You always remember the first.
Hello there. I gotta catch up on my writing. There’ve been 12 1995 pages, but only 4 1996 pages so far.
I gotta write about her! You know the person in the last entry that I rathered leave anonymous? I’ve decided to make her known. Her last name is Meyer. First, Shayla. She has beautiful red hair and the cutest smile on earth. She’s in my seminary and journalism classes. No, this isn’t one of those superficial things that last 2 weeks, like from April 8, 1994 or April 31, 1995. This is real. I’ve felt like this ever since March, pretty much. It isn’t much as far as this journal is concerned, but. . .I wish I knew where to start. Okay. I knew her in grades 1-3 at Carl Sandburg. She taught me how to tie my shoes (not that this has any significance). In 4th grade I moved to Academy Park and thought about her intermittently, usually just as a friend. When I came to Kennedy in February, I saw her in the halls and thought, “That looks like Shayla Mayer!”, usually just as a passing thought. Then, in some odd Friday in March, it happened.
I was playing piano in Seminary, like I usually do after school, when she came in and listened.
“You play beautifully,” she said.
“Thanks.” I stopped. Suddenly unsure of what to say or do next, I pretended to think real hard, then broke into “Sesame Street.”
“You’re Jeff Parkes, right?” she asked.
“That’s me.” I stopped again. “And your name is. . .?” I knew perfectly well what the name was. I didn’t know why I just didn’t say it. I still don’t.
“You mean you don’t remember me?” She sounded half amused, half indignant.
“Wait, don’t tell me. . .I know it starts with an ‘S’. . .” I stammered, still not knowing why I didn’t just say it.
“Shayla!” she finished. “Shayla Meyer.”
“Oh yeah, now I remember!” I blurted out, feeling unsure of myself. Then I looked up into the huge blue eyes and that smile, and all of that unsurity disappeared. I felt like I could do that forever.
That was when my mom’s car horn broke the silence. I quickly looked away and said something like, “Well, I gotta go now. Bye.” (See? This phrase ain’t just in this journal!)
She, of course, says, “Bye.”
And that was that. Just one simple little exchange has changed my life. I had never felt that way about anything or anyone before or since. What’s strange is, she regards me just as some guy now. That Friday exchange was the best I’ve ever had with her. The strange thing really is that I do the same. I am many things, but one of those things is definitely not shy. Yet around her, it’s hard to say anything, because the fear of rejection. With most people, I really don’t care, It’s really weird. It’s not like she’s done anything real special to me, or anyone I know. It just feels. . .right. That’s the best I can describe. It feels right. I don’t know if she feels the same way, as I do, but tries to cover it up because of shyness, as I do, or if she really doesn’t care. It’s strange. Sometimes I look at her, find her looking at me, and she quickly looks away. Other thymes I’m looking at her, she looks at me, and I quickly glance away. It’s like we know what the other is thinking, but are too afraid to admit it. I keep having dreams about her. Both of us get caught in some great adventure, usually not made known to the public. Through working together and with a great musical soundtrack, we overcome the obstacles, and somehow end up getting married when we get older. I’m not sure if it is a premonition, or just an overactive imagination. The best one, though, was different from the other ones. Most of the people at Kennedy turn into mean drones, and only a handful of people survive it: Me, Julie Fail, Shayla, my mom, Billy Grant, and a few others. It was a normal dream, as dreams go. The neat part? Apparently I had been in a coma (I don’t remember that part). Anyway, when all of us survivors went to a buffet downtown, I got a table sitting next to Shayla. During the meal, she turns, looks at me, smiles, and says, “I was with you the whole time when you were in the coma, holding your hand.”
That’s it. That one statement said it all. It was by far one of the best dreams I have ever had.
What I’d really like to do is talk to her alone, like on that March Friday. Because when I’m around my friends, such as Daniel in Journalism and Mark Andrews in Seminary, I tend to stay with them instead of going and talking to somebody else. It’s that fear of rejection thing again. I’m afraid of being rejected by either her or my friends. I’ve had too many experiences being rejected by friends and peers since 2nd grade that I guess I’m afraid of a repeat performance. Every inch of me just wants ta talk to her. The other day, she says, “Hi, Jeff.” to me and I had an emotional high for days.
Is this love? I have no idea.
– Jeff –
(P.S. When my kids read this 20 years from now, please don’t make fun of me.)
(If that isn’t an open invitation to make fun of me, I don’t know what is. But don’t worry. I’ll get payback someday, and you know it.)