The Letter


April 30, 1997
  Wednesday

Could it be that I’m doing a halfway decent job in Trig?  I got another 87% on the latest test, making this the third straight exam I’ve gotten a B on a test.  I was also the only senior there today, because the rest of my class were in Chicago on a Media trip with Mrs. Marks.

Before second hour Sidney gave me her responses to my questions. As I was going to class, I couldn’t believe how much she had written.  I had read almost half before Mr. Prior came into Accounting with his coffee, but I couldn’t wait over an hour to read the rest.  I told Mr. Prior I had to check on my stock quote in the library’s newspaper.  When I got to the library I read the remainder.  Here it is:

Will,

When did I feel this way?  I really can’t recall a particular date, but I do remember it was towards the end of our freshman year.  However, if you are speaking about more recently, I really can’t remember about that either.

What did it?  I hope I am interpreting your question correctly, but I guess you’re asking what I started liking you.  Now, I’d like to ask first, why not?  You agreed that Jake, as your example, is a very likeable person, but really you’re the same type of likeable person that he is.  You are also a very sweet guy–not just to me, but to everyone.  You also have a lot of characteristics I admire: you’re artistic, you love to talk (and listen), you try to be understanding, and you like to have fun without being a jerk.  I like people that don’t feel the need to be constantly putting people down (Lance, Josh Harms, + Mike Mullins love to do this to everyone, especially to me and my friends.  But they aren’t the only ones that do it).  I guess the main reason I like you is that you are different from everyone else.  

Now what?  Gee, I don’t know.  Usually I just go with the flow, you know?  Now, really I don’t know.  The simplest things have been confusing for me lately, and I don’t know what to say right now (big help, right?).  As soon as I graduate, and even before I sleep, I am going to sleep.  I want to go out to eat somewhere, and treat myself to some dessert.  A considerable amount of time after that, I’ll be going to Spain, Italy, and France.  As soon as I get back from that trip, I’ll be heading to South Carolina with my church group.  Other than that, I really don’t have any big plans. 

….

Thank you again for the flowers and bracelets, and Snip too–regardless of your intentions.  I appreciate them greatly.  My roses are still doing quite well.  Mom keeps saying how long they’ve lasted, and they should be dead by now.  She also says I shouldn’t be “leading you on,” but it’s the other way around, isn’t it?  I hope I’ve made it clear how I feel about you.  If not, we can talk for another two hours, and get absolutely nowhere.  Until then, “I await your answer.”

P.S.– Possible title for my journal pages– The Dove in the Storm
P.P.S– Another possibility is– The Whiz (I like that a lot too)

Truthfully, I was taken aback by her beautiful letter, and surprised how relatively deeply she felt.  I couldn’t wait for Accounting to be over with.  It went by so s-l-o-w-l-y.  When Homeroom finally came, I found Sidney at her locker.  As we walked down the hall, I could tell she was nervous about my answer.  I wanted to find a place; a place where people weren’t.  I, at long last, said simply, “I like you very much.”

In third hour I wrote her my answer to her own questions.  I had a lot to say, I found.  However, I had just finished when the bell rang.  I was going to just this to her before fourth hour, yet it had to be complete.  For the last sentence, I scrawled, “Will you go out with me?”

Since it was an early-out day, I went home for an hour before trudging to Brimfield.  Soon afterwards Nicole arrived home too.  She was completely hysterical about the tornado warnings, and pleaded for me to come downstairs with her.  I had been caught in a bad storm once when I was younger, and was at one time very afraid of tornadoes, so I knew how she felt.  Before we went down, though, I had to kill a spider she had seen.  Nicole hates spiders, and stoutly refused to go downstairs until it was killed.  As we were downstairs, Nicole still frantic, the power went out.  She wanted to know if our house was gone.  By 3:30 the storm had largely passed, and I drove to practice.  One the way I passed a couple of telephone poles that were down.  As I came into Brimfield, the warming system again went off, and fire and police units raced past me out of town.  And not only were we having baseball practice during this tumult, we had it outside.

I was the only person from Elmwood there.  Taking infield/outfield was an adventure.  There was simply no way to judge the trajectory of the ball, and I must have chased my hat a dozen time when it kept blowing off.  Surprisingly, I had one of my best practices ever.  I couldn’t believe some of the plays I was making, racing with abandon across the grass, diving for the ball like I disliked my body, and nailing the cutoff man.  My mind was clear, and finally I could concentrate.  Hit me another one, Coach.  As we waiting our turn for pop-flies, we could actually lean back fully with our arms extended, and the harsh, whipping winds on our backs would support us.  We were just about done with practice when Brimfield’s siren again blared, and fire trucks sped past the school and out into the country.  We, ready to take shelter in the locker room, all looked to Coach Slapeck.  “One more hitting station to go!” he yelled over the wind.

On the way home, I hatched an idea to request a song on the radio.  When I got home, though, the power was still off.  Even if the radio was currently useless to me, I called Light Rock 107 in Pekin anyway, requesting “You Are So Beautiful” and “Unchained Melody” for 9:00, for Sidney.  It seemed a good way to celebrate the day.  Then I called the girl who had poured a good part of her heart out.  We talked about the terrible weather, and her church.  I then asked her for her answer to my closing question.  She said yes.  Pleased, I requested for her to listen to 107 at nine o’clock.  The radio station messed it up, kind of.  They played the first song at nine as requested, but the second wasn’t on the air until 9:30.  I shouldn’t have expected all that, just hoped.  By that time I had typed my entire log for the day, including Sidney’s letter, while I was waiting for nine.  At 8:57 the power momentarily went out again, and everything I had so far typed out was lost.  This is the second time I have typed this entry.  Perhaps what I regret most is not saving what I had written about my church.  The words were perfect, and exactly how I wanted them.  Unfortunately, it was erased as well, and the following is a shoddy recreation of the original:

Pastor Jerry (it’s very informal, I know, but that’s what we call him) does get a lot of flack for the some of the things he says in church, especially from the older members of the congregation.  He has repeatedly asked for people to come to him if they have questions, instead of muttering amongst themselves (long story short, my church isn’t perfect either).  From the beginning of his time at the Presbyterian church, several years ago, he warned us his sole concern (no pun intended) was to reflect what is in the Bible.  He stands firm in his belief “if it’s in the Bible, it is right, and should be taught.”  I respect him. Thomas Jefferson, one of the greatest men in out history, had his own qualms with the Bible.  While he admired many of the moral philosophies, he refused to believe in any supernatural events.  As a result, he edited out all of the miracles and constructed his own book.  That must have been one thin Bible.  My point is, if we ignore one thing, how do we believe any of it?  I think of this at times, and have yet to come to any brilliant conclusions.  Maybe I’ll know more one day, and be better use than tonight, at how to combine a modern moral outlook with people’s historical need for religion.
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