[Originally written on this date in 2005]
For three days I participated in festivities where people happily set off various explosives in honor of the nation’s freedom. This far exceeded any of the neighborhood activities that may have popped up when I was younger, with the exception of the community fireworks that was open to everyone. Being in an area where no cops were going to come check out what you are doing is always a plus, but I am getting ahead of myself.
The morning after a successful show at Otto’s, I was in a great mood and patiently waiting on the transportation I was informed would be provided at a certain time. When the white ’57 Cadillac slowly crept up the street, I had to wonder what I was getting myself into and why I even sent Jon that letter in the first place. He didn’t even have to get out, as I was already on the edge of the grass tightly clutching my bag, shielded by sunglasses and hoping I was presentable since my ‘hawk decided to do whatever it wanted despite an attempt to tame it. Climbing inside, a tropical scent exuded from the white leather interior, cool air blowing from chrome vents and a fat joint lightly smoking in the ashtray.
He smiled and greeted me warmly even though the roughness of his voice showed; seeing him without the usual clown makeup was still strange, though the silvered hair groomed with pomade and aged face tattoos gave him a distinguished appearance. “How are you, Angel?”
“Doing fairly well,” I said, returning the smile as I picked up the joint and relaxed into the comfort that surrounded me. “How about yourself, Austin?”
“Oh, are we so informal now?” he chuckled, a hand nonchalantly sliding across my knee. “Aaron told me that you are going out on the carnival circuit, and as much as he wanted to be here, you understand he needs to stay where he is for a while longer.”
“Is he alright?” I asked, the concern evident as I tried not to think of the worse.
“No baby doll, I am sorry to say that he had a relapse and is seeking treatment to get clean again before he can come home.”
My stomach wrenched into knots as my heart sank, but being upset wasn’t going to help Jon one bit. The desire to quit drugs was a prominent one, yet he became a victim of his addictions far too often and constantly struggled for a fresh start. On a few occasions he said they were a means of punishment for failing to do what his heart desired, though it was difficult for me to fully empathize with his experiences and that was a helpless place to be.
That evening we camped out on a remote beach, sending fireworks upward and watching as their colorful spark showers burst against the star-filled sky. We grilled up some fish and vegetables, polished off two bottles of wine and sat next to each other while toasting marshmallows.
Activities which had been planned for the following day were postponed due to the massive quantity of rain that plagued the area for almost the entire morning. When the clouds moved on and the sun warmed up the sky, we were cruising with the windows down and swapping stories of our favorite Outlaw Cirkus shows. Though we stopped along the way for lunch at a diner and sundaes at an ice cream parlor, most of the time was spent getting high in the Cadillac and just enjoying the ocean breeze.
Free fireworks were watched when night came again, drinking whiskey and being wrapped in a warm embrace. He was as much of a gentleman as Jon, having served as the patriarch to Outlaw Cirkus on a number of levels and mentor to us both. As I mentioned earlier, there were collective intimate moments that involved the three of us which had been infiltrating my thoughts since I read his letter. Nothing had ever been done without full consent, though influence from intoxicating substances and a desire to satiate curiosity may have played a role in those decisions.
The first move was his, hand sliding across my waist to pull me closer, his eyes sparkling as lips parted and sought out my own. It was nice, gentle and far less aggressive than kissing Shane, the tenderness causing a flutter of excitement somewhere inside of me. The next move was mine, curling my fingers around the nape of his neck as I returned the gesture and wondered how far either of us was willing to go.
“Did Aaron ask you to take care of me?” I asked while stroking his hair.
“Even if he did, I am capable of making my own decisions,” he replied, a hand cautiously settling on my thigh. “You underestimate yourself, Angel.”
“There is something I have to tell you,” I said, distracted by where that hand wound up and momentarily losing my words to a seductive sigh.
“Can it wait?”
“No, I was unfaithful to Aaron once and I cannot be consumed by the guilt of doing it again.”
“You seem to be enjoying yourself just fine,” he teased, now looming over me and sending endorphins into overdrive. “Tell me to stop baby doll, and you know I will.”
Except that I couldn’t; his expertise of carnal knowledge had me writhing in submission and I wanted more. Austin certainly delivered, and over the course of the next few hours I thought of no one but him. There did not have to be any approval of our passion, for it was something meant for just the two of us and the millions of stars that looked down on our sweaty bodies.
Independence Day was celebrated with an afternoon of grilling and drinking lemonade under the shade of tall pine trees. In less than three weeks I would be leaving all of this beauty of the Garden Sate in favor of life on the road. Reality had yet to sink in even though I had been out on several shopping trips to acquire new clothes – colorful tank tops and skirts in comfortable cotton that would offer me versatility – and a metal train case for all of my makeup. Having settlement money from my accident collect interest also allowed me to order some shoes and body jewelry on-line, having enough to use for gas and food as needed for the first few weeks while traveling.
There were more fireworks, both of the festive variety and those we created ourselves, and a long drive down to the end of New Jersey where we stood on the beach together gazing into the endless ocean.
“Angel, we are both very proud of you,” he said, squeezing my hand. “We love you very much and hope that this experience gives you what you are looking for.”
Coming back was necessary, but that did not stop me from wanting to stay with Austin, entertaining schemes of taking that Cadillac down to West Virginia and bringing Aaron back, reuniting the unholy trio who pursued a life of decadence once more.
However, I am set to depart on July 22 and was subjected to a tearful good-bye. The first fair I am going to be performing at is four and half hours away in Bedford, PA. A few other spots have already been booked which will take us further into Pensyltucky, though after that the route is yet unknown. There is a lot of sewing to do in the meantime, and I should probably call my dad. Have been trying to figure out what to tell him since I have no idea how cell coverage will be, or if I will be able to answer the phone when he calls. Though I am certainly not ashamed of what I am going to be doing, I haven’t quite figured out how to say: ” Hey dad, I have a great job! Yea, I am going on tour with the carnival doing sideshow acts!”
The only reason I have to mention it at all is due to needing my car insurance paid, which I likely will not have time to send out with the traveling and working I will be doing. Dreading the possibility of hearing that disappointed tone in his voice, but I am getting paid to do something I love and already have the full support of my Family, so I need to focus on that and get things done before time runs out.