Oct. 10, 1981
There is a fog covering the campus, white lace wrapping around the nearly bare trees, a Halloween specter, bringing out in me all those Halloween terrors I celebrated as a kid.
The ones with me as a skeleton roaming around East First Street in Clifton with my uncles screaming from behind me to slow down.
And those other slightly more painful Halloweens when I mistakenly dressed up as a bum, marching down Lakeview Avenue with Leonard Sariski spotting me in the crow, yelling “Al-Bum, Al-Bum,” a moniker it would take me years to live down – the memory of the march and the mocking clinging to my heals like sticky dust.
I remember being peeved at Dave Fetterman for chickening out at the last minute, and how I dreaded meeting Steve Kania, one time friend turned to bitter enemy over almost nothing at all, me cringing as the parade passed the stuccod electrical building which marked East Sixth Street.
There was a fog that night, too, and it chilled me, isolating each of us in our own strange procession. I was ashamed of my home-made costume, the rages of my uncles clothing draped over me, a smear of black on my face.
I kept looking around for Dave, thinking he might come after all, and relieve me of the intense loneliness I felt, though I knew most likely, he was back home, warm in his room, knowing better than to stalk these streets like I did.
I didn’t hate the fog so much as feared it, seeing it as an even stranger beast that paused in every doorway and knocked on every door.
I kept thinking, maybe Dave did go out, but not to march in some silly parade, but to roam the neighborhood with the other kids, trying to make himself look smaller, younger so that he could collect candy like all the younger kids did, filling his bag the way I could not, waiting to get home to stuff that candy into his face while I still paraded. I could almost hear him complaining about his take, how cheap people were this year over last, how little cash they had given along with the sweet stuff.
And here I was marching in a parade filled with ghosts and goblins, a too-realistic bum in a world of fog and imagination. The street light loomed over me like pale moons as we reached Nash Park, casting the swings and slides into an orange haze that made them look ghostly, too, the end of a march that had taken us all the way down Lakeview to Piaget and down Piaget to the park, a hobbling army of hobgoblins missing out on all the real fun.
And all I wanted to do was cry.