A year ago, I got a ticket for running a stop sign. I went to Veronica’s house a year ago. I thought I was in love with Veronica a year ago. I felt like I hated her a day ago.
Monday, Feb. 7, 1994.
What a day.
I will explain yesterday to you in its most minute detail.
On the first Monday of every month the Skating Ranch in Sanford has a Christian music night. Jenna called me after I got home from school to make sure I would be there. I told her I would. Mom wanted me to run some errands so I couldn’t talk to her long. One of those errands was to get gas. When I got gas, I bought two candy bars. I ate them both on the way home. When I got home, I took the key out of the ignition and grabbed the candy bar wrappers. I went inside and threw the wrappers away and then I went into my room and did what not until about 5:30 p.m. That is when I began to get ready. I got ready and was waiting for Marcus to call. He was at basketball practice and he wanted to go skating. I had planned on leaving for Sanford a lot earlier because I wanted to stop and see Christi and Ryan and Amy, but since Marcus wanted to go I decided to do that some other time.
A little after 5:30 I went to get my wallet and my Chapstick and my keys. But my keys weren’t where I thought they were, so I looked in the dirty clothes and in the pockets of the pants I had on. But I could not find my keys. So, I went back in my room and looked. Nothing. I went out to the car, nothing. I checked the dirty clothes, and my room, the bathroom, upstairs, and the whole house.
I began to pray. I checked everything again but I found nothing. Where were my keys? It was nearing 6:00 p.m. I checked the ground outside and the laundry room. I searched throughout the whole house with absolute eagerness not even realizing what I was doing. Then, in the midst of everything, I remembered the candy bar wrappers. I must have thrown my keys away. I checked the trashcan. I moved the wrappers around and searched through the top of the trash, but I found nothing. I searched the house again, but after finding nothing I knew that the only place my keys could be was in the trash. So, I dug and I dug and I dug through the trash.
What was I looking for?
I was looking for the key.
The key to what?
The key to seeing Jenna.
Then I saw something down in the bottom of the trash, covered with old mushy broccoli. I reached and picked it up and sure enough, it was the key. I placed it on the counter. It was dirty. I did not move; I just looked at it. I dug through the smelly broccoli and filthy trash just so I could go see Jenna. While I was looking for my key, I knew it could mean only one of two reasons why.
- I wasn’t suppose to go.
- I needed to see how bad I wanted to go.
So I found my key. Marcus called and I went to pick him up. We got there a little after 7:00 p.m. I walked in the door and I saw Sunny, then I saw Tenielle, and then I saw Jenna. We said a few words. Carmen was playing over the speakers. I got my skates and then Jenna went out onto the floor with me and we skated together. I was still a little rusty. She helped me out. We talked, laughed, almost fell on each other, etc. She held onto my arm and my back so I wouldn’t fall. I held onto hers for the same reason.
I enjoyed myself greatly, and this went on for about 45 minutes. But something happened. Jenna was next to me skating and I felt two sharp pains dig into each of my sides. They came from someone’s fingers. Someone was tickling me. The person laughed and skated around in front of me. She smiled. It was Veronica.
I looked at Jenna. Her expression cannot be explained in words. Veronica got out of the way. Jenna and I continued to skate. Then Veronica got in the way again. Jenna backed away. Veronica asked me if I liked that tall blonde girl I was skating with. I didn’t answer. I looked in front of me and saw Tenielle and Jenna looking toward us and talking. I told Veronica to leave me alone. Tenielle came up to me and asked me if Veronica asked me to couple skate. I said no, then she wanted to know what Veronica asked so she just went and asked Veronica herself. Of course, Veronica told her.
Tenielle came back up to me and demanded to know the answer. Jenna skated ahead. Tenielle wouldn’t leave me alone. So, I said, “Yes, I do. What do you think all of the alphabet stuff means?”
“That’s what the alphabet thing means?” Her eyes were really wide. “How?!”
I didn’t tell her because I wanted to tell Jenna. No one would leave Jenna alone. They kept asking her questions. For almost the first hour we skated together joyfully, then, thanks to Veronica, for the next hour I skated alone.
Jenna backed away from me. We know the reason why. I explained that on Jan. 24, 1994. I tried to go up and talk to her. I did a few times but not that long. I wanted to tell her what the alphabet thing meant, but she said she didn’t want to hear it from me. So I told Tenielle. She begged and begged.
Finally, I said, “If I had my way I would change the letters to where U and I could be together.”
Tenielle’s beautiful face lit up. “Jacob!” she said and she laid her head on my shoulders. “That’s so simple. Why didn’t I see it before.” She went and she told Jenna.
The night went on. I saw Jenna very little. Veronica got in the way. She even asked me to couple skate with her. I said, “No. Please go on your way.” And she told me that Jenna was bad for me. I thought to myself, “No, Veronica, you are bad for me. Leave me alone.
That night Veronica seemed evil to me. She asked me so many questions and told me so many things that weren’t true because I made her mad since I didn’t want to be around her.
I talked to Jenna a little off and on, but not as much as I would have liked.
The time came for the place to close. Everyone was getting ready to leave and Jenna came up to me and asked me if I was mad at her. I said, “No, are you mad at me?” She mumbled, “No” under her breath. I told her that I was sorry if I hurt her or made her feel uncomfortable. She didn’t say anything. When everyone was outside, I went up to her and said, “Listen, I would really like to talk to you, but I know I can’t talk to you here, so can I call you when I get home?”
She smiled and said, “Yes.”
I told her goodbye and Marcus and I left.
The first thing I did when I got home was pick up the phone. Tenielle answered the phone and said, “Good. Because Jenna wasn’t going to bed until you called.”
Jenna got on the phone and I told her no matter what happened tonight, what I was trying to say through the alphabet thing was that she is very special to me, and although I see her as more than a friend, I want her to know that she is special to me while simply being my friend.
I told her that she didn’t have to say anything. We talked some more. She said that she wishes Veronica would keep to herself. I agreed. We tried to start up a conversation, but my mom came down and told me to get off the phone. I told her I would talk to her Wednesday. And the second after I hung up, I wanted to call her right back and hear her voice again. But when I’m talking to her, I don’t know what to say. Before we hung up, I asked her if everything was back to normal. She said, “yes.” I believe Jenna likes me, but I don’t think she knows what to do; she’s just too shy.
So there you have it. Would it have been better if I never found the key? Would it have been better if I never tried to change the order of the alphabet?
But all of that doesn’t matter. I see that Jenna and I will turn out like all the rest. We will go our separate ways in the end, and just spend a short time together, which will only be something for me to read out of my journal when I grow older.
The bird has flown towards the moon and it is now passing.
I suppose that I have been hurt again.
It is nothing new.
If I do have a relationship with Jenna, she will not be the same person I began to like in the first place. She still has so much growing up to do.
I wish I could be the one who would love her forever. But that task belongs to someone else. Some other lucky person. Not me. Instead, I will move on. I will go to college, I will do what I was placed on this earth to do.
And throughout all of it I will have my Book of Days, which I will read and reflect upon my youth. I wonder what that experience will be like; ten, twenty, or thirty years from now?
I already have a taste of what that will be like. Yesterday I meant to see Christi and Ryan, but I didn’t and now I think it would be better if I didn’t see them at all. Are they just girls I will now only read about in my Book of Days?
“I” must go back between the “H” and the “J,” even though I don’t really want to. Valentine’s Day is Monday. Why does it have to come now.
The world won’t let me change the alphabet.
But everything else in my world is changing.
On September 26, 1993 I sensed that things would change. My old youth group. Inseparable Friends! Yet only four of the original 15 are still in the youth group. It appears as though I was wrong.
The weather is getting warmer.
The days are getting longer.
I’m scared. Where am I to go?
The flowers are fading in Time’s bitter garden. And if they are, God then I pray, help Jenna and Tenielle begin to bloom. I need their encouragement and friendship to get me through this.
I can’t make it without them.