January 17, 1997 Friday
Light last night before going to bed I began to read my journal. Though many words were nearly as familiar as my own name, I was surprised with my response, to entries both long ago and recent. I felt I should share these impressions, get them down.
The first example is the “War of the Rose.” I read of the effects of my actions over that five-part story, my nervous planning, of a guy hopeful of a positive response. In my mouth I could taste the long-gone shades of bitterness towards everyone. Yet, I didn’t shudder at the entries’ words as I might have. The story made me look at the event as almost a folly. A first fumbling attempt out of the nest. That might seem strange, but I think you’ll understand why. Now, in the present, Emma’s friendship to me is (if you pardon the understatement) fine. In my mind, I understand all this might be so if I had not been forced to re-evaluate the situation.
Even though I know how everything turned out, I have to say the month of last September was a great time. Actually, the story began at the end of August. August 23rd to be exact, in “Back to the Grindstone – The Night – The Day I Grew Up.” It was the Hub’s opening night for the 1996-1997 season of country line dancing in The Middle of Nowhere, Illinois. It was too hot, and not many people were there. Then Ainsley showed up with some friends. Now, on one hand I was happy to see her, and I also realized I hadn’t seen her since the spring. I had all summer to follow something, and hadn’t. I was tired, I guess (again?) of not doing anything. But that time, perhaps being older, I just casually asked if she wanted to dance a bit later in the night. Perhaps that’s my first full flaps of my wings, to carry the nest thing forward. Anyway, that night set the ball rolling. For nearly the next month all of my entries dealt with the prospect of Homecoming. Reading those entries now I can’t help but get a twinge, to tell Then-Me something like “Hey friend, enjoy the simple days as they are.” The excitement felt for the author is all too evident. The excitement of being more than mild-mannered Will Carlson. Of course, I drew in innocent bystanders, namely Hoke and Holly Andrews, in my delusions of grandeur. In October and November things were pretty great, and I felt guilty for not trying harder. The bubble of my imagination didn’t pop until December. Then, for the first time, I began to question were this all was going. My uncertainty are documented in the entries about the half-baked Christmas Walk idea I had, in “Christmas Walk Part I: Blueprints to the Plan,” that continued on with “What a Long, Strange Day,” “Hub Update,” “On the Verge of Senior Year Part 2” and finally “On a Serious Note.” Sadly, each one seems to get bleaker and more dejected. What seemed at one time like great fun, an adventure, is now simply unexplainable.