Sansa first sees him at the start of the procession, before the sun sets and the night slides into place with drumbeat and candlelight and streetlight-lit puppetry and the finale fire show. And even though she always feels a little weird walking the procession while it’s still light out, she supposes she has daylight to thank, when her gaze lands on him.
He is standing with a couple of friends, a heavyset man and a brown haired woman with a baby on her hip wearing a skeleton onesie, and he’s dressed in a thrift store suit and wearing as much face paint as she and Arya are. But while the two of them have signs celebrating grandpa Tully’s life, this grey eyed man simply has his hands in his pockets.
“He’s cute,” Arya says as she catches the train of Sansa’s eye and gives him a brief albeit loaded glance of appraisal. “You should make sure to invite him to the wash party after Flam Chen’s finale.”
His eyebrows raise when Sansa finally works up the courage and rapid fire says “Hey, so we’re having an after party in the wash behind our house, you guys should come.”
She’s grateful the face paint is covering her blush and is already anticipating the No, but then he glances to his friends, shrugs and nods at the same time, and then looks back at her. “Yeah, thanks. We’ll be there.”
It’s still a surprise to see him when they get there a few hours later. He’s wiped off most of his makeup like she has, save for some leftover black paint smudged around his eyes.
“You made it,” Sansa says a little breathlessly, and she smiles as she hands him a plastic cup of sangria. “I’m Sansa, by the way.”
“I’d be an idiot to turn down a party invitation from a beautiful woman, Sansa,” he says, smiling as he takes the cup with a brush of his fingers against hers. “I’m Jon.”
Sansa shivers, and it has nothing to do with the chilly autumn evening.
They spend the rest of the night talking. He tells her about his deceased mother he thinks of each year as he walks the parade, and she tells him about her grandfather and the dog she had to put down earlier that year. They talk music and books and their favorite restaurants in town, they talk sports and politics and for one brief wild moment thanks to Arya, sex. They talk in the kitchen with their hips resting against the counter, on a bale of hay out by the bonfire as they roast marshmallows, out on the front porch steps once the party’s over and the guests are gone and Arya is passed out cold on the living room couch.
“I have to admit, I don’t want to go,” Jon says.
Sansa has always felt something like magic during and after the procession, the life and love and memory and energy of those they’ve all come to remember and honor on the parade through downtown Tucson. She feels that magic now, though it could just as easily be the sangria and the bonfire heat she can still feel on her cheek when she brushes a lock of hair behind her ear. Magic and fire and booze and energy, and she has them all to thank or all to blame when she bites her lip, looks down in her cup before looking up at Jon.
Thank you for the honor of creating the Grand Finale for The 25th Annual All Souls Procession (and our 17th event) to make this grand exclamation point to a most beautiful procession. It is each individual participants creation and memory honored that makes what we do at all important and relevant. photos Karel Moonen, Paul Davis, Emily Jones
The mysterious Shadowalkers are part stealth weaponry-part sculptural deference. Their movements cannot be calculated nor expected. They are near silent even with brisk movements. They can take refuge in the smallest of space or the ability to increase in size to fill a space exponentially bigger then themselves. The Shadowalkers travel in small herds of 3-5 and their colors vary from black to white to red-their height varies from 8 ft to 12 feet.