Carny Trash Goes to Keansburg

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Three days ago I was wide awake in the early a.m. hour on account I just could not sleep and had too many things on my mind.  It begins with the rather blunt admission from Jon that is flattering yet odd, and while the information is nothing new we have not really spoken since the accident.  Sure he sends me messages where he asks how I am doing and certainly has been quite supportive which made dealing with the situation much easier than if I had to do it alone.  However, he sent me a letter where the writing reflected he was high on something, words mashed together and spelled horribly though I got the gist of what he was saying.

Last week I was drinking Sambuca and coke while hanging out in the park, and it suddenly reminded me of that time Jon and I drove down to South Jersey to spend the night at some sleazy hotel.  No cable, one bed and condoms in the vending machine down the hall.  We sat there doing straight shots of the licorice liquor without a chaser, and then most of the night/early morning was spent hurling nonexistant stomach contents into the toilet.  Despite that I still had fun, especially when we stumbled into a diner that afternoon, ordered a massive quantity of breakfast foods due to being hungover and then spent the next couple of hours eating it all.

Jon has been in and out of my life so much over the past five years, I tried a few times to remain unattached to him but failed to do so.  Though I want to be with him more than I admit, the difficult part is that he has a habit of leaving town when things get too serious.  There were many opportunities we had to pursue that type of relationship, and somehow I always wound up sorely disappointed when it didn’t quite work that way.  Maybe I wanted more than he was ready to give me, yet I also know that he would not have stuck by as my friend for this long if it was just for kicks.  When he is not around I miss him terribly and sometimes wish our situation were different.  Accepting things the way they are is a virtue of patience I have carried with me for many miles, so I am afraid it is going to become a burden and I will reach my limit of waiting for him to decide on a permanent commitment.

The other night I was sitting out back counting stars to put myself to sleep while trying not to let everything get to me and my phone starts ringing.  Even though the number comes up unknown, I decide to answer anyway and to my surprise it’s Jon.

“How are you, Angel?” he asks after the usual exchange of greetings.

“As well as I can be.  To what do I owe the pleasure of hearing your voice?”  Getting a call from him was a rare thing and it was easy to detect there was something on his mind.

“Going on vacation for a couple of weeks.”

My stomach felt as though it balled into a giant knot but I could not let on how upset I was.

“Listen, I have to square away some things with this fellow I got the Merc from.  There is nothing else I want more than you and I know you believe that with all your heart, so I am going to do whatever it takes to prove I am worthy of it.”

“Have a safe journey, Aaron.”

“Did you hear what I said?”

Of course I had, each and every time he expressed that something was going to change and we would be riding off into the sunset together, leaving all our troubles behind to build a new life elsewhere.  We were both too old for such fantasies, though any promise Jon made had been filled and that word was never uttered unless he absolutely meant it.

“We can talk about it when you get back,” I replied, looking up at the sky.  “Where are you right now?”

“On the highway somewhere – I see her too darling and she will be there every night for us.”

The next afternoon brought clear blue skies and warm sunshine, so I treated myself to a round of mini-golf.  Muttering at a colorful ball while chasing it around with a short club is pretty hilarious when you think about it.  During one of the holes I watched some guy actually take his shoes off, hoist up his pants and climb into the water to retrieve his girlfriend’s ball, which I thought was incredibly sweet.

After that I stopped at Rita’s, the very same one I had been to with Jon ages ago where we got hollered at for making out behind someone’s van when they were trying to pull out of the parking spot.  Those memories rolled around my head as I sat at one of the tables to dine on delicious apple flavored water ice.  Oh yea, this was the first time I was in public with the new hair, which I managed to get decent height on when I spiked it.  No one really said anything but some of the looks people gave me were pretty entertaining.

Following a brief dinner I went to Border’s and flipped through magazines until a voice announced the store was closing.  By then it was evening and I just drove around various highways for a while adjusting to my new car.

Another beautiful day in the Garden State greeted me when I woke up, so I could not think of a better way to spend it than in the fresh air of the beach.  The last time I had gone to Keansburg had also been with Jon; whether the desire to visit was motivated by those memories or just something I wanted to do can be debated, but I had a smile on my face and enough money to fill up the gas tank that justified the journey.

There was no one else around as I took a stroll along the beach for a while, listening to the water lap at the sandy shore.  Eventually I headed towards the rides, though I have no idea how old I was when I actually went on any of them.  What I do remember is how my sister and I would spend hours playing games in the arcades, that I absolutely refused to go in the Spook House, and was too scared to go on the roller coaster.  Though some people grow out of gaining amusement from such things, I am an adult who still wants to have fun.

Walked around with a bag of zeppoles and savored their fried sugary goodness, then bought some tickets and proceeded to the Spook House which happened to be the oldest operating dark ride in the country.  Certainly the things which may have frightened me as a child were seen as cheezy props, though I still enjoyed the novelty of the ride and was laughing on my way out.  The Gravitron was next and somehow I actually got dizzy, then I walked over to the go-carts for a few laps, had a blast on the bumper cars, and used up the remainder of the tickets on this ride called Tornado.

On the way back to the house I decided to hit up the theater for House of Wax.  Even though it had gotten poor reviews, I was curious to see how good or bad it was for myself.  Drank rum and pineapple juice in the parking lot, figuring that if nothing else I could at least catch a buzz and relax for a few hours.  Though the film was nothing close to the original, it was not as horrible as critics had made it sound, but that may have been due to the fact I smirked a bit when Paris Hilton got impaled.  Let’s hope there is not a low-budget half-assed sequel in the future.

Quite satisfied with my day, finally getting some sleep was no problem.


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