at the last minute i ended up on a train out of penn station heading south. we got off at a place called asbury park and took a five minute cab ride through the gated entrance of ocean grove, also know as god’s square mile on the jersey shore. it was like i was gone for a week and i’m waking up from a dream i can’t remember.
we checked in and the keeper gave us keys along with a ten cent tour. our room was up on the third floor and when i walked up the stairs i had that odd feeling that someone was watching me. i glanced back expecting to see another guest but there was just empty antique seating and creaky stairs. weird but whatever. we took a stroll on the boardwalk and up and down streets lined with picket fences surrounding manicured lawns. the homes were all century old victorian with queen ann windows and wrap around porches. the kind of place thats too perfect to be real like the truman show or pleasant ville. do do do do do do do do you have entered the twilight zone, the brighter the trim the more saturated the secrets.
so we end up at this little restaurant on main street that used to be an old apothecary complete with display cases full of old products and bottle with worn of labels and some even still had pills left in them that were never sold let alone opened for decades. it was then i found out that this was a dry square mile because its the original meeting place of some religious movement that settled there in 1860. whatever floats your boat people. luckily i happen to have brought my own whiskey to spike my root beer and coffee ice cream.
it started to storm so we went back to our room and sat there listening to the thunder and watching for lightning. the lamp in the room flickered but the power stayed on and then the bathroom door slammed shut so loud i thought it might wake the dead. we both jumped out of our skin. it was only half past ten but i’m sure the whole square mile was already in bed. the window was closed and the bathroom doesn’t have one so we couldn’t figure out where a gust of wind that strong could come from. i laid there for hours listening to the rain and i remember thinking it should be warmer in here because i turned on the heat, that this mattress is lumpy and my neck is going to hurt in the morning. it was still dark outside and my eyes were closed when i felt a hand on my shoulder even though i was alone in my own bed. next time i’m going to sleep with them wide open.