I know this is a poor substitute for a regular post, but time constrains me. In February of 2004 I was two months away from my sixteenth birthday and three months away from leaving Native State forever. During this time I made observations on a disfigured classmate, heaped praise upon my sister, recounted an interview for an aborted attempt at going to Russia as an exchange student (my parents shot that down out of the gate), included scant notes on political developments in the U.S., and first began to recognize my own moral relativism in the aftermath of a failed prank.
February 1, 2004
Scarred Boy looks drastically different since we last met. I once remembered that his skin was pure white and unusually smooth, like a baby’s, one might venture to say. Now, though…well, skin grafts can only do so much. Scarred Boy’s cheeks are rough, corrugated, and deeply scarred. Have you ever seen that furled, billowy icing on cakes? That’s what his cheeks and arms and throat and hands look like. Except that his face is now a collage of the deepest reds, purples, and pinks. His face is bloated, as if two fleshy sacks were hanging off the side of his head. They look like if you touched them they’d burst.
I would not have had the courage to come back to school after that. Scarred Boy’s laugh, once pleasant and bouncy, is now scratchy, and, if truth be told, downright diabolical. Once my enemy, once my friend, I can’t begin to imagine what Scarred Boy’s been through. And I don’t know where he pulled all that bravery from, but it’s honestly more than I could do. I know people say that all the time to be sentimental and make themselves look deep, but I mean it; I wouldn’t have come back to school.
Today is Super Bowl Sunday. Naturally, we’ve stocked up on snacks. Pie can crawl backwards now! And, on top of that, she’s starting to make sounds with letters! God, I love her so much. I hope that my daughter can be like her. My mother is a bit concerned because Pie is in the bottom 10% of weight and bottom 25% of height for her age (7-8 months). Pie is healthy, however, so I conclude that she’s just petite.
She’s quite chubby, so she’s healthy. The doctors say so, too. Anyway, her small size underscores her big soul; in addition to being unusually tiny, Pie is unusually spirited!
February 5, 2004
The woman who interviewed me was a nice, polite British lady. They do, however, have to be extremely careful with who they allow to do things like this, and once the questioning began, she absolutely grilled me. I haven’t been so nervous in a long while.
She pounded me on what I’d do if pressured to drink or smoke. Almost everyone in Russia drinks and quite nearly the entire population smokes. Honestly, I’d be fine around the smoke, but I couldn’t do it myself (smoke, that is), and I certainly couldn’t drink. In fact, I was so nervous that I’m now worried that the interview didn’t go well.
And all of a sudden, Russia has become a very popular destination, so much so that new spots have had to have been opened up. It is becoming very competitive, and we have to get my application in as soon as possible. I’m going to pray.
February 7, 2004
Pie is crawling now. She’s such a little explorer. It’s remarkable how quickly she’s learning! Just days ago she could only crawl backwards and now she can move forwards, too. And now even two weeks past she couldn’t crawl at all, but instead merely hold herself up. She’s been sick these last few days, though, and so of course is a bit frumpy.
Mom and Dad went out to dinner tonight, and so Babysitter Woman came over to watch the baby. Babysitter Woman is about twenty years old, and she works at Pie’s daycare (her mother runs it) and is very nice, in addition to being extremely good with the baby. The two seem to be on a wavelength.
Babysitter Woman and I were discussing this, and we feel that besides my parents, we are the baby’s favorites. No one, of course, can hold a candle to Mom, but we still feel that we have deep, meaningful connections with Pie.
February 12, 2004
Well, an injustice was allowed to take place today. Powell, my brother, abandoned a pair of shoes about a year ago, leaving them under my bed. Today when he saw me wearing them, he tried to take them. When I wouldn’t give them back, he took a very expensive book and threw it so hard that the binding broke. More tomorrow. Tomorrow’s Friday!
February 13, 2004
I read the rest of The Crucible today. The ending was so sad that I was crying. I wasn’t sobbing, but tears welled in my eyes. It was extremely emotional.
Mom did not, much to her disappointment, get the job. This comes as a bit of a shock; Mom scarcely ever fails. Mom doubts that she’ll apply for the other Deep South State position, so we’ll probably not be moving. I’m not really sure how to feel about this.
February 15, 2004
Mom is making her chicken noodle soup today. Oh, I can’t wait for it. Last night was great. We got in the hot tub at eleven o’clock at night (Powell and I) and looked at the stars. It was very beautiful.
February 17, 2004
A precedent today. More tomorrow. Kerry pushes on.
February 22, 2004
My parents delighted and excelled in draconian punishments, which is why I was caught so off guard by their reaction when I was discovered perpetrating an act of mild vandalism. I presumed my actions would provide them the excuse they needed to implement the kind of radical sentences I'd long anticipated, but instead they did almost nothing. What I regarded at the time as a lucky break served in retrospect only to reinforce their inconsistency and general lack of maturity.
Last night was so fun! We had an awesome time. And if we had been able to leave it at that, I would’ve gotten away with all of it. Last night, we ding-dong-ditched everywhere, even a policeman’s house. It was so fun. We threw newspapers at people’s houses, and ice, too. What a rush!
And then we threw newspapers into the Fat Guy’s backyard. And we got away with it. But then this morning, we had to admire our handiwork. Newspapers covered Fat Guy’s yard. Laughing, Blonde Cousin and I threw more over. And that’s when the Fat Guy came out. We tried to get away, but he saw us, and the man’s had problems with me before so he recognized me.
Anyway, one of the idiots, either Blonde Cousin or Powell, told Dad that the Fat Guy caught me. Blonde Cousin, you see, got successfully away. The Fat Guy climbed over the neighbor’s fence to reach us. Then I picked up his yard for him (this didn’t take very long at all; I’d say a minute) and proceeded to walk with him to my trashcan. And then Dad came outside.
The Fat Guy himself actually was very nice about everything. I think I misunderstood him. Apparently he works in the public school system. He’s very nice. I feel bad about what we did and I would even if the punishment were lifted. I have to write a three-page essay about society. That was the Fat Guy’s idea. Quite frankly, given his past actions, I can’t believe that he didn’t call the cops outright.
Dad seemed more upset than the man himself was, but he’s since seemed to cool off with it. He now doesn’t seem angry at all. He told me that I had been very irresponsible, but then Powell and I mentioned a story that he regaled us with earlier. While building play sets in his late thirties, my father used to defecate into boxes and leave the boxes in front of mail boxes in wealthy neighborhoods. We all laughed at this, and it weakened Dad’s argument a bit.
My punishment is uncharacteristically mild; I have to go to bed at nine o’clock and I only use my computer for homework. I have to stay mostly in my room, and this is for a week. And that’s it! I am relieved to say the least. And yet, I feel soiled somehow, and, ashamed as I am to admit it, it is because I got caught that I feel bad. I’m going to pray and go to bed.
February 28, 2004
We have off of school this coming Tuesday. That’s because it’s “Super Tuesday.” On that day, ten states, including this one, are holding primaries or caucuses. John Kerry is expected to win all of them.
February 29, 2004
Today is another stunningly gorgeous day.
Oh, how we awaited winter
How we craved that Arctic blast
Oh, how we awaited winter
But now its time has passed
Oh, how we awaited sledding
Oh, how we awaited snow
Oh, how we awaited winter
But now it’s time to go
The Earth is roused from its longer slumber
The sunshine streams now through the clouds
The ground, devoid, now blooms its wonders
The birds, alive, renew their sounds
And as we shed our heavy skins
Baring what’s been deep within
Our hearts and souls they seem to spin
How it feels to know the breeze again
Caressing my uncovered arms
How it feels to know the sun again
That warmth for so many months barred
How it feels to watch the birds take flight
Basking in a shower of light
And as the Earth begins to come alive
I’m feeling what I can’t describe
A hope, a wish, a dream, a prayer
A song I sing, a love I share
The Great Fast is ending
Lent fades away
That glorious day
A saving of souls
A righteous new way
The people with the Earth did hunger
As winter waged its icy plunder
And now the people all rejoice
Jesus saved us with His choice
And as God rose Him to new birth
So now He resurrects the Earth
That was a poem that I’ll call “Spring.”