Desire motivates even the lethargic... and a feeling Jason Hogarth desired longingly, was love. He was obsessed with love - being loved, love encompassing his whole being is what he wanted. He believed in love.
One afternoon, while driving Mike and John home after school along Elbow Drive, a darling-looking blond girl thumbed a ride. He stopped, and as she got in and sat in the back seat, her presence overwhelmed him. It was as though his heart started beating anew; a surge of kinetic energy seemed to flood his veins. His eyes, ears and mind perceived a heightened reality. He and she struck up a conversation; he was oblivious to Mike and John. Other girls had interested him in acquaintance; theirs were casual relationships; but Dana Mack - her name was beautiful, he thought. Jason decided she was special.
He dropped Mike and John off, and headed towards Dana's place. On the way, he was comfortably surprised to find himself loquacious. She was quite reserved. What little she spoke sounded like an enchantment to Jason. He was also exultant that even though she wore no make-up, she was beautiful! She lived in a new two-story home, had a sister named Mel and two or three other siblings much younger than she.
Her father was an engineer in high standing. Jason's father had become dysfunctional; but his father's achievements in the past, in Jason's mind, put him on the same plateau of class. Class was therefore inconsequential. She sat him at the kitchen table and fed him tea and oranges. Jason delighted in this. A favorite line from a song went through his mind - 'and she feeds him tea and oranges that came all the way from China'. A smile came upon his whole being. He had a great evening. Mel, two years younger than Dana and a little envious maybe, showed a semblance of affection for Jason by jokingly tying the sleeves of his coat tightly together, into a knot. Her mum and dad were cordial. The younger children seemed to like him.
He drove home with a feeling of joy; he was in love. She said she would see him at school the next day. They would have lunch together. Days passed into weeks, and weeks into months. Jason was in an ecstatic condition. He saw Dana almost every night; his passion for her grew to the point where life became a fantasy of love.
There were some incidents, signs that there were major differences in their personalities. One was in relation to his art. He was a serious artist. He believed that he could make a major contribution, that a new style was in incipiency. She thought his subjects weird. Another instance was when he picked her up for the evening to watch a film. She was angered that he wore a suit, and took for granted that she would wear a dress for the occasion. She was grumpy all evening. Still another occurrence he regretted for years took place in his room. She obviously wanted to bond with him, sexually; she was lying beside him in bed, in the afternoon! But all he would allow himself was to kiss her on the cheek. He thought of marriage, and of how special their wedding night would be. Jason ignored the incongruity in their relationship. His concentration was immersed in her angelic qualities; he seemed mesmerized by her.
It was a beautiful winter afternoon in Calgary - a Chinook. Dana was visiting her best friend, so Jason decided to go to Mike's. He loved Mike like a brother. Mike was his mentor. Mike was on the honor role. Mike had introduced him to the arts, had spent months pointing out to Jason, technique that master-painters had used, and had given Jason his discards of great literature. Mike smoked cannabis, a ritual of the cultural revolution, love, peace, and a new establishment of rule by love. So did Jason.
They consumed half a gram of Lebanese blonde, a brand of hashish, and were having a merry time playing piano. The phone rang. It was John.
"How's it going Jason?"
"Not too bad, John. How are you?"
"You sound like you're having a good time. Good stuff eh? Wanna give me a ride over to Mike's?"
"Sorry John, can't do it. I'm pretty wiped, don't want to chance a car crash."
John insisted, "Come on Jason! You--"
"Sorry John! I --"
"I'll kill you." John said in a calm voice and hung up.
Jason could not believe what he had just heard John say. John's idol was John Lennon; Lennon was a leader of the peace movement! Yet he had said those words to Jason. John wore hair down to the middle of his back, a symbol of love and peace. Yet...
Jason went into shock. The words "I'll kill you" echoed in his brain. Those three words repeated constantly in his mind. He got home and went directly to bathe. He thought that a bath would relax him; but to no avail.
He tried to sleep, but the words repeated incessantly. They became an unremitting crescendo. He lay awake all night in a state of terror, hoping for a cessation of the insanity.
By the next afternoon, fatigue had set in. Jason experienced an increment of the horror. It was as though his mind was a speeding car vibrating out loud the words "I'll kill you".
The phone rang! He reluctantly picked up the receiver. "Hello."
"Hi, Jason." It was the sweet voice of Dana. Dana! Dana, his saviour. Dana his sagacious, sapient lover. He would tell Dana what John had said. Dana would ease the pain.
"Happy birthday, Jason! I baked a cake for you. A bunch of my friends and I are waiting for you to come over."
He tried to voice the trouble he was in, but his thoughts were incoherent. Lines from Lennon's song, Mind Games, and John's poisoned words "I'll kill you" resonated in his mind's ear.
He spoke, and this is what was heard - "I'll kill you, in a game."
Dana hung up. Jason was devastated. He wanted to cry; but the tears would not come.
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Text and Images ©1999 Raymond Cooper