[Originally written on this date in 2005]
Despite having survived numerous obstacles over the past five years that we have been intimate friends, these days it feels like actually getting to spend time with Jon is a rare occasion which leaves me with numerous questions I cannot bring myself to ask. It seems our time together has been broken up into the period where we were an almost inseparable dastardly duo that set upon the Big Apple to plunder its goods before retreating to the comfort and safety of the Jersey Shore, and the after effects of death which claimed our dearest friends whom we loved as family. Though content with what Electric Sideshow is doing, it pales in comparison to the shows I had with Outlaw Cirkus, and certainly nothing could ever replace those experiences. My best friend risked his life one too many times and continues to pay the price, something that weighs heavily on me despite the fact I never really discuss it with anyone.
Every second I have spent with Jon is one I will cherish for eternity, and no matter how many times we have drifted apart, we always find our paths crossing and easily fall into the routine of rekindling a relationship that never actually ends. The majority of the time he disappeared from my life was out of concern for my safety and something I had to come to accept if I had any hopes of pursuing a mutual level of trust. Jon often expressed how devastated he would be if any harm fell upon me on account of just knowing him, and I can attest that there is nothing thrilling about being scared due to the fact you are friends with someone. All of that was ignored in favor of discovering who he was as a person; what his passions were and what motivated him to do the things he did; what his dreams and fears were.
Though I will never post any photos of us together nor publicly call him anything but Jon, and certainly he will not make any appearances among those I consider close acquaintances, there is no doubt that he has been a huge influence and continues to serve as a mentor. While he is far from perfect, I do not and would not make the claim that he is such, particularly since I have seen him at his worst and even lower than that without ever wanting to abandon him. Sometimes there are just individuals who come into your life and make such an impression on you, that despite all of their shortcomings and possibly even attempts to ward you off, you see beyond the superficial exterior and find a deeper connection. My love for him is undeniable and perhaps one day I will be able to fully indulge in it.
Onto the events of that evening, which were kicked off by a strong glass of vodka and orange juice and coming to the conclusion I had too much hair. Shaved the sides to create a sort of ‘hawk, which is still in the baby stages and therefore will need some length before it looks really good. Not worried on account it is just hair and DIY to the best to my ability. There was enough to apply a liberal amount of product to create a stripe of tiny spikes so that made me happy as well.
Jon requested that I meet him in Cherry Hill, a town that has been subjected to our antics on a number of occasions which still served as a location for our heartfelt reunions. There was a lot of emotion in his voice that he attempted to mask with enthusiasm, though I did not get the feeling they were negative or heavily influenced by drugs. My mind wandered a lot through the whole getting dressed and applying makeup routine, slightly nervous to be seeing him after almost two weeks had gone by and in such a public place. By the time I was rolling down the highway those thoughts became distant voices drowned out by thundering drums and twanging guitars.
When I pulled into the parking lot there was instant confusion – where was the iconic Chevy Nova that often accompanied my dates with Jon? We had logged many miles in that car, the source of an affectionate nickname I used when we first became friends and only spoke of him in code. It was more for our amusement than anything else, though there was a lot of sentimental value he invested in that car. Then it occurred to me we had a brief conversation about his desire for change, something about being tired of the daredevil junkie who doesn’t give a fuck and wanting to become more than a character. Having him share such deep thoughts is never easy; Jon is his own worst critic and not afraid to be brutally honest with himself.
Standing outside my humble Ford, I watched someone I thought I recognized climb out of a ’49 Mercury, the maroon paint job almost glowing under the parking lot lights. For a moment I was dumbfounded and caught myself staring at him, dirty blonde hair groomed in shallow waves away from his face, which was freshly shaved and contrasted by the prominent tattoos I sometimes forgot were there. Though there was still a weariness settled in the fine lines that interrupted this artwork, a genuine happiness sparkled in his eyes where I found myself drowning in blue-grey pools of liquid emotion. The smell that came from his soft skin was spiced with liquorice, heady wafts of weed dancing off the hyde of his red leather jacket, a great statement piece to an outfit that was vintage casual edged in attitude.
It was not until we were both inside the Mercury that we engaged in a Hollywood Moment which may have resulted in a kissing session that slightly ruined my makeup. Having always wanted to cruise the streets in a classic, just doing so was enough to put a smile on my face, but I also happened to be with my partner in crime who was enjoying himself just as much. We split a blunt as we were making an attempt to find the movie theater; Jon is driving around in circles yet neither of us could figure out what we were doing wrong. It made for great amusement up until we almost got wasted by a mini van, which he apologized for profusely even though it was not his fault. Eventually we aimed ourselves in the right direction, but the theater was on the other side of the highway! Then it was time to play How Do We Get to the Dang Theater?
Swerving through a mall parking lot, possibly accidentally scaring anyone in the vicinity as traffic signs were ignored, we finally reached our destination. In the lot we smoked the remainder of the blunt and drank strong whiskey Jon would not tell me the name of, citing it was a present from his trip to West Virginia where he had traded in the Chevy for the magnificent beast we currently sat it. Approving the choice came naturally, and I am sure that I babbled on about how good he looked and all that.
Whatever was in his magic flask hit me hard, but he was a gentleman as always and had no problem escorting me into the theater so that he could purchase our tickets. It was challenging to maintain composure, but even though the people glanced our way, they avoided staring for too long and had nothing witty to say. Apparently having a heavily modified Carny as my date was the exact defense I needed against ignorant comments. Go figure. The drugs and alcohol continued to filter through my system and we found seats, just in time for Sin City to begin, as it is the sort of film I felt compelled to see more than once. Doing so in the company of someone you love certainly enhances the experience, and I am pretty sure that aside from casually holding hands, neither of us moved the entire time. Our eyes were fixed on the screen as though we were casual observes in that black and white world.
Of course hitting up a diner afterwards was in order, and the immediate area offered two chrome gems: Silver Coin [which is nicknamed In and Out for some reasons] and the Cherry Hill Coach. Our choice was the latter, where we consumed even more whiskey in the parking lot before going inside. In my inebriated state I managed to send a text message to James, though I have no idea what it said or if he ever responded. After being seated we put in an order for two omelettes – mine was Western, his was Spanish – waffles, bacon, toast and plenty of coffee. His hands held mine as we discussed the film and then were presented with our food. Plates were cleaned, coffee was consumed and conversation flowed; I was having trouble seeing and shared this with Jon who then decided to pay the bill and guide me back to the Mercury.
The backseat is like a miniature living room, the white leather interior neatly tucked-and-rolled in pristine beauty, my fingers dancing along the ridges for a moment before he tilts my chin up and catches my lips in his. If sobering up had been his plan, I became even more intoxicated by his taste and smell, every gentle touch of his hands on my body more than welcomed and encouraged.
An hour later Jon was helping me get into my own car, and followed behind as I made my way back to the house. With no one around he kissed me one final time on the porch, gracing me with the most beautiful words that southern twanged Jersey accent ever said before driving off. Pretty much had enough energy to change into sleeping clothes and passed out. Have been recovering all morning, and though I just ate a massive amount of fruit, I still have a bit of rotten belly. Memories plagued me while I laid in bed, unable to prevent my thoughts from returning to everything that happened and trying to make sense of it all.