All over the world at any given moment there are billions of people missing someone they’ve lost. Tonight, that was us.
Float-building with dad. Parade driving with dad. Tie-straightening with dad. That was our week, only the dad wasn’t with us. It’s hard, if you don’t know. Most don’t.
His Bio for the Homecoming Court read that he liked surfing, snowboarding, and being Captain of the Swim Team. It also read – in its original form – that he was the son of two people instead of just one, but that part was edited out in the final draft, and not by me. Maybe it was too much for me to ask to include it. Maybe it didn’t seem an important detail, to someone else. Maybe it made those folks uncomfortable.
But let me tell you what’s really uncomfortable.
What’s uncomfortable is seeing squirming divorced parents giving each other the cold shoulder in public while their child stands awkwardly between them, a child who is scared they may cause a scene.
What’s uncomfortable is hearing someone say, “I hate my dad.” That also pisses me off.
What’s uncomfortable is being in one of those situations where, to the whole world, it’s been (WOW!) seven years (or eight, or ten, or twenty) since the dad passed away, but to us, tonight, it might as well have been yesterday, and this event was yet another on our endless list of events we must check off, where there are supposed to be two parents, and yet there’s just one.
And life goes on anyway. For everyone. Even us. Just slower and slightly more painfully.
We missed you tonight, BQ. You should have been there. And we say your name everyday.
Benjamin Fisher Quarles is the son of Dawn Quarles and the late Captain Bob Quarles.
Ben is a 4-year member of Pace High School’s Varsity Swim Team, where he serves as this year’s Team Captain. Ben is also a Pensacola Beach Lifeguard.
Ben is an avid surfer, snowboarder and spearfisherman. He enjoys any style of hunting and loves to travel as often as he can. With a million dollars, Ben says he would definitely travel. “I love getting on an airplane, showing my passport to go somewhere new, visiting a place I’ve never been before, and enjoying cool new stuff with my friends.” His Bucket List includes Scuba diving and skydiving.
Ben has often said that his uncle, Dr. Frank Abbott, is his greatest influence. “My Uncle Frank is someone who inspires me and encourages me so much, and I am so thankful I have him to look up to.” Ben’s favorite quote is, “Your boat is ready to be picked up from the shop,” by his Uncle Frank.
Ben hopes to attend Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where he will pursue a Marketing degree. He plans to live in South Florida, working in the Boating or Watersports Industry, and hopes to one day own his own company.
Ben is being escorted tonight by his mother, Dawn Quarles, and his girlfriend, Miss Molly Goodson.