Lately on this blog, I’ve been sharing the inside of my earliest sketchbooks. (If you missed the first part of this series, you can find it here.) All throughout high school and college, I journaled through art. I loved the idea that others could read my journal without ever fully knowing all of the clues I had hidden inside. I loved the idea that scribbles and colors could record my memories better than words. This is my first journal entry about a boy.
It was a Saturday night. The year was 2009. I was a high school kid who had recently joined a church youth group. Josh, THE Josh of the “one time at camp we had a moment” incident was a worship leader at the youth group.
One night, he came over to me, and said, “Someone told me you can sing.”
My insides immediately flipped over. My best friend had ratted me out. He wanted female voices on the worship team, and she had given him my name. “I’m not really a good singer,” I told him. I was shy. I was new to the youth group. I didn’t want to bring attention to myself.
“Well you can at least play piano,” he said.
“I play a little,” I admitted. “But I’m not that great,” I told him, my cheeks burning.
“I’ve heard you before. At camp,” he said.
I froze. “You remember that?” I couldn’t hide my shock.
“How could I forget? It was really beautiful,” he said. My heart dropped. Josh, the beautiful boy from summer camp, remembered me playing the piano? From years ago? Again, he asked me to sing. “Sing anything,” he said. “I need more girl voices on our worship team.”
I was so taken aback that I agreed to sing something for him. I stumbled my way through the first song I could remember—Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton.
Just a day, just an, ordinary day
Just tryin' to get by
Just a boy, just an, ordinary boy but
He was looking to the sky….
I couldn’t look at him until the song was over. When I finally glanced his way, he was staring at me. And then, he smiled. A huge smile. His blue eyes glowed with excitement. He leaned close and told me I did a great job. I could smell his cologne. I could sense his genuine excitement and kindness. He oozed with unintentional charisma. He wasn’t joking—he actually thought I was talented.
That night he texted my best friend and said, “Tell Kyle I can’t get that song out of my head.”
I couldn’t get him out of my head. I painted about him in my sketchbook. I drew a scribbly piano with dark ink. I layered bits of colored paper I had found – orange, yellow, scarlet. What does infatuation look like? I wanted it all on the page. I wrote, “& then- I let go. And the look on your face was priceless… There was no going back. There was no return. As hard as I tried to regret the choice I had made… I could not. Because we were left speechless and we both knew things were about to change.”
I secretly colored in some of the letters on the page to spell out “He smiled.” Good Lord, he had really smiled.