It was our senior year at SUNY New Paltz and we were driving back to campus on Route 208. We had just spent the day lethargically searching for the perfect costumes for the annual Halloween Party at Joes, a local pub. We, being college kids, had gone out the night before, being that it was a Thursday, the best ( and cheapest) night to go out in a college town. So as you can imagine, we needed to focus to use the remaining brain cells we had in order to complete any thoughts.
We began our ride home after purchasing our fake dog “Toto” and cheap shoes at a store to paint red for our Dorothy costume. Anyone who knows the area of New Paltz, knows the back roads can be a bit frightening on a normal night due to the fact they don’t believe in purchasing street lights. Here we were two, hung-over girls driving down a windy, pitch black road thinking of what was to come of our fun Halloween night. We were excited to have costumes and trying to pump each other up to get a second wind.
We came across a wind in the road and both us of saw a pair of eyes quickly reflected against my friends headlights. We asked, “what was that?” and before we could even answer, her car lifted into the air in two drastic bumps as we ran over whatever, “it,” was. I just remember us both screaming like we were in a horror movie and she pulled the car over to see what she had just murdered. Lying in the middle of this country road was a black dog. My roommate began to cry.
My roommate was known as Susie Homemaker, because she was the type of person who believed in fairy tales and always wore rose colored glasses. Here, ” Susie,” just killed something. There were two houses relatively close to the road, although they were the only houses on the road. A woman came running out of one and asked, “Are you girls ok? I saw what happened.” Instantly, my roommate started quivering and bawled her eyes out and responded, ” I didn’t even see it, it just came out of nowhere.” Which, it truly did and if you saw the road we were driving on, the black dog faded into the black night. I have a terrible habit of laughing at sometimes inappropriate times, this definitely was one of them, but hopefully someone out there will find this humorous as I did, while others are going to be offended, and I apologize now if it does offend you.
The next comment brought me to tears of laughter and I had to turn my back to the two crying woman who probably would’ve thrown me in front of the next car if they saw my smiling face.
The woman began, “This dog is “Mr. Smith’s” dog. I am his neighbor. “Mr. Smith” just passed away and ever since then his dog has been wondering around the street with nowhere to go.”
Here was the sentence; I never heard anything in my life like this.
Sweetie, it’s not your fault. Jingles committed suicide to be with Mr. Smith. He’s been so sad and probably wondering how he was going to join him and decided tonight. He killed himself; it’s not your fault.
My roommate continued crying and felt terrible.
Finally, we get in the car and I am doing all in my power to think of sad thoughts so I don’t laugh in her face. I mean it was an accident. The dog was black, it was a dark road, we should just be grateful we are okay, and thank God, that the owner wasn’t alive or the guilt would’ve been a hundred times worse.
Mind you, the rest of my Halloween night was spent counseling my friend that it was an accident because she would sip her beer and say ” poor Jingles, I killed him.” We made the most of the night.
The next morning we awake and she looks like crap. I asked if she was okay.
She said, “I just keep having nightmares of the dog following me and me yelling at it that I am sorry.”
The moral of this story: don’t drive when you are really tired (and hung-over) especially on a dark road because you never know what just may pop out.
Ironically, the night began on a search to find a dog and that Halloween we did…
That was one Halloween, I truly will never forget.