Diary Friday

And we’re back. With yet another installment of Diary Friday! Where I willingly impale myself on the thorns of embarrassment! for your entertainment.


I’m staying with my junior year in high school, for now. The year I was MADLY IN LOVE with a senior named David. MADLY IN LOVE. Do you hear me? MADLY IN LOVE! (Who the hell is screaming like that?? Oh never mind. It’s just Sheila.) MADLY IN LOVE.

My entire life, junior year, became about French class and Gym. These were the two classes where our paths intersected.


Perfect day. Wonderful! Wonderful! [Uhm: “O, wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! and yet again wonderful, and after that out of all hooping.” Is that what you meant to say, Sheila?] Every day my feelings explode and grow! [That must hurt.] I’m sorry to bore you every single minute with the continuing saga of Dave and Sheila – but exciting things are happening to me every day! I swear – my life is now revolving around him. [And … this is a good thing? Because I’m not really clear … er …] That’s dangerous. I know. He is not perfect, but — Oh God. I like him. I really really really really do. [hahahaha Such a cliche! 1 or 2 “really”s would not be enough to express the depth of how much I “like” him.] I mean — I don’t know why I’m trying so hard to convince you — [Neither do I. It’s a journal. You have an argumentative journal? A journal that doesn’t validate your emotions and gives you a hard time? Get a new journal then, babe.] I know how I feel and I know. This is special. This is — and — diary, I have the courage this time to do something. I was paralyzed around JW. Also, I never saw him. [So yeah. Being paralyzed and never seeing someone pretty much ensures that it will not be a win-win situation.] I passed JW maybe once a day in the halls. I wasn’t friends with him. Sure, when I was a freshman, we were in a history class together – but – we never ever talked — oh, a few passing words — but — at dances — there wouldn’t be a chance in the world that I could ask him. He scared me. He wasn’t even my friend. He didn’t know me or who I was. [And you liked him why?] The whole thing was in my mind.

But with Dave — I feel so much differently about him. There is a friendship there. Oh — there is!!!! [Again with the arguing with the journal? I want to bitch-slap the journal for giving my 16 year old self such a difficult time. Shut up. You’re a journal. DO NOT JUDGE.] What will I do if something really happens? He really does something to me. He really does.

Anyway. In gym today we went down to Old Mountain Field. Me, the dumb one, put on my sweats. [“Me put on my sweats”?] It was freezing outside. I mean – freezing. With a chilly biting wind. It was freezing. We walked along. I was with Kate, April, and J. Dave was up ahead of us. He was wearing maroon Levis and a big green down coat. [Wow. I can so see those maroon Levis right now. Weird.] He is so gorgeous. I can’t go on just gaping at him. Oh Diary. Think of it. What if something happens? Oh my God oh my God.


We got down to the field. We just stood around waiting for instructions. [I took a gym class called Project Adventure, which was like an Outward Bound thing. It was one of the best classes I took in high school.] I was just standing there, freezing. Dave came over to me, obviously to talk to me. Not about anything big – we just talked about French. I love the way he smiles down at me. Sort of leaning back his head to smile down. [Again: a weird sense-memory rush. I remember just how he would look down and smile at me. He was quite tall … so he would lean his head back … I haven’t thought about that for 22 years or something like that.]

I am not running away with embarrassment whenever I see him. But since I asked him to dance, something’s changed. Something is different. But it’s for the better, somehow. When he looks at me – Oh God – something new is there. Oh my God. I can NOT stand liking a guy this much. [Well get used to it, sweetheart. Because that’s your deal. When you like a guy, you always like him “this much”, you always like him like CRAZY, so much so that you can barely stand it. It’s over 20 years now … and I STILL go crazy when I fall in love. Nothing halfway about it.]

He came over. “Hey, did you get the French?” I nodded sarcastically. “Of course! Of course!” We still had a way to go to get to the goal posts where the teachers were. J., Kate, and April sort of miraculously drifted off. [Now THOSE are good girlfriends. Nothing more annoying than a girlfriend who doesn’t know when the hell to disappear. There’s a word for girls like that, but this is a family blog.] We kept walking on together. As we talked, I just looked up at Dave and admired him. [Damn. For some reason, that one line alone: “I looked up at Dave and admired him” kills me.]

He said, “I swear, I don’t do a damn thing in that class. I just sit there, stare out the window, and then he calls on me, and I’m like – ‘Wha’? Huh?'”

“Yeah, but you always get the right answer.” I playfully jabbed at his stomach. I said, “What do you, like, think in French or something?”

He shrugged and said, “Quelque fois!” [Okay. Now I must really punch you in the stomach.]

We both laughed. Oh help me! I love his smile! I come home from school, come up here, lie on the floor, and just moan, weakly, thinking of him. [Ah, this reminds me of another great quote from “As You Like It” – a play which is the perfect depiction of this kind of giggly adolescent love. Rosalind says, “I’ll go find a shadow and sigh till he comes.” God, I love that line. It’s so true.] Thinking of him makes me weak. I am in love. Oh, I am! How many times can I say it? David. David.

Gym was excellent. [hahahahaha There is literally no segue there. I am lying on the floor, moaning “David, David” … next sentence: “Gym was excellent.”]

She picked 3 groups. For a while I just prayed, “Let me be in Dave’s group!” Finally (I’m desperate), I murmured to Mrs. Ryan: “Can I be in that group?” She nodded. Jubliance was mine. [hahaha so dramatic!!] Dave, me, J. and Nick were in the same group. We kept giving each other beaming smiles.

The problem: The whole group had to be blindfolded and holding hands. Through this grove of trees, they had wound ropes in a maze. We had to go from one end to the other, but there were lots of wrong turns and dead ends. The way we knew it was the end was if there was a piece of tape on the tree. The leader had to feel all over for it. Davide was our leader.

Diary — I swear — each day goes by. I am dying. It’s getting bigger and bigger.

I was third in line. [HAHAHAHA Again with the no segue!!] Dave was holding Bob’s hand, I was holding on to Bob. I loved hearing Dave’s voice telling us all where to go next. I (the cheater) would peek out from beneath my cloth just to look at his white sneakers and ankles. [Ohhhh, the sight of a man’s ankles drives me wild to this day!]

We finished the maze. I was so cold. I took off my blindfold. My hands were all red and splotchy. I could hardly move them.

Then — we had to do it again but with a different leader. I elected April. So we all put on our blindfolds again. I was second in line, holding hands with April and J. All of us were blind, disoriented, so a lot of people were crying, “Help! Where am I?” We started moving slowly. I heard Dave, somewhere to my right, saying, “Wait! Wait! I’m not attached.” I guess he was stretching out his arms, cause his fingers brushed mine – which were holding onto J’s. But April kept us moving. Dave tried to grasp on, tried to find a place, going, “Wait — I need to attach on …” Unthinkingly, immediately, I broke off with J and took his hand. [Okay. Even with so much retrospect, I can still feel the excitement. How much FUN was Project Adventure!!] (I apologized to J after and she thoroughly understood.) So there we were – my little hand in his – we were holding hands. I was soaring inside! [This is all strangely painful. I’m so vulnerable. He did not return my feelings – which ended up all becoming plain at the end of the year. Like Yeats warns: “Never give all the heart.” Horrible lessons to learn, but I needed to learn them, and I still need to learn them. When I love someone, I don’t mess around, man.]

As our line was tripping along, I heard Dave say, “Should I trust you, Sheila?”


“Yes, I think you should,” I said. [Yes, but should I trust him? That’s the real question.]

What was he thinking beneath that blindfold?

I hate myself sometimes. [Huh? What’s THAT about?]

Then – we started following the rope. I was in heaven. I love loving Davide! It got sort of awkward, trying to hold hands, as well as hang on to the rope, so I heard Dave say, “Wait a minute here … let me hold on to your … your sweatshirt ..” I felt his hand grab on to my sleeve. I felt so weird inside having him touch me. But that got too hard – me having to turn around to walk — so he just put his hand on my back and lightly held on. [Dear Lord, I want to take a Project Adventure class now!!] Oh, I feel like a sex maniac! Sorry! It’s just that I felt his hand on my back. I was so aware of it. But then that also got awkward because he kept trying to hold onto my shirt, and at one point he accidentally grabbed my bra strap. He said, “Uh … sorry about that …” So then we went back to holding hands. He has such a firm grasp.

As we walked along, I felt my legs get all poked with prickers and I shrieked, “PRICKERS!” Everyone started laughing, and Dave started saying in a mock haughty English accent, “Oh, my word! Prickers! Prickers!”

Gym was wonderful today. Wonderful for J too. She held hands with Nick. Oooohh! It was so windy, and positively teeth-chatteringly cold. I had so much pent-up screaming energy, so I ran to catch up with J and Kate – wanting to squeal: AHHHHH. As we walked back we started talking about The Fantasticks and how Kate screwed up the whole thing by forgetting her lines (she played the Mute). Dave was walking along diagonally behind us. Obviously he was listening cause he came up to stand next to me and smile down at the three of us. “The budding Thespians!” J. cried, “Hey – I know what that means!” Dave kept walking along in front of us. Kate and J both glanced at me and then we all just BURST out laughing.

I love how he walks. I love how he holds himself.

I just wish I knew what he thought. Especially since I asked him to dance. My asking him just seemed to make things better. He knows now. I don’t think he knows the extent of how I feel. [Thank GOD.] But he knows that I am thinking of him. I would love to know what he thinks of me in the privacy of his own dark room.

I ran up to the locker room. My fingers were not functioning. I could not do the combination. I got dressed, looked at my reflection (ugh), and went down the stairs. Just as I came out of the girls door, Davide was coming out of the guys door at the other end of the gym. I can imitate his walk now. I love it. He walks like a southern drawl. I am not even going to try to explain what I mean by that, but it is a perfect description of how he walks. I know what I mean. He doesn’t slouch. No. But his walk … it’s wicked. [Ha! Member when “wicked” was not a qualifier of another adjective – as in “wicked cool” or “wicked awesome” – but an adjective in and of itself???]

My heart! My heart! I wish I didn’t ache so inside. It aches.

I don’t ever remember feeling like this before. What do I do?

As I was starting up the locker room stairs with Kate and J right behind me, I heard Kate say, “Sheila!” I turned around. J. and I had just been “comparing notes”. She didn’t say anything but her face – God, she knows how to make a person feel wonderful. Her expression was wide-eyed, she was nodding confidently. You can’t read it – not being able to see it – but her looks was like: “Sheila. Something is there. Wow! Go for it!” I just flapped my hands around like: No! No! No!

Even though I don’t trust people as I should, and I feel so stupidly cautious sometimes — I don’t want to stake my life on Dave — but I know I already have. I want him more than I ever wanted JW. The JW thing was all in my mind. I made up fantasies about us. About him coming to me asking for forgiveness [Uhm – for what? For not knowing who I am???] – and us finally getting together. Why couldn’t I see that he was just too far out of reach? I had no contact with him at all. But Dave. There are possibilities there. I feel it. What will happen?

There’s a dance next Friday. I’ve gotta find out if he’s going. I’ll get a second chance. I will ask him to dance. I know he’ll say yes. And I haven’t ruined everything by asking him before. I ruined everything when I asked JW to the Sadies. [I cringe, remembering that.] Dumb dumb move. We would have had a horrible time. I didn’t even know him! But every day I am getting to know Dave better. He acts like he wants to know me better too.

Let him go the dance! I could do it again. I have confidence in myself now. [Notice how it never even occurred to me that he should ask ME to dance. No one ever asked me to dance, in all 4 years of high school. So I took matters into my own hands. But still. That’s ridiculous.] I know I can do it. I had never asked a guy to dance before him. I’m such a chicken! I’m awful! But I did ask him, and look at hjow he reacted. [Er – I have no memory of how he reacted.]

What if he is interested? Oh help!!

You know — I’m almost done with this diary. It’s been just about a year. What a year! I was just looking it over. I am so different now. I have changed so much! Look at how much I used to swear – at the beginning of this journal! I don’t swear anymore. And the first few entries – God, I sound so queer. It was so awkward. It was like I was trying to make an impression for an invisible audience – trying to be “a typical teen”. I don’t know who I was trying to impress. But talking about my stupid nail polish and what shampoo I used at Mere’s? Really thrilling there, Sheila. But really. I have tried to keep a diary before. I kept one through 7th and 8th grade – but it was one of those dinky little things with 3 lines for each day – so I’d end up writing “I’m really down. Oh brother. Well – bye!” I’ve grown sort of dependent on this new diary. I love sitting down to write. Recalling wonderful happenings is so fun! I am a lot more faithful to the diary now – I am on such an incredible high right now. Every day is like a magic bag and me not knowing what is going to come out when I open it. I love it! My life is slowly looking up now. I love everything. I love a guy. I want to capture this! I told you, I have a thing for memories, keeping everything in writing. Someday I can get this book out and read it again. Will I be so different then? Will it be like I’m a different person reading a book about some alien weird little teenager? I hope not. I like myself now. I hope I can be as open with my new diary as I am with this one. I love running home and scribbling down all my Davide anecdotes. Confiding is wonderful. Of course it’s better when there’s a live listening ear there for you, but if there isn’t — God, a diary really helps!

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18 Responses to Diary Friday

  1. David says:

    I told you, I have a thing for memories, keeping everything in writing.

    So this is where it all began?

    Someday I can get this book out and read it again.

    And then I can post it on the internet and let anybody who wants to, read it as well.

    Will it be like I’m a different person reading a book about some alien weird little teenager?

    Prophetic, smells like a one woman show to me!

    Had a blast last night, sorry I made you drink beer. Loved hearing about your Chicago trip and needed to hear,again,how great it is that our country is split right down the middle.

    Good times.

  2. David says:

    that was a disaster, I tried to copy and paste some of your diary Friday but it didn’t work.

  3. red says:

    weird – it showed up in the email of the comment to me. I’ll fix it. Hang on.

  4. red says:

    There – it’s fixed now.

    I know – I came across that entry today and immediately thought of our conversation last night. The book of men and all that.

    I had a great time, too. Especially you embarrassing me in my neighborhood deli.

    Good times, good times.

  5. David says:

    OK, you can delete my fixing of it then.

  6. red says:

    Beat you to it!! hahahaha

  7. David says:

    I’m sorry I embarassed you, I have a great talent for that after imbibing the wicked ale.

  8. Alex says:

    Book Of Men!!!


  9. Mark says:

    Ohhhh, the sight of a man’s ankles drives me wild to this day!

    How Victorian of you.

  10. red says:

    Mark – hahahahaha Yup! I was a Gibson Girl even back then!

  11. beth says:

    //at one point he accidentally grabbed my bra strap. He said, “Uh … sorry about that …” //


  12. red says:

    beth – ohhhhh, the sexual tension in adolescent Project Adventure!!!!

  13. just1beth says:

    “Me put on sweatpants”- is that your Cookie Monster impression??? hee hee!

  14. red says:

    Beth – i know, right? Like … what???

    I can’t wait for tomorrow – dying to see you all!

  15. mere says:

    I wonder what kind of shampoo you used at my house. I bet it was wicked.
    I love these diary friday posts.

  16. red says:

    I think it might have been a sort of jo-jo ba shampoo – you know, with the beads in it?? Why do I remember this???

    it was definitely wicked.

  17. mere says:

    aaah yeah… I loved that stuff with the beads.
    wicked shampoo!

    I’ll be seeing you tonite at Beth’s resort and spa/tiki bar.

    We’ll have some wicked fun!

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