Today, I am sharing my blog with RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author, Rhani D’Chae!
As always… enjoy!
He Changed My Life
I met Ben when I was 14 and working for a carnival. He was of average height, slightly stocky, with thick black hair, blue eyes, and a lopsided grin that I rarely saw during my time with him. He had an amazing sense of humor – when he allowed himself to find something funny – and he had a worldview like nothing I’ve ever seen before. He was also 12 years older than me that I didn’t care. I was in love!
Together we ran the Jenny, and they were often periods of free time while we waited for enough ticket holders to climb on. Ben educated me on the ins and outs of carney life and told me the history of the world that he had called home for the last decade or so.
Ben also told me about himself and I soon saw that my first love had genuine darkness behind his enigmatic blue eyes. He had an ex-wife, and a five-year-old daughter that he hadn’t seen in years. I could tell by the way that he spoke of her that she was the most important person in his life, and it was also clear that he hated his ex for keeping her from him.
But hate was an emotion that Ben carried well. He made it clear that, in his opinion, life would systematically beat a person down until there was nothing left of mind or soul, and he considered his fellow human beings to be nails in an unavoidable coffin. Therefore, he hated people in general and walked a solitary path by choice. A rough past, the circumstances of his divorce, the banishment from his daughter’s life, and the news that he had cancer had filled him with a cynical bitterness that defied comprehension.
But the more he talked, the more his opinions and ideas made sense. So it wasn’t long before I was engraving his words onto my soul, where they became as much a part of me as my DNA.
He taught me to watch my back, guard my heart, and to never trust anyone – especially those who claimed to be my friends. This may seem like negative advice, but a young girl on the streets often attracts the worst kind of people, and I truly believe that it was his warnings that kept me alive. He was a hard man who had learned some very brutal truths.
But surprisingly, he was also a man who remembered what it was to walk through life with hope in his heart and the promise of tomorrow stretching out before him. This was made clear to me when I saw the tattoo on the left side of his chest.
The picture was that of a heart, pierced by a sword and a rose that together formed an X. The heart signified love, he said one night as we shared a bottle of tequila, while the sword and the rose represented the beauty and the pain that inevitably followed the impact of Cupid’s tiny arrow. Beneath the heart was a banner that contained the letters L. D. R. It was, I suppose, a feminine design, but it in no way lessened his masculinity; rather, it explained the man that he was, while being an homage to the man that he had been before his love of life had suffered an agonizing death at the hands of fate.
“Live, dream, and remember,” he explained. “Those are the three things you should never be afraid to do.” I never forgot those words and have done my best to live by them.
A year or so later, I learned from a mutual friend that Ben had passed. However, it wasn’t the cancer that took him. Ben dreaded the thought of spending his final days in a hospital bed as a wasted shadow of what he had once been, and I think that had a lot to do with the decisions that he made.
Long story short, Ben crossed some people in a way that could not be excused or forgiven. He was eventually found, and met his death on his own terms, fighting to the end. I believe that he received a great deal of satisfaction in that, because he told me several times that lying in a bed and waiting for the clock to take down was almost as bad as the death itself.
To this day, my first love lives on in my heart. I’m who I am largely because of his influence, and I will always…remember.
A brutal experience transforms an unproven young tough into a ruthless killing machine. For 15 years he waited, building his body into an unstoppable weapon so that vengeance would be had through the strength of his will and the power of his hands.
Rhani D’Chae is a visually impaired writer, reader, and lover of cats. She is currently working on the second book in the Drill series, about an unrepentant enforcer and the violent life that he leads.
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