Will Turns Around in Oak Hill

May 7, 1997  Wednesday

The Elmwood Brown-Bag-It yesterday was pretty fun.  We got out of all fourth hour to go to Central Park.  As I was setting up an art display, the side I was holding loosened, and fell the ground, slicing my finger.  There I was, standing there on a beautiful blue day, with my hand covered in blood.  Except for that, though, I had a good time.

I later made it in plenty of time to our game against Farmington in Brimfield.  Unfortunately–and completely unbeknownst to me–the bus had left for a JV game at 3:00.  Worst of all, it was in Princeville, the very place I would be going after the game!  So, instead of starting right field for the JV, I was of little other use to the Varsity except to fetch foul balls.  The only other person on the bench besides me was Lance, who happened to be the DH.  At one point he asked me if I could give him some soft-toss in the cage.  I cheerfully said, “Sure.”  It was difficult to be friendly, though.  I am new to this practice.  Lance is my teammate, and on the field I must pass all other aside.

I seem to have drifted off into the flow of thought again.  Apologies.  Anyway, after the game (we lost 5-0), I hurried to Princeville to catch the end of the meet.  Yet, when I reached the school I found the track completely deserted.  Again?  However, the JV game Brimfield was still playing was nearby.  Then, an idea–though slightly cracked–came to mind.  Perhaps I could make it south from Princeville to Route 8, and meet Sidney at some point between Elmwood and her house.  Even by being stalled by a tractor for ten minutes I met her just outside of Oak Hill.  Then, catching up a bit, I neared as I passed by Emma’s house.  Once at her house we talked down by the lake for about half an hour.  She said that she would bring her journal.  I gave her yesterday’s entry to read.  I what she thought of it.

Fast forwarding to today, in art we voted for the Senior Art Work of the Year.  I hope I win.  In lunch Hoke and Les Rose sat down across from me.  Let me tell you what they said.  First, Les asked how the “road trip” was last night.  Hoke asked systematically if I went to the Princeville track meet.  I replied yes.  Hoke asked if I had gone home after that.  I replied no.  Hoke asked if I had seen trains.  I asked what he meant by this.  I had no idea.  Hoke then asked if I had seen any trains in Princeville, Edwardsville, or (covering his mouth) Fullbright Estates.  I replied he should just ask a question if he wants to know something.  I said yes, I had dropped by Sidney’s.  Hoke asked if I was still going to Western.  I knew what he was really asking.  I replied that I was thinking about Knox.  I had no problems answering his questions.  He treats this as it we are still in grade school.  I am not ashamed to say openly to anyone now how I feel about Sidney.  I wrote this in a repetitious way to show how tiring the questions were.  Thinking back to Sunday, for a moment I had all the time I could want.  Now I am scrimping for time.

Later, in Government class, Leslie K wrote a quick question to me.  You can guess what it was about.  However, I didn’t mind her question at all, because she is always very kind.  Leslie K truly wanted to know, while Hoke wants to be a wrecking ball.  Anyway, this first simple question exploded into a three-page conversation between one of the oldest friends.

Leslie K: I have a personal question to ask.

Will: Sure!

Leslie K: Are you and Sidney dating?

Will: Why do you ask?

Leslie K:  I was just wondering!  You know how you guys were holding hands at the after-prom party!

Will: So?

Leslie K: What’s w/these short answers, Buddy?

Will: Is it that obvious?

Leslie K: What is?

Will: That we like each other.

Leslie K: You Like EACH OTHER

Will: Yes.

Leslie K: Good answer.  And thanks for answering.  Oh ya, Congrats!

Will: Thanks.

Leslie K: Any there any complications?

Will: Only at school.

Leslie K: Hoke?

Will: I don’t want it to be, but he’s inserting himself.

Leslie K: Is that a hint to me?

Will: No, not at all.  It goes back a few weeks.  He also hasn’t been there, when the two of us would stay after games, and talk for hours.  He just doesn’t understand because he hasn’t seen it all, and that most likely would have happened anyway.

Leslie K: Well, he’s probably just jealous of your relationship with someone else.  I’m really happy for the both of you!

Will: You’re probably right, and it is too bad.  I would like to fix it, all the same.  But I also have to think of her.

Leslie K: How lucky you are!  I guess you won’t be thinking about Ainsley or Holly.

Leslie K: Have you KISSED? (WILL CARLSON–your mother would s–t).

Will: Guilty.

Leslie K: When and where?

Will: Sunday at my family farm, back in the woods by firelight.

Leslie K:  On the farm!  You stud!  Are you going out this weekend?

Will: I hope so.  Time seems vital, now, and should not be wasted.  I would also like to share something else with you, because you have are a trustworthy friend.

….

Leslie K: I am glad you told me this.  He was very hurtful to her.  I know you will never do that.  Thanks for trusting.  I feel that things will get better, and the two of you will do very well.

Will: Five minutes cannot go by that I do not now think of her.

Leslie K: Will–how did you become so sweet?

Will: I just try to treat others the way I want to be treated.  Thank you for always being a great friend.  Finally–you’re a girl, right?–what’s my next move?

Leslie K: Because you know I have so much experience on the subject (HA-HA).  But personally, I feel that you should ask her out again.  Like Sat or Fri or Sun.  Something fun like ice skating.

Will: That’s a good idea.  You’re probably getting a cramp now, but I have one more question: how do you see us?  It is not really that important, but I would like to know.  She is only trying to be cautious.  She has at the same time such high and low self-esteem.  I have yet to find the right words.  Help me if you can. Thanks for your time, Leslie Kay!

Leslie K:  I don’t know.  Ray Browning asked me at lunch if you were going out and I said I didn’t know.  That is how it started.

Will: I have thought of one more question (sorry!).  You did not know this, but at present I am wavering on going through with Western as my college choice.  It is crazy to go to Knox?

Leslie K: No it’s not crazy at all.  If you do not want to go to Western than do NOT GO!  Go and visit Knox.  Talk to her parents.  So look at Knox–ASK Sidney what she likes about it.

Will: I do not mean to sound fickle–I know how I feel–but what about time?  It will already be difficult, either way, I understand.  Our futures have gotten in the way. This is a quandary that keeps running through my mind.

Leslie K: You will not have to stop because of college. Lots of things change: minds, bodies, but hardly ever do hearts.  But time can also be the best indicator , so don’t give up hope.  You have the rest of the summer, and your life.

Will: Thanks, Leslie K.

I thought the game tonight might be cancelled, but even though it was sprinkling at 3:30, we left on the bus for Williamsfield.  During the infield/outfield warm-ups the rains started to pick up, and lightning was sighted several times.  The game began in a downpour, and as soon as we scored a few minutes later the game was called.  We won, 1-0, but I have a feeling this one’s gonna have to be made up.  As we were piling into the bus to leave I caught the sound of a distant train whistle.

“Hoke.”

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