I always got a little bit nervous when it came to Halloween. It never really was my thing. I didn’t like getting scared and I absolutely hated clowns. And by that I do not really mean the clowns in the circus, but the scary ones. Do you remember those horror clown pranks that were trending a while back? I always feared that I could be targeted for one of those, because that would have been hell for me. I didn’t tell many people about it, because some would just see it as invitation to customize as a clown on halloween.
Anyway, when halloween came that year I was in a pretty good mood. I wasn’t expecting to see clowns, but a few really good vampires and skeletons. I had had a good time for the past weeks had recently met Jack in my studies. He was a fellow student and a very friendly and warm person. Well, he was charming, but also had really good looks with his brown hair of medium length, his skin a tone of light brown and his incredible smile. He had a cute little snub nose and luscious lips. He was a little bit taller than me and I knew that I found him interesting, but that was it.

My best friend Simon lived only ten minutes from me and had invited me to his halloween party. Since Jack and I already had promised each other to do something together on halloween, I had told Simon that I would bring a friend. Jack met me around 8 at my apartment. Of course we had customized. He went as some sort of Jack the Ripper with a hook on his left hand. I was rather unspectacular vampire with not much more than black cape and wrong teeth. We talked a bit and took a first drink together. Jack seemed in an even better mood than usually and that was contagious. A short time later we deciced set out for the party and I send a quick message to Simon that we would show up soon.
Usually I am kind of a shy person, but with Jack there was never a stop in the conversation. We talked and talked, while we passed the streets. Finally we cam to a small forest area. It was the fastest way and we would only need to cross it and then would be at Simon’s. Without even thinking about it we continued to follow the path, Jack only a few inches to my left.
I looked at Jack shortly, when I said something about my future plans, and when looked at the way, there was a clown standing there. A giant creepy clown. His face was a mask with one of those terrifying smiles and he wore gloves as well as long trousers and red shoes, so that there was not a bit of skin you could see. No need to say, that I was completely shocked. For the first few seconds I didn’t even really get it, but then I felt the panic rising inside me. While my heart beat faster, I instinctively reached out for Jacks hand and took a few steps back. I slowly turned around, trying to keep the clown in my vision and realized that there was another similar clown on our way back. ANOTHER CLOWN. I didn’t know what to do, but I was getting really scared. I wanted to back off again. But backing off from something in front of you and something behind you is not that easy. So I took steps back to the side of the road, until I felt a tree in my back. Jack stayed right next to me. Right then, my blood already pumping like crazy, there was a third clown coming out of the bushes right in front of us. A THIRD CLOWN. That was the moment my panic really set in.
I heard the pumping of the blood in my ears and I literally felt my heartbeat at the side of my throat without even touching it. There were also beads of sweat on my neck.
The first two clowns were closer now. The clown in front of us stopped his movement and the other clowns did so, too. Then he tilted his head and looked at me. It seemed like he was inspecting me. This put me on the edge even more. You look at this face and you just have no idea what is going on behind it. Then the clown started to coming towards us again. The other two clowns started to move again as well. I felt myself shaking and at that moment it was enough for me. It just was enough. Panic, fear, tension, everything came together. I knew, that there probably were completely normal people underneath that costumes, but that didn’t change anything for me in that moment. I never wanted to be in this situation and now my emotions took over. So I started shouting. “WHAT THE FUCK? THIS IS NOT FUNNY.“ I don’t think I ever was that loud. “STOP IT! I HATE CLOWNS! YOU HEAR ME? I HATE YOU! GO AWAY!“ With that my energy was gone and I practically collapsed. I slid down the tree with my back and sat down on the ground. Moving my right arm in front of my face to not see anything anymore and not have any of them see the tears that were starting to run down my cheeks, I would also have done that with my left arm, but Jack hold onto

my hand and pressed it reassuringly. Then I heard his voice. “Come on, idiots. Look at him. This really is not funny. Piss off!“
Then a few seconds silence and an unsure “Sorry“. That was seemed familiar. Somebody nudged me in the side. “Hey, sorry, bro. It… I… I thought…“ He seemed to have trouble finding the right words. And no doubt, it was Simon. “I never knew that you hate clowns. … It was meant as a joke. I knew that you would come through here.“ “Yeah, great joke.“ Jack obviously wasn’t amused.

At least there were not new tears coming anymore. So I tried to wipe away most of it with my arm. Thank god that I hadn’t used make up to get a little bit paler. That would have looked absolutely terrible now. Finally I put my arm away and looked up. The clowns all had taken their masks off and I recognized the other two as friends of Simon I had seen around before. Simon for his part seemed genuinely sorry. He definitely was not comfortable in his own skin right now. He knew had been out of line with his actions. He excused himself a hundred times and said a bunch of other things, but I wasn’t really listening to him. On the other side, although I couldn’t see Jacks face, I had a strong feeling that he was fuming.

In a quiet voice I asked, almost begged “Please, can we just go now?“
So we went. The walk was a few minutes of almost complete silence. There were two or three lame attempts to make conversation, but it was clear, that most weren’t in the mood to talk. I think it was good that everybody could cool down a bit, but I still was a little bit ashamed of my break down.
So we joined Simons party. A few there asked what had taken so long, but none of us really answered. However, I heard Simon mumbling something. I don’t think anyone was supposed to hear and noone else did, but I heard his words. “Maybe at least something good will come out of it.“
At that moment I realized, that I was still holding Jacks hand. My hands had been pretty sweaty back in the forest, but he held onto them even after everything was solved. I decided that I would hold onto them as long as possible. And I did. Unfortunately I urgently had to use the bathroom roughly thirty minutes later, so that I had to detach from him for a moment. But I came back and we spent the whole evening side by side. After my walk to the toilet we moved together even closer on the bench we sat on and he put his arm around me. It felt good and I needed some real company, because I was still a bit shaken up. We had a great evening there and talked a lot – with each other, but also with anyone else that wanted to sit with us. There were some that found it hilarious that Jack went as Jack the Ripper while being named Jack. But maybe that was just due to their level of alcohol.
We stayed long and then walked over to my apartment together. We didn’t rush anything, but when he gave me a close, big hug that lasted for more than twenty seconds and I returned it in the same way, we both knew that there was more than an average friendship thing between us.
I think to this day Jack still holds a grudge against Simon, but although probably the most terrifying, that was one of the best evenings in my life.

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