April 2, 1997 Wednesday
Today I was waiting outside my house before school for Hoke. Looking at my watch, I saw it was 8:05. In five minutes I would be late. Dad was just leaving, but he would be gone in a moment. In my mind I thought, “Stay or go? Stay or go? Stay or go?” over and over again. I decided to go with Dad, so I wouldn’t be late for Trig. I asked Dad to drive past Hoke’s house, in case we’d meet him along the way. We didn’t see him. I was sitting in class as the last bell rang, and Hoke walked by.
Today he was really mad at me. I hadn’t shut the front door of my house when I had left, so he thought I was still at home, when he eventually did come by. That was my fault, but I don’t know if he should have been as mad as he was. I did feel bad.
At lunch I reminded everyone I had a game tonight at Brimfield vs. Cuba. Lesile K and Emma said they were coming. Sidney said she would be there, but she had singing lessons first, so she would be a little late. I asked Hoke if he was coming, but he said he was going to Galesburg to watch trains.
After school I headed to Brimfield, driving mom’s maroon LTD Crown Victoria northeast for roughly fifteen minutes along flat Illinois cornfields. After stretching, hitting, and taking fielding the game started at 4:15, with my family in the stands. I was on the bench. When I went to run the track just behind our home dugout I also found Leslie K and Emma sitting in the bleachers. The game went on, and it got later and later. Sidney still hadn’t shown up. I really don’t why I wanted everyone to show up. I thought there was a chance I could play because a lot of Brimfield players are in Florida on a band trip. Yet I still found myself riding the pine along the third base side. By the fourth inning I had resigned myself to the fact that Sidney wasn’t coming. Then, around 5:20, as I was playing catch with Jeremy Biggs, I saw her walking from the gravel school parking lot behind the diamond to the bleachers. Yes, the game itself wasn’t a big deal, but I was very happy to see Elmwood represented in the stands. I just wish Hoke had been there. We lost 5-4.
After the game, which ended just after six, I was just making my way into the school and down a hallway to the locker room, when I heard a voice from behind call me. I turned and saw Sidney. I asked her what she was hanging around for. We began to talk as we walked together to a second parking lot across the street where her forest-green Audi sat. I have to admit I don’t remember a lot of the things we talked about, it was so much. Maybe she tried asking once again what my prom tux looked like, I don’t know. I did ask her how she liked my “high socks” look (it intimidates the pitchers).
Suddenly we found we were two blocks south from the parking lot she had been heading to, now at the corner of Knoxville Avenue. We turned around and headed back up Monroe Street towards the high school. On the way we talked about the quickly disappearing school year. She said she was sad for it to end but she had done everything there was to do. Sidney said she was probably going to go to Knox College now, instead of Illinois, but doubted if Galesburg was far enough away. When I asked her what her favorite memory of high school was, she said it was going to a previous trip to State for track.
By this time in our conversation in the warm, perfect early evening, we had overshot the Audi once again. We were back to were we had started from, next to the high school. There was the oval running track next to the field, and I lead the way onto it. Now, she has been in cross-country and track for years, but I knew I could take her (and if you believe that one…). A bit surprised, she asked if I meant we should race. So we took off up the straightway, running counterclockwise. I was staying with her easily, but in the back of my mind I knew this was nothing for her. We were now in the back-stretch, after making the turn, when I cut her off to take the lead. We then slowed down, but there was still that look in her eyes that said she was waiting for the perfect moment to blow past me (she tried, but I was just too fast).
After that, we sat in the left field bleachers as the dust settled, and as the sky turned more deep yellows that soon bled into oranges. From the top row we discussed the new story I’m writing and the characters and plot so far. She said she liked the idea of putting our names in the story (it makes it more personal that way).
We then went to the parking lot, while we (surprise) talked. This time prom was the subject. She filled me in about a cartoon her sister Cilla had made, concerning me with a perm and a powder blue tux just like I had teased Sidney about, with Sidney drawn next to me with her pink gown and Princess Leia hair.
The rest of the night went by talking next to my car. I have shown her this journal several times, so I asked if she was to write about my day today, what she would write. About the mix-up with Hoke, she said I was probably certain I was in the right, and I felt I had made a quick decision in the moment. However, Sidney felt I would be sorry for the way it turned out and making Hoke late. She was right. When I asked about the game tonight, she said I was probably disappointed I didn’t play, but that is also didn’t bother me. Very true. I asked about what I should say about the long discussion we were having, leaning against cars in a deserted parking lot as it grew dark. But she didn’t know what to say about it. I also wanted Sidney to give this hypothetical entry of hers a name, but she couldn’t think of one (hence this entry’s title). We talked about people she knew in her previous schools in Peoria and Pennsylvania, and many of the people who have moved from our class over the years (66!).
Somehow we got on the subject of when Sidney moved here before our freshman year. She said people didn’t like her then, at Elmwood, but I disagreed. I believe it was because at the time we were awed by this new person who constantly got A’s on everything. I then brought up the time our freshman year I asked Sidney to the movie Mrs. Doubtfire At the time I wanted to make friends with this person that seemed to be struggling to be accepted, all the same.
Eventually I asked, round-aboutly as I sometimes do, if there “was anything she would have changed about the school year that did not go right.” She knew what I meant, and didn’t want to talk about it. I understood, and told her it was alright. When she did tell me about Lance, I asked if she had known all the time the things Lance would do. In response I got a blunt, “yes.” While she disagreed with it, she admired the fact Lance would always tell her the truth. I have to admit, I admire that too.
We talked about other things, as it grew chilled and the only light was now a street lamp over the parking lot, but Sidney kept coming back to the point that I am always strange and she doesn’t know when I’m serious. She said it always seems like I’m acting. Perhaps she is right about this; my face, me, I, could stand to be more authentic. Be clearer. I get that. Another thing we talked about was what gets us angry. I made the point she had never seen me frustrated, angry about something, yet my writings show I am contemplative and can be level-headed. Always know there is a blazing flame of thought, wonder, and sensitivity inside me. At the time, as we stood there, I couldn’t think of the words to solidify my competentness.
She said that with God she’ll be set for life. She also told me about her church and youth group, and all of the fun she used to have until that group fell apart. At least once we looked up into the clear, stary sky to look for the approaching Hale-Bop comet.
Look forward to prom (as I am), and let me make a guarantee you will have a great time (I’m serious. It’s serious time. This is me being serious). Finally, as not to be late for the next day of school, we said goodbye in the cool dark, with Sidney finally growing dimmer as she walked to her car. When I brought the LTD Crown Victoria to life the dash clock read 8:30. That’s one hundred and fifty minutes of talking. I have no idea how we did it, but the time went by fast.
As a final, final thought, let me say this last thing before I go. You never know how a day will turn out. While neither of these events were planned, the beginning of my day was rocky at best, while the ending was very nice.
She didn’t give me an ending either,