A rainy Saturday afternoon made moving more of an unpleasant task than it was already. While driving the rental truck to my new digs, I listened to the local radio station’s tribute for John Lennon’s birthday on that October 9th, 1993, helping me clear my mind of the recent past, having just left my wife and home for irreconcilable differences.
How easily those italicized words can euphemistically sum up a miserable, marital breakup without the seedy, unpleasant details.
My young son, Andy (not his real name), along with a good friend and I, had loaded all my personal belongings and several pieces of furniture into the U-haul, carting it all now to a small, nondescript apartment in Seaside Heights, NJ. Andy stayed overnight; both he and I were able to adapt to this change of scenery more reasonably and responsibly that way. He had his own room and settled right in.
Spending all winter and early spring in this seaside town, living just two long blocks away from the beach, was a wonderful experience, adjusting to my newfound life, feeling like a kid again. Everything was within walking distance.
A convenience store sat two streets over. For my nighttime entertainment, a multitude of various bars and nightclubs lined the Boulevard, situated a block away from my flat. I didn’t have to worry about drinking and driving.
My son was with me on the weekends, and he loved it there as well, what with having the boardwalk, amusements, arcades, and the Atlantic Ocean at such a close proximity. Being single again was quite a cultural shock, and Seaside Heights seemed to be a great place to be; that was until May of ’94, when my life began to turn slowly upside down.
My joyous solitude and peaceful existence reversed quickly and unexpectedly one morning, a week before Memorial Day weekend. My ex-wife’s brother had parked outside my flat in the street. I found him fast asleep in his car, which was loaded to the gills with junk, a large, meowing, orange cat; and a split-level cage containing a very boisterous parrot.
My ex-brother-in-law, Tom (again, not his real name), said he left his live-in girlfriend for reasons I never really found out—another case of irreconcilable differences, I suppose—but he said he had nowhere else to go and asked if he could stay with me until finding a job and getting back on his feet.
I should have known better than to say OK; however, I felt sorry for him and helped unpack the car.
Seaside Heights held a soft spot in my heart, for many fun-filled summers during my latter-teenage years were spent raising hell on the boardwalk, in the bars and on the beach. All North Jersey hooligans, after their junior and senior proms, found their way to extreme decadence in this party town, as well as on many other occasions, too many to mention.
I hadn’t thought much about it, having had an incredibly docile seven months prior to this, but once Tom moved in and Memorial Day Weekend appeared, all pandemonium broke out.
To be continued…