and I put you to bed. Since you cant say to me now, how the dog broke your bone, theres just one thing left to be said.... say hello to heaven."