Thursday, July 15, 2004

Summer 2000

Ben and I went to Mike James house to relax, have a drink or two and just enjoy the day. Ben wasnt himself. He was very groggy and his speech was more slurred then a couple of beers would have caused. I was curious but as a friend I didnt question him or nag, I only observed and was on guard for rushing him to the hospital if he got to where it needed to be done.

He went to the bathroom, he was in there for over 20 minutes. I was getting really concerned. He finally came out and I was shocked, scared to death for him. He was way off. Groggy didnt come close, eyes slitted, looking pale as if he had been sick. He was smiling, a sick twisted smile. I realized then what was going on. He was shooting up, heroin, I knew it. I had no idea how to confront this with him but I knew I would. A few hours later I was driving him home when I brought it up. "Ben, I know what you're doing". He just looked at me, and the sick twisted smile was gone, there were tears in his eyes. If I thought I was scared before, seeing tears in the eyes of my strongest friend was horrific. As we pulled into his parents driveway, he broke down. He explained to me he knew it was an awful thing to be doing. That he wanted help, he wanted to tell his parents. Both of his parents are well known drug/youth counselors in Roanoke. He was horrified by the thought that his parents would be humiliated by his actions. "How can I tell them Joy?? Where can I go for help? All the drug counselors know each other in this city, they all know my mom, they all know my dad. My parents have been too wonderful to me to kick them in the teeth this way." I understood, totally. But he still needed a reality check. He still needed help. He told me he was considering going to another state for help.

I got angry, angry out of love really fast sitting there listening to him in pain. I told him he had 2 weeks to tell his mom what he was doing and get her help with it, before I told her myself. He cried like a child then. He started begging me not to hurt his mom like that. I got really cruel, I had to, for his life, for love of him. "Hurt her??? How about burying her baby? Her youngest son? You think thats going to hurt her?". I told him to do me a favor right then and there. I told him to picture his mothers face, standing at his own funeral. I told him to imagine her guilt, her feelings of failure being a drug counselor and having a son who overdosed. Of course I thought he would die from an overdose. Ben never did anything insignificant. If he did anything, drive, love, work, he did it in leaps and bounds. I could see him thinking, pondering what I had asked him to. He lost it, he started sobbing, and he clung so tightly to me I could hardly breath. I told him I loved him and wasnt trying to hurt him, only make him see. "I know" He did know. We had both taken the tough love stance with each other from day one. He told me he loved me too and that he didnt know what he would do without me.

There was never any sexual relationship between him and I. Oh he was a fine looking guy, 6 foot 1, 190 lbs, beautiful blue eyes, and all the bluntness that I love in human beings and pray for in a friend. Intitially I had a little crush on him. That crush led to the most honest, open and healthy friendship I had shared since Steves death 8 years before.

After holding him for about 15 minutes while he cried, he looked at me and promised he would change this. That he wouldnt die on me, that he would always be there for me. After he got out of the car and went inside, I took a deep breath, backed out of his driveway, and cried, big huge sobbing noisy tears, the whole 25 minute ride home. I had a horrible feeling. I had a horrible notion I would again be alone in this world. Sure, I was married, had a husband and children, but my husband had stopped being my best friend long before, all I had... was Ben.

I need a sign to let me know you’re here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
‘Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup

When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
When you feel the world shake from the words that are said

I wont give up if you dont give up
I wont give up if you dont give up

I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me

And I’m calling all angels
I’m calling all you angels

When children have to play inside so they don’t disappear
And private eyes solve marriage lies cause we don’t talk for years
And football teams are kissing Queens and losing sight of having dreams
In a world that what we want is only what we want until it’s ours

I’m calling all angels
I’m calling all you angels


My world shook that night, just when you think things cant get worse...

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