To this day I haven’t received a more cryptic text message than the one I woke up to on this day five years ago.
Hey man, just want to tell you tomorrow is going to be a day, be ready.
Just do your normal routine, make your breakfast, and come to the office at the usual time.
If it helps, just know I’ve already cried about this several times, but we’re going to be okay.
The messages were from Ben, my editor and boss at VIBE. At the time, I was an articles editor, but my main duty was online editor. I had just started working under Ben after reporting to Danyel, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, and Ross, the head of digital, for the better part of a year. Ben was not a new employee, he was one of the more senior people on staff, but we never worked as close as we had within those last couple of months.
Reading those text messages from Ben made my heart sink straight into my stomach. At the time I received them, I wasn’t home. I was at the apartment of a girl I was seeing. During that time, it was customary for me to wake up an hour before her and quietly step out to go home and get ready for the day. But on that morning, I was too scared to even move. I woke her up instead.
“What do I do about this?”
She was half-asleep, but attentive enough to calm me down. “It might not be as bad as you think,” she said.
“But it’s definitely not good, right?”
“Well, yeah,” she said. “If he said he cried, it doesn’t sound good.”
I sat on the side of her bed and just stared at the drawn blinds covering her small bedroom window. The fear that I was going to be fired paralyzed me momentarily. The time was 6:30 AM, and it would be at least another three hours before I found out anything.