There is something about road trips alone that bring reflection. I drove a little under four hours today. That’s a lot of thinking. This story is 100% true and a result of that.

1995 – Waikiki

“I don’t want to live any more.”

One, one-thousand. Two, one-thousand.

Three seconds of silence filled the line before Ben spoke.

“You’re talking crazy.” He was searching for my smile.

“I have a knife. It’s in my hand.” Hearing the words whispered from my quivering lips still didn’t convince me it was real.

“You really have a knife? I’m coming over. Promise me you aren’t going to do anything.”

“No. Don’t.”

Please hurry.

“I’m fine.”

I’m not.

“Fuck, Christine, shut the fuck up. I am on my way. I’m hanging up now so be ready to buzz me up in five minutes.”

Four, one-thousand.

“Fuck. Say something Christine.” I knew he was serious because he was calling me by my first name. Stephanie was somewhere lost inside me and he knew it.

“Ok.”

Please hurry.

After Ben talked me off the ledge of despair, he attempted to make me laugh. I managed a smile and through my shame of dramatic disposition, I leaned over and opened my arms.

Ben and I shared an embrace. There was nothing romantic or sexual about it; with Ben my love always shone under the neon lights of Platonic Party Friend. But after this episode, he was a brother.

Unlike every other male friend I hung out with, Ben and I never had sex. We kissed once high on ecstasy and shared a nervous laugh in the others’ mouth. It was awkward.

My clinical depression took me places I never imagined. I used to hide from the world in my apartment, unplug the phone and ingest massive amounts of drugs. I plotted my death. Envisioned who would show up at my funeral. What would they say? What music would they play at the wake and more importantly, what would they be wearing?

When I finally felt like actually following through with my fantasy, I reached out. I connected my phone to the wall and dialed up Ben before I even knew what I was doing.

***

After leaving the island and losing touch with just about everybody from those days, I sought help. I spoke of Ben frequently in my sessions.

Deep down I knew I never wanted to die. I simply didn’t know how to live.

Fast-forward almost twenty years and thanks to the marvels of technology, Ben and I have reconnected.

This post is a love letter. My way of saying thank you to Ben. He helped save my life before I knew I was capable of doing it myself. Thank you, sweet Ben. My knight in shining friend.

19 comments

  1. This posts reminds me of things. I love your blog; it's so well thought out, attractive, with excellent writing (always a bonus). Thanks for stopping by mine, Im now a follower in return. x

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  2. Thank you for sharing that! The non-sexual relationships I've had with male friends who have hung in their with me mean ten times more than most of the sexual relationships I've had with past bozos. Friends rock! Great post!

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  3. What courage you have for sharing such a story (and so beautifully written!)I just saw the next post about a writer's conference and I want to go see where you're off to…

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  4. Wow Christine..I have one very big lump in my throat. This is what love & friendship is all about. Being there for someone in their hours of need. Ben is a TRUE friend in every sense of the word. He is what I would call one of earth's angels.Thank you for sharing such a raw & honest life story with us. Depression is a very real disorder that affects many people and I am so pleased that you found your way through Christine.

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  5. Anyone who has suffered with depression needs a Ben. I've had three or four over the years, and while their life-saving efforts have not been as dramatic, they have had the same results. Still here, still kicking, still smiling. And still in love with those friends.And you might be interested to know, when I saw that you were headed to that conference, I actually Googled it to see if there were any openings, Mapquested it to see how long it would take me to drive there from Vegas, and, had my kids not needed a ride home today, I would have joined you. That's how in need I am of one of those road trips, and how much I would have loved spending a couple of days with you. Some day!

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