Sunday, November 02, 2003

Halloween in Little 5

A Good Holiday

The day after Puck died was Halloween. I had planned to spend the holiday at my aunt and uncle's house, in a neighborhood far north of the city filled with children and candy. But when the day came around it looked like traffic was going to be horrendous and I just didn't feel like doing anything. Burying one of your best friends just isn't something that puts you in much of a party mood sometimes.

The outpouring of condolences that lasted all day was comforting though. Nearly everyone who had known Mr. Puck called or wrote with some memory. My supervisor at work put flowers on my desk. Andrew held a religious ceremony in honor of Puck's passing. I felt a hollow place inside of me, but managed to maintain.

I had four sets of trick or treaters. 2 sets were small children from my street, one set was a group of black children with no costumes, and the last set - after which I turned out the light - was a small gang of teens, one of whom had an infant in a snugli. The baby was small but very alert looking.

Christi arrived from Nashville just after 10 pm. We wandered around the party that was being thrown on the second floor of my house, and then went up near the bars. In Atlanta, Halloween is alive and well. The streets were swarming with superheroes, crash victims, and semi-competent attempts at drag. Christi took pictures of JLA members and a couple in drag as Elvis and Marilyn Monroe. We wandered into an all night tattoo shop and watched a boy get Pocopelli inked on his calf. The tattoo artist and his canvas seemed happy to have our attention, and Christi and I were fascinated.

Christi loved the neighborhood. Everybody does. I was glad to be out on this night with her, happy she came, but still just not very animated. I played pinball at the pizza parlor and we watched Halloween celebrants pass by the big glass windows. Ya-yas, cheerleaders in short skirts and beards, specters of death. I listened to Christi talk about her religious pursuits and we gossiped about men.

We wandered around Little 5 for another hour or so after that, poking our heads into clubs put not feeling like rocking out. We saw the famous Disco Party Bus that rides around Atlanta from party to party. It was parked in front of Front Page News, which was full to the gills and looked like a great time. I was interested until I discovered that for Halloween night the cover charge was $20. Neither Christi nor I had that kind of cash to throw around on a whim - we probably would've hung out for just an hour - so we walked back home, enjoying the people watching as we went.

She and I thought we'd go back to the party upstairs; instead we ended up in the back yard, out by Puck's grave, just sitting. A stream of Devils and Angels still passed around us as the party upstairs went on.

How can people think Halloween is about death? Halloween is about life. Everyone is dancing and sweating and dressed up and embracing and yelling. Everyone worth a damn is out in the streets with their friends or family re-affirming that the world is full of joy and goodwill to one another. Have something sweet. Have a drink. Don't you know how lucky we all are to be alive? One day you're here, curled next to me, just as you always have been. The next day you're under a patch of dirt. I wish I could have afforded cremation, so that he could be on the wind, in the sunlight, part of the air all ready. Burial has always seemed to me a barbaric and disgusting way to rejoin the ecosystem.

I don't say any of this to Christi. We sit in front of the grave and talk about a hundred other things. She hugs me. Around 2am, we pass out for the night, and the next morning have a decently long breakfast with hot tea and lots of good nutty protein. I introduce her to goat cheese. Later that day, after she's gone, I can't believe she drove all the way down here to spend the holiday with me.

Thanks for writing and calling, everyone. It means a lot. May you find white cat hair on your black shirt, a blessing from he who passed.

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