Chris Benoit Should Have Changed His Middle Name to Magellan
Sitting in the back of the limousine Chris Benoit was ready to go home, he needed to go home. It had been two weeks since he'd seen his wife or his son. He missed them and he needed them near him during those nights spent by himself in hotel rooms, alone with his thoughts.
His voice sounded scared and nervous as he leaned forward, poking his head through the divider to give instructions to Jimmy Baswell, his limo driver. Benoit asked to take the long way home. The limousine was to criss-cross it’s way out of Charlotte, turning often and using side streets whenever possible. The limo was not to pass through any major cities, not even Atlanta. The detours, though lengthy, were, in Chris Benoit’s mind, absolutely necessary. He did not want to be recognized. He did not want to be followed. Even at that late hour Benoit was terrified of being found, of being seen.
He did not know where the paranoia came from. It had been happening on and off for the past four or five years. Seemingly out of nowhere, waves of anxiety would cascade over his body, turning him into a shaking, nervous wreck. At times he felt as if there was some sort of conspiracy against him. Some person or group was plotting to harm him and his family. They had appeared to him in dreams, a shadowy network of men determined to ruin his life, to kill his wife, his son, his parents, his friends. In his dreams, Chris Benoit watched as everybody he loved died.
He had become distrustful and suspicious of others. The already reserved Benoit had drawn further inside of himself, building both emotional and physical barricades. A massive fence now surrounded his entire 8.5 acre property. He rarely opened up to his coworkers on the road, preferring to travel alone, or with one or two other close companions. The crazy routes home assured that he wasn’t followed, assured that he would be safe.
The limousine hit interstate 77, when he was sure that the car was not followed out of Charlotte, Chris Benoit allowed himself to relax. He could feel the exhaustion and soreness settling deep inside of his bones. Sleep had not come, it would not come, until he made it home safely. He chewed on pieces of his finger as he looked out of the tinted windows of the car, his eyes nervously rolling between every headlight and streetlamp that he passed.
He was sick of the road. The endless highways that always lay sprawled out in front of him. When he first started his career he loved the road, loved all the travel. He got to go places he never dreamed he’d go, see things he'd never dreamed of seeing. But as the years dragged on, the novelty wore off. All the different places ended up looking the same. He didn’t know if he was in Louisville, Kentucky or Nashville, Tennessee. Frankly, he didn’t care. In the past three and a half months, he had traveled, by land and by air, over thirty-four thousand miles. His life was an endless stream of highways, airport security lines, and limousines. Living out of his suitcases, he ate in restaurants and off buffet tables laid out in arenas. He never stopped, he was always moving, an average distance of 400 miles a day. In a year, Benoit and his colleagues traveled far enough to circle the planet five times.
All that travel meant sacrifices, and it was his wife Nancy and their young son Daniel who suffered. Chris couldn’t be there for birthdays, for parent-teacher conferences, for t-ball games. He didn't like to think about the distances between himself and his family. He could hardly bear not knowing what they were doing, how they were feeling. He loved and treasured his wife and son. The thought of being without them left an ache in his stomach that he couldn’t ignore