[Originally written on this date in 2005]
Three weeks after watching my best friend disappear on a hitching adventure, I am checking my e-mail and find an invitation from Jon to meet him in Asbury Park. No details of where he had been or what he had been doing, yet somehow in those brief sentences I felt there was an urgency in the request. Having been so wrapped up in other things, I had almost forgotten about the emotional evening outside a diner where I saw the very human side of Reverend Saint Jon. Unsure of what to expect when I arrived in that familiar seaside town, I walked up to the liquor store for liquid courage; since I was not paying attention, I wound up swiping some pineapple flavored rum. Which meant going to the grocery store in the same shopping complex to steal an accompanying bottle of pineapple soda.
Returned to the house to shower and assemble myself, bonding in the hand-dyed extensions I had made earlier in the week. The colors came out fairly saturated and are quite vibrant, though still easily blend into my own hair. Secured some hand made hair flowers to compliment my hair and makeup, then put on a circle skirt, halterneck top, cashmere cardigan and patent Mary Jane’s over fishnet tights. Driving down I was really nervous and excited, the anticipation of seeing Jon again after so many days without even so much as hearing his voice or seeing some text float through my inbox.
Even though it was dark I could see his Chevy, my heart racing as I pulled into a parking spot and approached the driver’s side door. When Jon stepped out I stopped in my tracks, distracted by the slight limp I suddenly notice and the way his overall posture was that of someone hiding a lot of pain. Still his smile melted my heart, our bodies connecting in a Hollywood Moment; his arms swallowed me and I was lost in those familiar scents of licorice and leather, the unmistakable odor of long-term traveling sans showering evident in the fiber of clothes I could have sworn he was wearing the last time I saw him. My mind was distracted by the lips kissing mine followed by the invitation to drag whispered in my ear.
Moments later the King and Queen entered the Lanes as they had done so many times in the past. The girl that greeted us at the door complimented my hair flowers, inquiring as to where I got them. Smiling, I happily explained that I crafted them myself, to which she replied: “You should consider selling those, they’re so beautiful.”
Renting two pairs of shoes, as soon as we picked out a lane and sat down to change our shoes, Ghouls Night Out was rocking the stage. It did not take long for me to start enjoying them, and unlike most all-female bands, they actually had talent to go along with their wicked aesthetics. The coke was hitting us at that point, but we still had to bowl and took a few shots from a flask provided by Jon before starting the first game. Making it through all of the frames where we both had semi-decent scores, it was time to take a snack break and enjoy the tunes of Crimson Ghost Society. How can you not dig surf versions of Misfits songs? Now usually bowling alley food is not all that great, packed full of cholesterol and dripping with grease. Though we did share an order of onion rings, that chicken sandwich I had was pretty darn good – hits the spot when you are hungry and drunk.
We returned to the lane and bowled one more game as Hunchback took the stage. That was the only band I was not really into, though I cannot say why because I was too busy concentrating on hitting the pins, as the booze and blow were making it hard enough to do so. At that point I excused myself to the bathroom and thought it would be a good time to call James, though I do not remember any sort of conversation. On the way out this random girl commented that I looked really nice that evening. Since I was feeling rather jovial, I complimented her collar; she was so grateful that she thanked me with a kiss on the cheek. It’s good to be the Queen.
After six frames, each of us winning three games a piece, Jon had enough and suggested we go outside for some fresh air. Returned the shoes and on the way out this fashion punk was walking in at the same time. For a moment he paused and nodded in our direction, which was followed by a casual “hey” before he went inside. We both laughed and joked about our royal status, something we have not done in so long that I almost forgot what is what like to see King Shit in action.
Wandering away from the Lanes towards the beach and coming across a trail, we discovered it was still saturated from the several bouts of snow that have come through coupled with the increasingly warmer days, fun ensuing while we tried to avoid the soggy and muddy parts. There are very few places in Jersey where you can just walk at your own pace, enjoying nature in its uninterrupted beauty. In all, I believe we walked for almost an hour before Jon stopped, turned to me and initiated a passionate kissing session. The surreal feelings overwhelmed any protest I may have had, because while I enjoyed every second his lips, hands and thigh touched mine, we had not seen each other in weeks and could not just fall into such behavior.
Pulling away was the only way I could stop, but he held me tenderly and said it was probably a good idea to head back. My hand never left his as we made our way through the darkened trail once again, and our shoes were splashed with the orange mud by the time we got back to the Chevy. There Jon kissed me again and there was no reason I could think of to fight against him, though the sight of us making out in the street caused a few people to shout obscenities that killed the mood. Leaning against the trunk, I was pulled into him and felt secure once again as I listened to the rhythm of his heartbeat.
“Did you enjoy yourself, Angel?” He asks me this in Carny Speak and makes sure to drawl out the name. The first nickname he gave me due to all the times I was ‘such an angel’ while we were pulling cons; the name he has always used during intimate moments to let me know how much he loves me. He knows what it does to me but I let him because I like giving him that power. “Listen, don’t be sore at me for taking off the way I did. It’s just that I have been in a very bad place since that accident, and instead of opening up to you about it, I let myself drown in self-pity.”
“It’s alright Aaron,” I slowly reply, my enunciation not as good as his because I don’t practice enough. He said I am the only one allowed to call him by this name; the only one I know for a fact is a part of his real name because it was passed down to him from his father, the mysterious man I have seen in photos, heard about in stories and visited the grave site of with the son who honors him like an ancient god.
We kiss one more time before he escorts me to my car, helping me get in and standing there while it warms up to ensure I pull out into the evening in safety. The taste of his lips linger on mine, and I smile as I head onto the highway and head back to the house.