[Originally written on this date in 2004]
Everything started out fine and yet the result was a castastrophe, an event that has shaken me to the point where I have no idea how to even begin writing about what has happened. My hands are trembling and I am doing my best to type through my tears – so glad I am by myself because I do not want anyone to see me so broken, yet I kind of wish I had someone here to comfort me.
Yesterday I came down to spend Mischief Night and Halloween with Jon, as we had planned to conduct our annual haunting of the Pine Barrens as swampy zombies and take great joy in scaring people. He had even decided that despite the cooling weather, he was going to do a final run on the Wall of Death before packing it away for Winter. We whittled away the afternoon putting up each other’s ‘hawks, smoking blunts, doing some corpse makeup and drinking lots of whiskey. Dinner was biscuits and gravy because that was what Jon always ate the day before he was going to risk his life. It gave him a sense of comfort, reminding him of being a kid and eating it with his dad during breaks when they worked a carnival circuit down in West Virginia.
Afterwards he challenged me to several drag races and that pretty much set the tone for the type of debauchery he was into that evening. We get into the Chevy and he drives us out to this farm somewhere in South Jersey that was doing a haunted hayride, barn and walk. The lines for the hayride and barn were too long for either of us to tolerate, so we opt for the super spooky maze thing. While in line, we got cut due to snogging and not paying attention. Jon was also told to “watch the four-letter words” by a parent who had heard him cursing excessively, due to the presence of young flesh. This is not something you want to say to a man who couldn’t care less what he says around kids, and he definitely gave them a hearty sneer when I know he wanted to give them a piece of his mind. Have to say I am proud of him for showing restraint, though I did not hesitate in delivering a ‘fuck you’ to some snot-nosed brat who decided it was cute to call me scary. It’s Halloween – things are supposed to be scary.
The woods were not at all ‘haunted’, which Jon complained about loudly. Could not blame him considering we have done so much more with a lot less money. Though constructing a maze on a farm is not exactly the same as being in the Pine Barrens with strange things grabbing at you. It was not even that dark so we could see people lurking in what little shadows there were, waiting to ‘scare’ the people that came by. Maybe it was meant to be for younger children, and I could not help but wonder what the other two attractions where like. At one point I caught a ghoul messing with the ‘hawk, which was wilting due to the annoying mist that fell, and it made me laugh.
Back in the Chevy, we drink all the whiskey and possibly wind up kissing for a while. Take a momentary nap and pay no attention to the sound of the engine starting. With fresh air rushing into my face and Jon playfully poking me while repeatedly asking if I am alright, do I need to puke, am I going to stop being a lightweight and laughing the entire time. While my eyes do not want open, I am slightly coherent and can smell the blunt he is smoking. The fragrant aroma is enough to encourage me to sit up and take a few drags. Then he hands me a silver cigarette case and tells me I need to wake up before we get to our destination because he needs me. No hesitation and no questions – I know this man too well to do either. He has been doing coke all day and I can see the effect it is having on him but say nothing.
There is darkness all around us and the scent of pine is strong, almost as much as his arms are as they embrace me. Our lips meet with passion and I wonder why he chose now to do this when we had all day to fool around. This is not casual – I can feel the intensity of his actions, desires and the need to make a connection with me. He is scared though would never express it, the adrenaline and euphoria are taking over and he is loving every moment of it.
When we reach the Wall of Death, he is grinning from ear to ear and takes a minute to soak in the roar of the crowd. Even though he has done this hundreds of times before, I can still feel my heart racing in my chest. Crammed into the makeshift dressing room, Jon suits up in layers of fire retardant materials and leather to protect him in case of a crash. There have been moments in the past he had a bad spill so safety is always a priority. When he challenges me to a race, I am too intoxicated to say what is on my mind and instead drunkenly taunt him. This leads to five minutes of “just one more” because I actually manage to beat him a couple of times without trying. That is when I have to put my foot down and remind him of what he is about to do.
“But I’m the Daredevil, baby,” he says to me as a hand slips through his ‘hawk. “Death chases me, but I am too smart to be caught so don’t you worry about a thing.”
When he kisses me I feel like I am the luckiest woman in the whole world.
Standing in the bleachers with the rest of the gathered crowd, the nervousness subsides and I am completely tuned in, shouting and cheering to pump up the energy. When Jon comes into sight, helmet hanging on his wrist as he walks out the motorcycle, thunderous applause echoes into the evening. He has arrived.
The engine roars, the crowd cheers and the Death Defying Daredevil rides that metallic machine round the Wall of Death. It is an incredible scene and if you have never witnessed this amazing feat, you are truly missing out on something fantastic. For the longest time I thought it was only something which existed in movies, and then I met Jon. His showmanship is on a level one does not expect from a man covered in tattoos and piercings who looks like he just got in from traveling the rails most of the time. That is what feeds him though, because he loves to prove people wrong and do things that are perceived as impossible.
He is pulling out every trick and executes them flawlessly. This might be the best run he has ever had and I am grinning so hard my face hurts. Then it happened – I did not see what made him pitch forward over the handlebars, but it was horrible and for a few moments the crowd had no idea what was going on. The impact of his body against the wooden boards shattered my nerves, I cried out for help while pushing my way through the mass of useless flesh around me. Was there even any kind of emergency response team there? All I could think of was that my best friend was lying motionless a few yards in front of me and no one was helping him.
It felt as though an eternity passed before the medics showed up – I had no idea who was doing crowd control, and by now they had fallen silent because they realized something had gone wrong. Apparently it was only a few minutes but it definitely felt much longer, especially when I saw them doing CPR and reaching for the defibulator. My mind was consumed with the thought that I had just watched my best friend die and I had no shame in crying. Then I saw him gasp for breath and the medic yelled for someone to call an ambulance. Relief should have been sweet, but I wanted to be with Jon – there were people holding me back and I watched helplessly as he was hauled onto a stretcher.
That is the last thing I remember. How I got back to his house is a mystery – the Chevy is parked outside and I have been wallowing in whiskey and chocolate, waiting to hear something, anything, about how Jon is doing. Suffice to say that my Halloween is quite somber this year and I have no one to talk to about my feelings. My best friend almost died. No, he was clinically dead for a few minutes and I am alone in his house, too overwhelmed by everything to write any more.