5:41AM

Tomorrow (well, today) me and Heather Madame will have a picnic at one of our favorite parks.

I’ve been trying for about four hours to sleep now, but, as it would appear, I’ve become rather accustomed to staying awake until about four thirty in the morning, so I have about an hour to type up this post before my systems decide to finally produce enough melatonin to let me sleep soundly.

Me and Heather Madame decided to dress up like we’re in the 1950’s, including styling our hair and doing our make-up like Doris Day or Lucille Ball, and the menu will include organic strawberries covered in Dolci Frutta chocolate dipping sauce…

At around this time last night I was sitting at my desk rereading a reply I had scrawled to my pen-pal, to be sent off when morning light hit. I set down the paper, leaned back in my chair and yawned. I don’t know what it is, but when it comes to yawning, my impulse is to at least bravely attempt to yawn like a lady, even when I’m alone. I glanced down and noticed the beam of my floor lamp hitting the cover of Football for Dummies. I rented the darn book so I could try to speak Josh’s language a bit better when I see him next. I smiled to myself out of the absurdity of it all and picked up the book, and, as always when it comes to subjects I know nothing about, I felt an annoying, stubborn resolve clench into existence that I would one day understand every angle of this which I do not know. This subject I cannot yet understand. This sport that has enraptured the hearts of many. Football, and all that it stands for. And then I remembered I still had all the other sports known to man to go, and I chuckled.

You’re not a sports person? He asked me once.

No, but mark my words I will be one day. I responded.

And I meant it, too.

A new part of me has become resolved to become something of an extraordinary person, because the more I find out about him, the more extraordinary I realize he is. It seems only fitting.

I flipped open to the first page, profiling the author with every paragraph. I didn’t like the fellow, he seemed a tad full of it. I flipped the book shut and set it down when my attention began to wander and sleep started to set in. But I didn’t go to sleep. I just sat there, and went over a favorite memory or two. I thought about how this room will just be a memory one day, when I’m in college, actively pursuing life for the first time on my own. I thought of how beautiful Heather’s wedding will be, how crazy it’s going to be when she’s pregnant! My best friend of five years, I feel like we grew up together, like we were just little kids when we first met. We’ve had some adventures the past few years, I can’t imagine both of us living…gulp…adult lives. I can’t imagine me and Heather being adults – I don’t think we’ll ever be grown up when we hang out. We give each other permission to be dumb and whiny and ranty and cheesy, something no one else in our lives fully, completely and entirely allows us to do. I hope I don’t forget that I won’t be seventeen forever, or eighteen, or nineteen. Especially since the day that I wake up and there’s a two in front of my age will come up faster than I’ll ever be ready for. Twenty?? It sounds so…young. Like I’ll be just a kid. And yet so old, because it seems so far away.

Age scares me, because there is so much life ahead of me if I avoid walking into the street without looking both ways. My entire life is right there, outside my front door every morning, all of the possibilities out there, in this giant world with trillions of interesting people I can meet. I want to do things that are defining, and build a reputation for doing the unusual.

I suppose I’m trying to become the sort of person that isn’t afraid of asking stupid questions.

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

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Call Me Crazy (Or, Just Call Me.)

This would be day four. Day four of being awake past three in the morning. Being awake past three because I can’t stop thinking about Josh.

I know what I need to do, I’ve been fantastically logical in my actions about the whole thing. I’ve left him alone and have decided to wait patiently until late May when I’ll see him again. I’m not a patient person, I never have been (and if I’ve ever claimed to be, I was flat-out lying,) but I’m perfectly content to be patient in this case, and restrain the constant impulse to send him a text-message every hour.

I was so restless tonight that around midnight I found myself pacing my room (my room that I had just spent an hour rearranging because of said restlessness) just thinking about him. About his voice, his face, his walk, his stare. Dozens of books from various stores and libraries lay scattered across my floor, leaving to the imagination any range of scenarios that could have led the area into a state such as this. As I walked I scooped down by one of my windows and picked up The Psychopathology of Everyday Life by Freud, I flipped it open and read a few sentences as I paced. I reread the words when I realized that I couldn’t understand any of them – not that they were no longer legible to me, it was simply that I couldn’t sink my teeth into any of them, wrap my head around the phrases, make sense of a single concept. They were just words. Just black against white. Nothing more. I tossed the book aside, making my cat jump upon hearing the slap of one book cover against another. The feline looked up with murder in her eyes for a moment before returning to her nap. I picked up another book, which ended up being French Essentials for Dummies, I didn’t even bother opening it before tossing it away, much to the fury of Abby Num-Nums. My mind sent me into a flashback, Christmas Eve, as I was snipping away behind my register (using receipt paper to make snowflakes) I saw him watching me with a tired, contemplative expression in my peripheral. I looked up and smiled, waving with the scissors still poised in my right hand. He nodded and smiled back. I thought to myself how he must like me, and went back to focusing on my task.

Just when I think I’ve pulled my mind away from a memory, I’m sucked back in. And there comes a point every half hour where I ask myself if I can make it four months without doing something downright stupid.

A lot can happen in four months. I remind myself. You might just find someone else. Then I see his face in my mind and I drop the idea. I’ve never felt this way about a guy before.

I’ve been turning over every single moment I spent with Josh, like a part of me is looking for some deeper meaning, a hidden message, something in his facial expressions I missed. Maybe a moment I couldn’t remember previously, like when you switch to Monk when you see it on the TV guide late at night and discover with an understandable dose of joy that it’s an episode you’ve somehow never seen before. But I run the idea around only to find myself right where I started. I’ve seen this episode before. Darn.

All of this to say, simply: I miss him.

But suppose he made it clear from day one that he felt the same. Suppose he were to call me now at three in the morning and say he cares about me. Suppose I’m out and about tomorrow and he walks right up and says he stopped into town just to see me. What could I do? I couldn’t do anything, because I don’t even have a silly license. We couldn’t date anyway because until I’m 18 all gentlemen must get 100% approval from Mother Madame (and I tell you now, this is not possible. So far my relationships have just happened suddenly and somehow end up private the entire time. They also all end up distant and 90% of communication is done through a digital medium.) By the time I am 18 (July 6th) Summer will be about over and I’ll be off to college, and then what? There doesn’t seem to be a window of time where it would work out. And that’s assuming he’ll still fancy me by July.

This, dear friends, is the point in time where my mind gives me the most radical idea, just to see how it seems to fit. The idea being that tomorrow I just call and say the following:

“Hello Sir, just wanted to let you know that I’m crazy about you, and that I haven’t slept in about a week because I’ve been up pacing and thinking about you. How I think it’s funny when you get annoyed, how I love the sound of your voice, how I love how you treat your family, how you know what you want out of life, how I loved the way you’d lean back against the register with your arms crossed and your head slightly tilted when you were tired, your eyes seemed softer when you were tired. I just wanted you to know all of that because, see, I miss you more than I’ve ever missed anybody in my life, and I can’t very well imagine anyone who could deserve you. Except (if I’m being honest,) me. I think this is just something you should know, because you make me happy, and I know I’ve made you happy once or twice. I suppose I hope this is a bit of a shock, a pleasant surprise, actually. Have a good afternoon.”

A radical idea indeed, but it felt nice to put all of that in writing.

Goodnight,

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

Minding My Own Mind

I messed up last night.

Longtime readers will recall that I used to have an eating disorder – bulimia. And anyone who has ever had an eating disorder will tell you the same thing I’m telling you here, that it is impossible to be ‘cured’. Everyone has relapses. It’s addictive when you see results.

I was so sure I was okay, I was so certain. I know I’m pretty now, I know there isn’t anything wrong with my appearance, I don’t feel out of control of my life, the thoughts don’t attack me like they used to. I was alright.

But last night I felt a cloud over me. I needed to write something, I could feel it, but I didn’t want to turn to WordPress and risk publishing something foolish, so I went to my Gmail status instead:

I never felt ready to be 17 – I never felt ready to be 16. I sincerely wish I could be forever young. Tonight I feel my future looking me in the face, with none of my friends nearby or even on the phone, and I can say I feel afraid. How poetic it would be if I could say I’m going to be brave, but at the moment, I am content to be a scared child. Hiding from the world, from my future.

I felt like I would never be ready for medical school – how could I ever be? I’m not brilliant, I’m not competitive, I’ll just be eaten alive. Maybe I could become a private investigator or a journalist. Something fun involving travel like that. I wouldn’t be able to make it all of those years anyway – I’m too impatient to start my career. Oh no! My mother – my grandparents! My friends – my teachers! They’re all expecting me to go through with it. And I’m an idiot when it comes down to it. Horrid at math and physics and chemistry and french. I just know a boatload of medical jargon and psychobabble. I have no place out there in the real world. I’ll crack. I’ll do it to try to make them proud but I’ll just have to snap in the process.

I suddenly went into panic mode and started pacing my room. The most solid part of my consciousness knowing I would always want to be a forensic psychiatrist, but my faith in my own ability to reach that point had vanished completely, the mere idea now a phantom to my vision of the future.

I caught my reflection from my peripheral and looked over to my five-foot vanity mirror. The least you could do is work harder on your looks. Goodness how strong my cheekbones suddenly were. Oh, gosh, my eyes were so soft – they always look sad, even when I smile. My lips are an odd shape, like a tented cupid’s bow. Why didn’t I do anything with my hair? How can anyone stand to look at me? Who would anyone want to date someone like me? An idiot with no looks. No future.

I felt I had to do something.

In a single state of mind I left my room and, after turning on the faucet to make sure I wouldn’t be heard, I made myself throw up.

After I washed up and brushed my teeth (the usual routine), I felt like I desperately wanted to talk to someone. I wanted to go somewhere and cry and talk – ramble, really. My mind was spinning and I needed someone to state the obvious and calm me down. I wanted someone to talk me down from the frenzy going on in my mind.

I didn’t know how to remedy the feeling of idiocy, I felt that the only way to cure myself of the feeling was to start reading. A lot. Start filling my mind with words. Any words.

I grabbed three books – one containing science essays, one on art history, and a book I’m renting from the library on the history of Baylor University. I sat at my desk and just read for a while. A nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me how useless it was. How hopeless it was. I should know every ounce of this information already. It was too late. Much, much too late.

I made a mistake, didn’t I? I silently asked the empty air. I thought of how automatic it had been. Why did I do it? I don’t need to do that sort of thing. I realized I was hugging myself, hunched over my desk as I read each page. I thought of how I wanted someone to hug me and tell me that, yes, I made a mistake, but it was okay, because everyone loses themselves every now and again. It was just me coping with high stress in a familiar way. A way I haven’t turned to in over a year.

This is all horribly humiliating for me to admit. I’ve always been honest on my blog, but some posts are more painful to write than others. I can’t tell any of this to my closest friends or my mother. I’m too embarrassed.

The date of my graduation is coming up faster and faster, it seems. And I feel as though this fact has made me extremely driven, the first thing on my mind when I wake up is the need to devour information. To know as much as possible. To become brilliant. I need to be brilliant. And I can feel with a profound certainty how little I know about anything at all in the universe. There is so much to know, so much to learn, so much to do.

In a bizarre way I love that this pressure exists – the need to never stop seeking out what I don’t know, but I feel an emptiness, like someone in my life is missing. Like I don’t belong here, in this room. Like my feet are caught in cement, like I should be further along in my life. I said goodbye to my childhood a while ago – being around Josh was a wonderful, much-needed therapy for me, but I have doubts of ever seeing him again. I thought I would be happy with the knowledge that he’s in my life, that I would be simple enough that I could accept that we won’t be together, but I can’t be simple regarding this. When I consider looking for someone else, everyone looks so dim in comparison. I meant it when I said that I think it would be nice to have someone to admire and tolerate. And while I know a couple of you think I’m being silly for wanting to show affection for only one guy, I can’t imagine being happy showing affection for multiple gentlemen. I know I’m young and it doesn’t make sense to even many of my friends, but that is what I’ve always wanted.

It is now one in the morning. Logic insists that I wait until daylight, when I will no doubt be in an entirely different state of mind and will decide against publishing all of this. But I feel at though erasing this post from existence would be lying.

This blog is a journal. I can always look back on the past nine or so months, and see my life. I can know I am always honest. I can know that I trust all of you enough to share this with you, and I can trust you to tell me the truth.

Sometimes I wish that I wrote posts like many other bloggers. Browsing recent posts from dozens of bloggers everyday, I see themed posts with bits of humor spread throughout, amusing photographs and witty quotes. Perhaps I would get more readers if my posts were more light-hearted and general. But then, I suppose, the purpose of The Last Classic has never been to entertain. It was created for purely selfish reasons.

I can’t imagine what all of you must think of me by now. I truthfully feel as though I should delete this post and never look back. But I can’t seem to make myself get rid of it.

Until I Write Again,

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

Dear Friends,

I suppose I shouldn’t write anything tonight.

I’ve decided this wholeheartedly. After last night’s incredibly ridiculous post, I understand that I simply should not write after 8PM, and certainly not at two in the morning. No, no I won’t write tonight. I ramble too much, I rant too thoroughly, I assume and poke and prod at the dead animal of ideas that I write about, I then ramble about the poking and prodding once I realize what I am doing.

Chain my netbook to my desk, keep the darn thing shut with superglue and cement, and perhaps a layer of spirit gum for good measure. Build an alarm system so that I won’t wander near it. Hide my notebooks and pens (you don’t have to worry about the pencils, I dislike writing with pencils so I won’t touch them if you leave them out in the open.) Hide my eyeliner and lipstick, lest the notion strikes for me to scribble on a nearby mirror or wall or window or lampshade. I cannot write tonight, and if I consider it, then those of you who call me your friend must take certain measures, identical to the ones just described. If you fail, then you must attack my words postmortem via hacking methods.

In any case, I must be kept from publishing a single word, because I can assure you it will be of the most foolish and idiotic tones. The most ignorant monologues. The most childish phrasing.

Goodnight,

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

The Pursuit Of Joy

“What are you laughing at?” Josh asked.

“Nothing!” I chuckled, “It’s not funny.”

“You’re laughing at me again, aren’t you?”

“No,” I lied, “I promise.” I attempted a serious expression but quickly gave up. We were at the registers last night. It was Josh’s last day and I wasn’t scheduled to work, but when a manager called me and asked if I could come in to help out, I jumped at the chance. Conveniently enough, I was able to work the same hours as Josh.

He leaned against his counter and I watched him for a moment before speaking, “By the way,” I said, “I’m sorry if I seem like a stalker.”

He looked at me with large brown eyes, “Why would I think you’re a stalker?”

I looked at the floor, “Because I only came into work today to see you.”

“No, not at all,” he assured me, “It’s…cute.”

I felt a jolt of energy and smiled as I put away some coupons into my media bag, “Thank you.” I said cheerfully. He chuckled and watched me for a few moments before speaking, “You’re probably just thinking ‘I have better things to do with my day than stand next to this kid for five hours’.”

I was about to reply when a customer approached his register.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I still like Josh – much more than I used to. On Sunday, our scheduled last day of working together, he was on the registers and I was placed putting away clothing from the Misses fitting rooms. I saw him walk into the sports clothing to put away some loose items and, after looking left, then right for a manager and finding the area clear, I ran over to where he was. One of my heels caught on a clothing rack and I almost fell, but caught myself, hopping the rest of the distance. He looked at me with a mix of perplexity and amusement.

“So,” I said, catching my breath, “Since this is our last day working together, you need my number.” I handed him the folded up piece of paper.

He chuckled, “Alright.”

I looked around me, “Okay – I’m leaving before Brad gets back!” I ran back to Misses and heard him laughing, the large amount of clothing I was gripping in my left hand made for an ungraceful getaway. As soon as I was back in the dressing rooms I started pacing and nearly squealing with excitement like a bubble-headed little girl, I had been waiting for four hours to do that, fearing the entire time that I wouldn’t get a chance before he was long gone.

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Eight at night, the store was practically empty. I looked at my screen at the register and noted the time, Josh and I were the only ones left on the East side and it was time for him to go home. I turned and saw with surprise and a notable dose of disappointment that he had left his register. I stared at the empty space where he was just a minute ago and easily imagined him there still. I had always said goodbye to him when I had the chance, and had come to hope he would start doing the same. I just gazed at the empty register for a bit when I saw movement from my peripheral, I realized he must have parked with everyone else on this side of the building. I stood up straight and felt a smile appear on my face.

“I’m heading out.” He said. Instead of going directly out of the doors, he cut into the middle of the row of registers and walked towards me.

“You remember the rule, right?” I said, (It’s a general rule that no one leaves without hugging me.)

He smiled and hugged me, I had to stand on my tip-toes. Then I smiled at him, he smiled at me and started walking towards the Juniors area to get a picture of a dress for his sister (his family had come into the store earlier that day.)

“You’re a good brother.” I called over as a customer approached my register.

“I am a good brother.” He agreed as he stood semi-awkwardly to photograph the dress.

I realized what a rollercoaster of emotions the night had been – the more fond I become of Josh the more difficult it is to read him. Positive signals followed by potentially negative ones, neutral to positive (or was it negative?? Dag flabbit, which microexpression was that?!) Eventually it became a blur that could lean one way or another, depending if I specifically sought out the positive or negative body language messages. He did repeatedly imitate my body posture and vocal tone, very good signs, at least. But overall the fact that he hugged me was enough for the night to end on a high note.

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

I walked into the break room and, being several minutes early, decided to see if Josh was on the schedule for that day. I didn’t see his name on the walk sheet so I grabbed the binder for this week and next week’s schedule and looked for his name

Jacklyn, Joseph…Kennedy?

I blinked rapidly for a moment and looked through the list again, realizing that he was no longer listed. Was last night his last day? Why didn’t he tell me? How can I get into contact with him? Simple – I can’t. My heart fell and I felt drained of energy.

After clocking in I walked to the register beside Cali (one of my best work friends, and one of the only other 17 year-old associates) and immediately asked, “Do you know if Josh had his last day already?”

She looked over, her expression changing to light concern when she saw my face, “I haven’t worked with him for over a week so I’m not sure. Why, were you two close?”

“Yes. And I checked the schedule and his name isn’t on it for this week.” My stomach churned as I said the words out loud. I knew I was being a child – I told myself repeatedly that I was being juvenile, reacting this strongly to a guy, but the ill feeling remained, like I was bruised and drained. Logic isn’t logical when one is faced with the emotional.

“Were you two just friends?”

“There was at least a hint of something more,” I said more to myself than to her, I was suddenly doubting my people-reading skills, “I thought he would tell me if it was his last day.”

We turned over the facts for a bit and she assured me that there must just be a misunderstanding with the schedules. I felt a bit better, but I wasn’t convinced of anything.

Later on when I went on my break I saw Cali sitting at one of the tables and I noted a binder next to her – it was a different color than the one I had looked at earlier, and I remembered that they had just bought new schedule binders because the old ones had been falling apart. I had been looking at the wrong schedule…

I was looking at the wrong schedule?!?!

Never before have I ever come so close to tackling an inanimate object.

I grabbed a chair and flipped open the shedule.

Jacklyn, Joseph, Joshua

He was working the same hours as me on Sunday, the last day, I realized, that we would be working together.

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

I arrived several hours early to work so I could talk to Josh, I wore an oversized coat and gloves against the cold, my messenger bag hanging on my right shoulder. As I stepped inside I scanned the North Side registers for him, coming up empty. I took off my gloves and stuffed them into my bag. As I turned the corner I saw him carrying several pairs of jeans on hangers in his left hand. He looked at me and called over, “Hey!”

Impulsively I ran over and hugged him, “Hello!” I said. He chuckled and we spoke for a bit on what we did for New Years. I let him be to put away the jeans and walked over to the East side registers, where Cali stood. She looked up and mentioned she had just seen him walking towards the North. I excitedly told her that I saw him when I was on my way to the East. After believing the night before that I wouldn’t see him again, I wanted to throw out a window the idea that I don’t want to date him. The idea was suddenly entirely absurd.  At least we’re in contact now, and I realized when I was talking to Cali that even if we aren’t dating, I simply want to be around him. I don’t know how long any of this will last, but I am happy while it does.

‘Happy’ has become such a key word as of late, and I come to the realization now that deciding on something to be happy about each morning for my ‘happiness experiment’ has shifted into its own form. Now the words ‘thing to be happy about today’ don’t arrive consciously in my mind when I wake up, now I see faces, I have flashbacks, I remember a voice or an emotion, and that becomes my focus for the day, my ‘thing to be happy about’. On the 1st I thought of Josh, and the second, and today. And I’m not certain how many more days it will be him, but something I have learned from my experiment, is that it is not happiness that should be pursued, it is joy. Joy is the quiet contentment when things take a wrong turn in life, the quiet happiness, the moment of peace when we find a way to accept when something is less than we expect. I haven’t had as difficult a life as many people, and perhaps the relatively smooth road is the calm before the storm so I can be prepared for difficulty, but I truly feel as though I have learned how to have joy. No emotion or even quiet contentment will remain constant our entire lives – such as was the case when I believed I would not see Josh again, but at least I am aware of the presence of the negativity enough that my impulsivity and sensitivity will not get the better of me in the moments when I need to be more aware of my environment than my own stream of consciousness. By necessity we are selfish, but for some it’s by choice we are aware of our selfishness. What we decide to do with the information forms our character, and builds upon our reputation.

Happy New Year,

-Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic