Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ben's Antics

Ben came to visit here. In his words, “it's surreal.” I think it's a lot of fun to have him here. Sometimes it just feels like the place is missing someone. It was nice to sit around last night, shooting the bull like we always do and see Ben. He's right, the conversations are like they always are. James defends New Jersey, Korena says something incoherent, Katherine falls asleep on the couch, I yell at everyone they are wrong, and Jacob tells us something historical. It's a funny juxtaposition.

The world moves forward but the conversation remains the same. As much as we are getting older and the world is changing around us, we keep rehashing everything we've said before. Life is both circular and linear. It reminded me of the good times with Ben.

We were headed to somewhere. Not sure where we were going. We had found ourselves far more inebriated than we had intended. Ben, probably more so than the rest of us. We had wandered down to the bus station and were waiting for it to arrive. Typical night. The street lights were so bright, everything else disappeared into the dark night. Ben found himself, as many of us do under the influence, in the precarious position of needing to relieve himself. He implored us not to look. And he promptly wandered over to one of the lamp posts.

He then proceeded to lean against the pole with it obscuring our view to his nether regions. “Don't look over here.” He said it again. Korena and I were doubled over in laughter. Unable to contain ourselves at his unstable posture and earnest request. We did not oblige. After all, he was the only thing lit up in the area.

The post may have protected our group from viewing his man bits, but anyone walking on the other side of the post would have seen all of him. That is precisely what happened. Two young ladies walked by gawking at him. They could barely suppress their giggles as Korena and I collapsed in fits.

It was later that year, Ben was having a rough time. We were in Korena's massive room, and once again found ourselves under the influence of alcohol. Ben, sometimes being a bit of an introvert, had taken to hiding himself in Korena's closet. He then asked me to join him. We had a quiet conversation, free from the music, people, and any light. Korena opened the closet door and pushed her face into the wardrobe. “What are you guys doing?” I politely explained to her that we were having a meaningful conversation. She seemed hurt that she was not invited and shut the door with an announcement, “Ben and Nick are in the closet. Come out of the closet Ben and Nick.”

I laughed, it was all I could do to not strangle her sometimes. Ben needed an ear. Someone to listen. It was a tough time for him. He was searching for his identity I think. I think we all are searching for our identity still.

And now he's moved on, beyond Skidmore's bubble. I am not sure he always has someone to talk to, but I know he will find what he is looking for. And he seems directed now; sure of where he is going and who he is. And yet he is still the guy in the closet, still the guy leaning against a lamp post, still the same old Ben.