Found Objects

I just remembered that Jim Everest gave me this pen.

When I was fifteen, my mother gave me a sketchbook. With a Sharpie, I wrote PAOLA on the front of it in big, hollow letters, and then I doodled small tunneling animals inside the lines of the them. I left the O empty. I was waiting for inspiration to hit. You have to leave yourself room to maneuver when you’re working with something permanent.

Inside, I mostly worked with pencil. I would have rather used a pen, but the pages were so thin that every pen I tried bled through to the other side. It only took me a few sketches to work that out, so I only have a few pages where I had to make an ink blot into a lion’s eye or the button on a long coat.

One month into the school year, Jim fell into stride beside me as I walked to school and he said, “I’ve found you something better.”

It was something better. It was a pen with the sharpest nib I’d ever seen; when I pressed it to the paper, it left behind a needle thin, deliciously wet thread in its wake. I flipped the page over, scrutinizing the paper below for any ink stains. There was nothing but a slight imprint of the nib’s path. I rubbed my thumb over the dip in the paper.

“Well done, Everest,” I said, but I wasn’t surprised. Jim tended to find things. By the time I was fifteen, we’d known each other for awhile, or at least we both walked the same way to school. He was embarrassingly earnest and unflinchingly loyal, and would have probably been the kindest boyfriend at Freeley High, which was probably why he never had a date. The problem was that he was a reliable Ford Taurus and all the girls in school were trying out Ferraris and Aston Martins. They hadn’t yet gotten tired of wrapping them around trees or breaking down by the side of the road with something too complicated to repair without a specialist. As for me, I preferred to walk. I just wasn’t ready for anything that required seat belts.

But I was content enough to walk with him to school. He’d show me the things he’d found, and I’d show him what I’d sketched.

“I prefer when you do the faces like this,” Jim remarked, opening my book to a page of portraits. They were sketched in painstaking detail, every crease at the corner of every eye and every parted lip visible. Jim was the only one who liked them better. At gym, a few of the boys had asked me to do their portraits, but they meant my caricatures.

“Maybe,” I told him. “What did you find this week?”

Jim twisted his backpack around so that it made a mother kangaroo lump on his chest. He dug out an object and handed it to me.

“This rock,” he said. It wasn’t a rock. It was a geode, cracked open wide as a muppet’s mouth, showing a glittering throat.

“Sick,” I said, and he smiled his small smile that was more about the skin beneath his eyes than his mouth. “Where did you find it?”

“They just come to me. Like your sketches.”

Anyone else might be flirting by saying that, but Jim wasn’t the sort. He didn’t pretend to be interested in what girls were saying. He just was. I gave him a knowing look and left him on the stairs of the school.

Even though I used the pen all day long, I didn’t think about Jim until English. We both had Ms. Poitier for English, and Jim sat four seats in front of me, always the same way, back perfectly straight, leaning on his elbows. I noticed that the hair on the back of his neck was trimmed in a perfectly even line. Most ninth grade boys smell, but I suspected he didn’t.

I remember we were talking about Brave New World. Ms. Poitier asked a question that I didn’t hear most of, and Jim answered, “I think he just wanted to feel something real. When she took off her clothes, just like that, it wasn’t real.”

All the girls giggled, even though it was a true enough answer. I felt a little bad for Jim, right at that moment. Like I wanted someone to tell him that if he just didn’t answer, the girls wouldn’t giggle, or if he didn’t answer in such a serious way, the boys wouldn’t cast each other those long, slow looks that are like rolling your eyes without so much effort involved. But Jim didn’t seem to notice the giggles, or if he did, they didn’t seem to bother him. He merely studied the copy of Brave New World in his hands. 

I don’t remember what he looked like when he left class.

***

The next week, Jim caught up to me and said, “How is your pen?”

Both of us were trudging a little. Extra reading weighing down our backpacks. I replied, “It is legend. Kings write about it. Scholars dream about it.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” he said, and I knew he meant it. “I found something. It might interest you.”

“What is it?”

“Eggs,” Jim replied, handing them to me. But they weren’t quite eggs. They were hard, fossilized memories of eggs, a bit of sediment sticking them together, imprinted with a partial pattern of a leaf. Later, I would try to sketch them, or the memory of them.

“These must’ve been buried deep,” I said, and Jim shrugged. “Let me guess. They just came to you.”

Again he smiled. I thought it would probably be an interesting thing to draw Jim’s face one of these days, to try to catch that smile that was under his eyes, but I knew better. It was one thing to walk to school with Jim Everest. It was another thing to draw him in my sketchbook in permanent ink.

It was a good thing, too. In Civics 2, Blake and Caden snatched my sketchbook away from me as I doodled before class. I didn’t try to get it back from them, because I’d learned my lesson back in seventh grade. The more you struggle, the tighter the Chinese finger trap gets. Instead, as they paged through it, mouths tilted into grins, I asked, “Are you looking for your face in there, Blake?”

“Hoping, hoping,” he said. He laughed when he found my caricatures of Gaskin, our phys ed teacher, and kept flipping through, the pages hissing softly as they fell against each other. I’d ripped out the serious portraits with the crinkles by the eyes, so there was nothing to mock.

“You’re a regular Van Gogh,” Blake said. I knew he really meant you’re good, but he’d never have actually said that.

I pretended to have not caught what he said, so I wouldn’t have to say thank you. Blake tossed the sketchbook back onto my desk. I remember feeling so pleased that the entire exchange hadn’t bothered me. Back in seventh grade, I might’ve cried over it. It was hard to remember being that person.

***

I remember that I walked home with Jim once; that didn’t normally happen because of my lacrosse practice, but we got rained out. Freeley High swam in rain. The wet came down so profoundly that before I left the school, I asked the cafeteria ladies for a plastic bag to wrap my sketchbook in. I tucked it into my backpack, braced myself for the soaking, and the moment I stepped outside, I found myself under an umbrella.

“It’s raining,” Jim noted as he walked with me down the dark-stained stairs to the sidewalk. He stood a little bit out from under the umbrella so that I could fit under it entirely. His right shoulder was fast growing damp. I saw that he was wearing a watch, a nicer one than most high school boys seemed to wear, and very Jim-like, as if he’d spent some care picking it out.  

“I didn’t think to bring an umbrella,” I told Jim. “I thought it was supposed to be a heat wave and a sauna and eternally sunny. What did you find this week?”

“A dinosaur claw,” Jim replied, withdrawing it from his slicker pocket.

It was a claw, but I didn’t know if it had ever been a dinosaur’s. The longer I looked at it, the more I thought it might be a hooked blade instead. I didn’t think it looked like a fossil. It gave me a strange tickle in my guts, as if I could feel the point of it dragging along them.

As we walked, I thought about telling Jim that I was sorry about what had happened in English earlier that day, but I wasn’t sure how to word it. We were supposed to write a paragraph about joy, and while the rest of us were reading paragraphs about our parents mysteriously granting us the car keys and revised endings to Dr. Seuss books and sentences that included the word “hobo,” Jim had delivered a paragraph about what it would feel like to hold a girl’s hand and know she really cared for him. I didn’t know if it would’ve been so bad if he hadn’t been so genuine about it, or if he hadn’t clearly ironed his button down shirt before he came to school, or if he hadn’t read it out so well. By the time he’d gotten to the end, the room was full of so much hooting I couldn’t hear Jim at all.

I’d been dying for him, but he’d only sat back down like he was supposed to, folding the piece of paper away in his folder and waiting for the next person to read.

Someone really needed to explain to that boy the difference between feeling serious things and saying them out loud. Preferably before college. 

I felt that hooked blade on my guts again. I wondered how deep in the earth it had been before Jim found it. I said, “I think you should stop finding things.”

“I told you,” he replied. “They find me.”

***

I remember wondering if Ms. Poitier just didn’t like Jim; if she liked to hear the half-audible laughs of the boys in the back row when she asked Jim to read his work aloud. I remember the day that Reilly told Jim that he was just so sweet but she didn’t mean it like it was a compliment.

I remember being so angry about her that I told my mom that evening that Reilly was a foul snake and that I’d never be as horrible as she was.

Mostly, though, I remember being angry at Jim. He seemed willfully incapable of grasping that high school didn’t want the honest wrinkles. Popularity was so easily attainable, and he either couldn’t see the way, or he didn’t want to. Instead, he sat in the same chair every day, his shirt pressed before he came to school, his hair perfectly trimmed straight above his collar. 

It wasn’t raining that last day. I caught up with Jim, and he didn’t say anything at first. I let the sound of the concrete beneath our shoes fill the silence for several long moments before I said, “Hey.”

There was still another long moment before he said, from a long way off, “How is that pen holding up?”

It was holding up great, but I said, “Better than a sharp stick in the eye.”

Jim nodded. I noticed he didn’t have his back pack. There was still silence between us, and I felt like my words were being sucked out of me, pulled into the vacuum.

“What did you find this week?”

Jim said, “Trouble.”

I didn’t know what to say to that. It wasn’t exactly like something I could hold in my hands. In the end, I didn’t say anything at all. If he had something more to say, he’d say it, wouldn’t he? 

When he still didn’t speak, I showed him the sketch I did of his geode at the beginning of the year, using his pen for the black outside and a pink marker for the reflective edges of the crystals inside. It wasn’t supposed to look real. More like the feeling of a geode than the actual face of a geode.

“It’s good,” Jim said, and I knew he meant it’s good.

He didn’t come to school the next day. In my sketchbook, I drew the hooked claw he’d found. They showed a photo of it on the news. The curved edge of it mirrored the ‘g’ in ‘missing.’

***

The next day, when I opened the door to go to school, there was a shovel.

The handle was worn and the blade was stained and clogged with three different colors of dirt. I wondered how many feet of ground it had dug through to acquire all those stripes. A layer with geodes and a layer with fossils and a layer of claws. I wondered if this shovel was a thing that had found me or a thing for finding other things.

For a moment, I studied the shovel and the strange, long muddy footprints up the walk to our house on the other side of it. I imagined what the day would look like if I picked up that shovel and cut class to follow those footprints. I let the whole day wind out in front of me. Not just the idea of the day, but the real thing, with all the gritty details. The decisions to pick up that shovel and put down my back pack represented something bigger.

I held the shovel in my hand.

This weekend I was free. I didn’t think I had anything to do on Saturday, unless I was forgetting something before my lacrosse game. I didn’t have to do it now.

I remember I looked for a long time to find a place to lean the shovel against the garage wall; I was nearly late for first period. English with Ms. Poitier was quiet. I doodled animals in tunnels in the margins of my notes.

Until I found this pen, I’d forgotten all about that shovel. I wonder whatever happened to it.

__________________________
Author’s Note: musings on school after a week of school visits.

image courtesy: pmeidinger

80 thoughts on “Found Objects

  1. I don’t really know what to say to this other than every part of it felt so really, painfully true. Poor Jim.

  2. Hey!

    I LOVE this. Amazing writing and amazing work!

    I came upon your journal through the spotlight and I’m glad I did! Looking forward to more stories from all of you! πŸ˜€

  3. Oh, yay! It’s fantastic to see that the spotlight works! Hope you enjoy and thank you!

  4. I want to regress about 15 years in age, dig Jim up metaphorically, and hold his hand. If he’d let me.

  5. I love when authors use a Ford Taurus. I love my trusty little car πŸ™‚
    I thought you caught the essence of high school well. It’s always the ones who are earnest about what they do that meet the most ridicule in class.

  6. This is more of a compliment than you know — I never went to high school, so catching the essence of it is fantastic. It’s all observed as an adult rather than from experience at this point.

  7. At my high school there is a boy who is good in the way that people never really are.
    When he asks how your day has been he genuinely wants to know, and it makes me uncomfortable beyond all reason. I can’t say that it was fine, even if it was. That’s not enough.
    He’s separate from us, but not bullied. He makes us better people. I think that most of them feel like I do. I value him. I love knowing that there’s someone so pure in the world, but it’s from a distance. Too close and I feel laid bare, false. Sarcasm isn’t funny anymore, it’s evasive. Charm isn’t useful, it’s manipulative.
    He likes me. Not like that, but he likes me. I have never felt judged by him, and he has always been kind to me. But being with him makes me judge myself.
    Jim reminds me of him so much. I wish there was a way to show this to him without it being weird. I’m not sure what he’d think, but maybe it would mean something.

  8. I wish I could register everything I am thinking right now. This is amazing because of all the layers in it. I am still in awe of this.

  9. This . . . is the best comment ever. Because it means that I pulled off what I was trying to do, which is to write about a real kind of person that I see when I do school visits. The genuinely nice guy. You put it really really well, describing that sort of distance. It’s not meanness, really, even the teasing that I was trying to put here — just discomfort.

    Anyway, awesome comment. Thank you.

  10. I absolutely love the car and car accident metaphors for the different types of high school relationships. This story gave me a shiver at the end–I would’ve liked to know more clearly what happened to Jim, and why the hooked blade showed up on the news. Otherwise, though, I love these musings–they really do capture high school beautifully. I remember the guys in my class being so immature when we watched “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and saw two women kiss each other on the cheek in greeting. Or when a dance group performed in our auditorium, and some guy whistled because the woman was wearing a leotard.


    icon by whirligigged.livejournal.com

  11. I just stumbled upon this community and this was the first thing I read.

    This was absolutely amazing. The realness of it was inspiring and I hope that everyone can meet someone like Jim at some point in their lives.

  12. I really love the voice. It’s not quite like the traditional “good voice” stuff though. It’s closer to someone that you would want to be your best friend or maybe even yourself. Not quite the cynic, but not quite the perpetual nice girl either. I really like the story itself too. (And the rain. Seriously, the rain. I don’t think that I have a right to be quite this excited about the rain in this context but it’s rain, which I haven’t seen in a decent amount for a few months. Oh, rain, pretty.)

  13. I just found this community from the lj spotlight so this is the first post I’ve read on here… and I really don’t know what to say!

    The imagery, the language… it’s all put together so very beautifully.

    But what happened to Jim? And why was the hooked blade on the news? Where did he find all of those things? Did he search them out, was he given them, did he buy them? Please, please continue the story.

  14. i found this community highlighted on my LJ Home Page, and i’m so glad i followed the link, because this was a joy to read. you have taken what anyone else would have considered mundane and made it extraordinary.

    truly good writing is so rare these days that every bit of it deserves to be applauded heartily. perhaps this community just came to me like Jim’s treasures.

    i’m really glad it did.

  15. It’s funny what experience gives you — I remember when I first saw that the guys do that because they’re uncomfortable rather than trying to be jerks.

    Of course, they still came off as jerks. So . . .

  16. Hahaha — I have to admit, we had a huge thunderstorm yesterday and I was all jumpy and clappy.

  17. Oooh! It’s fantastic to see the spotlight bringing people here! I hope that this isn’t the last story you read here — thank you so much!

  18. Wow, thank you so much!! The LJ Spotlight has been so great to us already, and I hope we can keep entertaining you.

  19. When I originally conceived this story, she took the shovel — but I thought it would stick in our minds longer if she didn’t.

    So down it went.

  20. Wow…just wow. I had a friend like this growing up..and it’s heartbreaking to read and to think until I read this, I hadn’t thought of him in so long. Much like picking up that pen again. Now I suddenly find myself wanting to know every detail about his life since the last time I saw him right before I headed off for college and all thoughts of my high school friends drifted into the past.

    Now I find myself revisiting that past, like everyone does when they hit their mid 30s I think. Making friends with people who didn’t like me then, now they respect me and things I’ve done. And I feel ashamed that the one person who was the nicest to me and never judged me is the last person I’ve thought of.

    It’s time to pick up that pen again I think.

    Amazing story Maggie πŸ™‚

  21. Pretty amazing comment . . . I think it would be pretty amazing to think that even one person got back in touch with a high school acquaintance or talked to That Guy in their class because of this story. Just one would be be amazing.

  22. yesterday, i ran across this community in the spotlight. i did something very stupid last week – i was distracted by a friend being in town and completely forgot to take my antidepressants for a week straight. yesterday, i was doing very very badly as a result. i hit on y’alls community relatively early in the morning, and spent all day reading your stories. and i’d just like to say, they helped me hold my shit together. they gave me something to focus on, to immerse myself in, they gave me a thousand little worlds to crawl into that were much more palatable than my present world. so thank you, all three of you, a hundred thousand times, for doing this incredibly awesome thing you do. ❀

  23. It’s hard to think of how to reply to a comment like this! It’s incredibly kind and genuine of you, and to think of someone reading the stories all day is amazing enough, without making it additionally meaningful. So thank you and you’re welcome both.

  24. Wow. Count me as one who came here for the first time today because of the spotlight. This is the first story I read on your site. I was drawn in immediately and riveted throughout. Beautiful writing. I can’t remember being this touched by a short story in years. I’m coming at this from the angle of a woman of 45, so I’ve got a little more wisdom than your POV girl. I thought you captured her naivete so well. She came so close to appreciating Jim as he deserved, yet her age appropriate immaturity and that ‘pull of the cool’ kept her just distant enough to be heartbreaking.

    This is my absolute favorite line: β€œIt’s good,” Jim said, and I knew he meant it’s good. Gah, it makes me want to cry.

    I’m going to have my thirteen year old daughter read this. Maybe she can be a little more wise by the time she meets her “Jim”. Thank you so much for sharing.

  25. Wow, the comments on this one have been fantastic and humbling. Thank you so, so much. I hope that this isn’t the last story you enjoy on the site too. THANK YOU!

  26. It does seem…true-er that way. Having been more of a Jim than a narrator in school I remember that there is usually only one, and many young ladies and men are similarly disappointing.

  27. Wow, Maggie, I loved this story. It reminded me of my adorable nephew who is kind and generous, very soft spoken and very, very genuine. It made me want to go hug the poor boy, but he lives in a diffferent state so I settled for texting him instead. I feel bad for poor Jim. Being the “real” kid is the hardest thing to be.
    Thanks for sharing.

  28. Thank YOU for this. I have a very genuine nephew too, and I suspect he’ll be one of the real kids as well.

  29. It’s fun for me to read heart felt comments from people who are new to your work and who have been touched. Your talent is truly gifted.
    I too loved your analogy of cars and guys, it holds true even when they’re men.
    The character you gave Jim is one that I’ve seen a bit of in my 12yr daughter. She stood up for a handicapped girl when other girls were mocking her. Her bold stance took place in the cafeteria and then continued in the library, while others watched and listened. I could not be more proud to be her mother. The quiet steady ways of genuine people are a model for us all. Thanks Maggie, well done!

  30. I’m proud of your daughter by extension! That takes guts & grit.

    And thank you. I was a little nervous about the LJ spotlight, I’ll admit it!

  31. I just “found” this and unlike the objects found in the story, this sparkled and shone for the diamond it is, rich with nuance and heavy with emotion. Thank you.

    Denise Golinowski

  32. I was completely mesmerized while reading this. So incredibly well written!

    … what happened to Jim???

  33. The spotlight brought me here. This story will keep me here. Really, really wonderful. The car analogy, the pacing, the clipped dialogue, the emotion conveyed from her feeling awkward or curious or angry. Brilliantly done. Thank you. πŸ™‚

  34. Maggie, your writing in this piece is probably some of my very favorite of yours ever. Beautifully written. Lapped it up like water! Thank you for sharing.

  35. Muy creepy, Miss. Maggie. I just found y’all through Spotlight- WOOHOO y’all got spotlight! πŸ™‚

    Very very good.

  36. …the memories this piece evoked for me! I was home schooled until eighth grade. I would venture to say that I played the part of both the protagonist and Jim at different points in my life. I remember first going to public school, seeing how different I was from everyone else, and looking at them all as if they were something removed…a living, snide organism that I had no part of and didn’t understand. It took a few years to acclimate and then I would watch others as they tried to blend into “the group,” as well. I’d watch the students at school make fun of them because they were weird or different and it’d break my heart a little. It was like they were all living in a test tube and were so consumed with their own sense of superiority, that they didn’t realize they were so small and insecure. C’est la vie. I’ve gone off on a tangent, but I wanted to let you know that this piece really touched me. Even though it’s fiction, it was real for me.

  37. Creepy is pretty much always going to be accepted as a compliment. So thank you. And I know, RIGHT? Spotlight!

  38. This really touches home for me too, your comment — I was homeschooled from sixth grade until college and so I had that acclimation in college, which was less cruel but also more distant.

    So. . . thank you. For it to be real is the biggest compliment for a piece like this.

  39. Wow! Just wow! I hadn’t thought about this aspect of high school in a long time. Your words are so accurate and powerful. I can’t help but love Paola, you really got into her head. This is the first short story I’ve read after finding you in a round about way from Lola’s Sharp Pen/Dull Sword blog. I am so excited to read more…

  40. The wet came down so profoundly that before I left the school, I asked the cafeteria ladies for a plastic bag to wrap my sketchbook in. I tucked it into my backpack, braced myself for the soaking, and the moment I stepped outside, I found myself under an umbrella.

    β€œIt’s raining,” Jim noted

    this has to be one of my favorite short stories written by you, ever. It is incredebly amazing. The aforementioned line made me laugh out loud, which has never happened before. i actually have a friend like Jim who is incredebly nice, but who also solved my pen problem. I am forwarding the link to my friend, and thank you for writing this.

    -Polkadotiful πŸ™‚

  41. Really great story Maggie! I love the part where you compare cars and car accidents to high school relationships. I really want to share it with someone, anyone. So I posted it on my facebook status :).

  42. This is the first article I read since joining livejournal. I love how you spun it in a simple realistic view of high school life but still provided depth. I’m looking forward to reading more.

  43. Well, I’m glad that you found me in a roundabout way! Thank you so much, and I hope that you enjoy the others!!

  44. Hahah, I’m very pleased to have made you laugh out loud. I’m also pleased that you have a Jim-friend and no pen problem.

    So thanks. πŸ™‚

  45. I’ve been floored. I don’t even know what to say, except that I am so glad I decided to bother with the LJ spotlight for once.

    I don’t really understand the piece, and I found the ending confusing (seriously, I have no idea what’s going on there), but very well-written. πŸ™‚

    Jim sounds like a guy I might actually talk to.

  46. I’m glad we were worth the bother! I hope that we can floor you more with some of our other stories and confuse you more with yet others. *grin*

    Thanks.

  47. *Whistles in awe* wow. That’s one of the best short stories I’ve ever read, and mom’s made me read more then my fair share of them. I didn’t really understand the meaning of the story to well, but I found it good anyways. I’m new to this part of the site, and to this site, but I think that I already like better then both facebook and blogger, my favorite sites.

  48. I absolutely loved this. Jim is a genuine person, and I can definitely think of some people I know that are like that. I liked the perspective of the narrator immensely. I especially like how she said she wished she could save him the humiliation, or tell him that popularity was easy to achieve. People often give me odd looks when I put my all into schoolwork (I’m a senior in high school), and they can’t seem to understand that it is more important to me than popularity will ever be. When I read that passage, it clicked for me. What my friends have been trying to tell me about the “weird things that I do”. It wasn’t that Jim didn’t know high school didn’t want the honest wrinkles. It was that he didn’t care, and that’s the one thing my friends don’t seem to understand.

    This is a lovely piece. Well done!

  49. Thank you. πŸ™‚ Me too, really, only this was my freshman year in college. I didn’t care that I was the teacher’s pet or that I spent more time in the library than at parties (i.e. NEVER at parties, ALWAYS at the library).

  50. I too have come stumbling in along the spotlight’s beam, and I must say, I’m so glad I did! This is the first thing I read, and wowww, I love it! I find myself envious of Jim’s ability to speak earnestly and seriously in class and not feel the unnecessary ridicule it brings from other kids, as it seems the narrator takes the liberty of feeling all of it for him. It makes me think that there are so many kids with varied talents to color the landscape of high school that get silenced by the teasing and the fear of social rejection, and its everyone’s loss when they hide their gifts away and stay quiet and cowed to fit in as a result. I remember being one of those kids, eventually hiding all my sketches (didn’t help, I drew all over my dividers and binder) and hunkering down whenever teachers singled me out to read aloud, or share something I’d done. And the feeling, especially when you’re young, of not being able to express yourself for fear of negative reaction, can burn you up inside.

    All this to say what a fantastic, evocative story that is just so easy to get immersed in and to identify with. Will now read a bunch of stories from all three of you and lurk around the community like a lurky…lurker…thing. In the shadows. Yeah.

  51. i just came here from lj spotlight and i’m so glad i found this place! This story really touched me; it’s sad to see how jim is ostracised yet his purity really amazes me. and the ending! thinking of all the possible scenarios that could have happened to Jim makes me even more worried about his eventual fate.

    although my high school life (or junior college; i live in Singapore) was never like this, i think that such situations occur anywhere and everywhere. or perhaps i was one of those on the outside, looking in but never really understanding the precious few Jims in our lives?

    great job (:

  52. Thank you! We would be MORE than happy to have you lurk around like a lurking thing. And I was an artsy student too (I know, shocking!) and I remember the teasing I used to get. As an adult, it’s really easy to see that none of it was meant to be mean, but it felt that way as a kid.

  53. Thank you! I’m glad that you never had to put up with this sort of thing at your school. I hope this isn’t the last of our stories that you’ll read. πŸ™‚

  54. It’s so… The words won’t come to my mind. First and foremost, I enjoyed it immensely. It is well written and thoughtful, and a little painful but its high school right.
    I wish there was more a happy ending or some other such nonsense. Its funny how we always crave a happy ending to stories, but I think I would like it less if there was a happy ending. It would be less honest that way.
    Sorry for rambling. What I meant to say is its awesome, I enjoyed it, please keep up the good work.

  55. Thank you for rambling! In my first conception of this, it DID have a happy ending — or at least, she picked up the shovel. There’s a bit of a tendency for a happy ending to satisfy the brain and thus erase the story from memory, at least when I read. And I wanted this one to stick!

    So . . . thank you.

  56. At the end of the story was thinking that Jim was digging a big hole through time and he gets lost items through different time periods.

  57. Jim’s right. Completely. In the end, all we’re really looking for is someone who means what they say and do. Someone genuine and sweet, with priorities set, and this heart of solid, glistening, pure gold. To me, based on every guy I’ve met, Jim is so above and beyond them all. I don’t doubt that the nice guys exist; but if they do, I’m waiting for them to grab my hand and I’ll be willing to hold on tight.

    This is absolutely beautiful, more so than a lot of things I’ve read. Amazing job.

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