Reggie's Journal
Entry #4
It’s Saturday morning and I’m waiting for Cory to come by. He asked me after 4th
period yesterday if I wanted to go with him, James and Elizabeth to the mall. He’s
already 16 and he says his mother lets him borrow her car sometimes. Anyway, the
mall is having some kind of a sidewalk sale and they want to see if they can find
some clothes for school. Cory wants to try and find a new pair of basketball shoes. I
don’t know why, though. He doesn’t participate in any team sports for our school.

I couldn’t believe it when I asked Mom if I could go and she readily agreed. She even
gave me $100 to spend on some new clothes if I found something I like. I don’t get
a weekly allowance. Dad just asks me on Monday how I’m doing on money. Usually,
I don’t need anything because I never go any where. If I did spend some money the
week before, then he’ll open up his wallet and hand me whatever he has in it.
Usually, it’s about $50 or $60. That lasts me for two or three weeks. The only
money I spend is for a soft drink after school. I don’t need money for lunch because
my parents buy me a lunch card each semester which pays for my meals.

So I’m sitting in my room waiting for Cory to arrive. I keep looking out the window
to see when he pulls up. If I’m lucky, I can make it downstairs and out to his car
before  he gets out and comes in to get me. If he does, Mom will corner him for a
half hour. I don’t have too many friends, so when one does come by, she goes out
of her way to make them feel welcomed. If I don’t make it downstairs in time, she’ll
have him sitting at the table with a glass of milk and some cookies.

Yesterday, Mr. Byrd gave me this weird look when I entered his class. I don’t think
he knows how to react to me now that he knows I’m gay. I have a feeling he’s
embarrassed because he read it in my journal. I don’t know why’s he’s so worried.
He told us when we started keeping it that we were to write down our feelings in it.
What did he expect us to write about? Today’s music? Although I’m sure that a few
of the girls probably fill their journals with fantasies about some singer. Hardly
anyone in our class dates, so they have to make up a bunch of stuff. I’d like to read
a few just to see who they do find sexy. I wonder if anyone has a crush on me?
LOL. I doubt that, especially now that they know I’m gay. Hmmm. I wonder if any
guy in my class has been thinking about me? I really really doubt that. I’m going to
have to watch the guys better. Maybe I’ll find a few to write about later. At least it
will give me something to write to fill up this stupid journal. Some days it’s difficult
to think of things to write. Like last night. I still can’t believe I wrote several pages
about doing IT. I even started laughing this morning when I was in the shower
and... Oops. TMI. Haha. I’m going to count TMI as three words.

Yesterday in history class, Mrs. Carter gave us an assignment I’m not looking
forward to doing. She wants us to participate in some kind of community service
activity. That’s all I need is more work to do. It’s enough to keep this journal. Now I
have to become involved in some activity that isn’t school related. It sounds like it
might be a lot of work. She said she will give us more information on Monday. She
just wanted us to give it some thought over the weekend about what we might like
to do.
                      HEY, MRS CARTER- I THINK THE IDEA SUCKS
                                  AND I DON’T WANT TO DO IT
How’s that for giving it some thought?

Beverly approached me again yesterday after 2nd period. Ever since she found out I
was gay she has made it her mission to help me. I sure hope she doesn’t want me
to be her community service charity case. I told her I was okay with it, but she
insists that I should talk to someone about it.  I know she means well, but I really
don’t need  anyone’s help right now. I think Monday I’ll wear a sign around my neck
that reads: I’m okay being gay. Maybe she’ll get the hint.

Okay, I’ve got to go. I just saw Cory pull up into the driveway. I gotta get
downstairs before he comes up to the house. I’ll write later about the trip to the
mall.

Okay, I’m back. It’s Sunday night and I’m taking a break from working on my
homework assignments for the past three hours. Let me write about what
happened yesterday at the mall. By the time I got downstairs, Mom had cornered
Cory in the kitchen and was talking to him. By coincidence, he has a younger sister
who is in my mother’s class. She’s also met Cory’s mother a few times. He looked
pleadingly at me when I entered the kitchen. After about five minutes, I was able to
pull him away.  

We picked James up first. He is a red head with a face full of freckles. He’s rather
small, and I don’t think puberty has taken a complete hit on his body yet. He has
hardly any body hair, and his voice gets squeaky when he gets excited. I sort of had
a crush on him in the eighth grade, but I don’t too much anymore.  He’s beginning
to show an interest in girls; but because of his immature features, most girls see
him as a little brother rather than boyfriend material. I’m sure, though, that in a few
years he’s going to be a rather handsome man.

When we pulled up in front of his house, he came running out. He stopped midway,
leapt into the air and tried to click his heels. Instead, he lost his balance and fell to
the ground. Cory and I were roaring with laughter when he got into the car. By
nature, he has a ruddy complexion, but it was even redder. He warned us to stop
laughing, but we couldn’t. Soon, he was laughing too.

We next headed over to Elizabeth’s house. I’ve been there on  several occasions for
parties. Elizabeth loves throwing parties and invites us to her house twice a year.
Once on her birthday in May, and again for a Christmas party. They are usually kind
of boring because, to be honest, my friends aren’t exactly party animals. We mostly
sit around and talk about school and teachers. Last year we played a game of
Twister until Richard accidentally put his face in  Sarah’s chest. Unfortunately,
Elizabeth’s mother walked in the room just as he did it and she made us stop the
game. I was looking forward to playing because James and I were going to be next.
I was hoping that we could get twisted into a few interesting positions. Elizabeth’s
mother came with her to the car and warned Cory to drive carefully. After assuring
her he would, we then proceeded to the mall.

Hold on a minute. Mom’s calling me downstairs. Okay, back. She was reading one of
her student’s papers, and in the margin a girl had written in pencil WTF. She then
smeared it when she tried to erase it. My face turned ten different shades of red
when she asked me if I knew what it meant. After giving her several clues, I finally
had to say the ‘F’ word.  Mom’s face turned red too. Then she got mad at me
because I knew what it meant! Can you believe it? I left when she said she was
going to call the girl’s parents and tell them about the foul words their third grader
was using.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah. The mall. We got there about 11:00 and walked around
for a while looking in windows. We went into this store called Victoria Secrets, but
left when the saleslady asked us what we were looking for. I think she called the mall
cops when Cory held up a black pair of panties and told her she’d look good in
them- over her head! Hehe. We spent the next half hour waiting to be arrested.

I really never noticed it before, but Cory is really cute. As we walked, our shoulders
would bump together. After a while, I was beginning to wonder if he was doing it
intentionally, or if it was because James was always on his other side. Elizabeth
usually walked ahead of us and decided what stores we should go into.

I think I mentioned that Cory is African American. He’s a year older than the rest of
us because he missed a year of school when his father was transferred to Venezuela
when he was in the second grade. His mother home schooled him, but they wouldn’t
count it for some reason. Anyway, his father is some big wheel with an oil company.
His father is African American and his mother is white. Cory ended up with a
beautiful caramel-colored complexion.  He’s taller than me, but we weigh about the
same. Besides having a younger sister, he also has an older brother. He’s a junior,
and I rarely see him and Cory talk at school.

I don’t know why I never looked at Cory before like I did today. It’s just when we
walked side by side, I kept looking over as he spoke. He has a cute dimple on his
left. Just his left, not the right. Weird. I had to stop staring at him, because I think
he noticed. We were in Spencer Gifts and he put on this funny jester’s hat. It was
multi-colored and had bells on the end. Anyway, he put it on and he looked really
cute. I couldn’t stop staring at him as he laughed. He gave me this really weird look,
took off the hat and walked away. I think I made him a little uncomfortable. I mean,
he knows I’m gay. Right? I just hope he didn’t think I was perving over him or
something.

I did realize something this afternoon. Even though my friends say they don’t mind
that I’m gay, they do. It’s like some big elephant in the room that everyone sees,
but no one wants to mention it. Once when we walked past a couple of cute girls
from our school, James made a comment to Cory about them. He turned to me to
ask me what I thought, but then he suddenly stopped. I mean, okay, I’m gay, but I
can still appreciate a pretty girl when I see one. Right?

And Elizabeth. God, she got on my nerves. I think her main goal with our trip to the
mall was to find me a boyfriend. Several times she elbowed me when a cute guy
would walk past. Then she’d ask me if I thought he might be gay. How would I
know? We
don’t exactly walk around holding up signs that say we’re gay.

By the time I got home, I came to some really big revelation. No matter how
accepting people say they are about gays and lesbians, they still see us as gays and
lesbians and nothing more. Now that I am somewhat out to my friends, I am no
longer Reggie Faulkner. I am  GAY Reggie Faulkner. Cory is just Cory. He isn't
Straight Cory; and James isn't Straight James. Elizabeth  isn’t, well, I’m not sure
what Elizabeth is. Sometimes I wonder if she isn’t gay herself and  she’s watching
people to see how everyone react to me. Maybe she wants to come out too. I’m not
sure. My point is, why do I have to be Gay Reggie? Can’t I just be Reggie once
again?
                
THERE ARE GOOD DAYS AND THERE ARE BAD DAYS,
                                  AND THIS IS ONE OF THEM.

It’s Monday morning, and I’m writing this in Mr. Byrd’s first period class. I think he’s
starting to act like Beverly. When I entered his class, he called me over to his desk
and asked me softly so know one could hear him if I was all right. He seemed kind of
embarrassed when I asked him sarcastically why shouldn’t I be all right. I guess it’s
that big elephant in the room again. He kind of apologized, but added if I needed
someone to talk to, I could always come by and talk to him. I nodded my head and
hurried to my seat. He gave us some time to work on our journals, so I just wanted
to mention it before I forget.
  
                        WHEN I’M NOT IN MY RIGHT MIND,
                       MY LEFT MIND GETS PRETTY CROWDED.

School can’t get any worse, can it? It’s Monday night and I’m on my bed reading
this handout Mrs. Carter gave us in class. You know, that community service thing.
She says it’s not her idea, but the school administrators are demanding that we do
it. The way she explained it, since we are all in a gifted class (her words, not mine)
and all of us will be inducted into the National Honor Society this Spring, then one of
the requirements is that we participate in some kind of community service. I think it
is a really stupid idea. I bust my butt off making good grades, and now they say it’s
not enough? Some of my classmates complained, but Mrs. Carter said it    wasn’t
her decision. Abe became really upset. I think he’s now trying to balance doing
homework during the week and date Sarah on the weekends. When he asked what
would happen if he didn’t do it, Mrs. Carter stood in front of him, folded her arms
and stared at him. He tried to return her stare, but he sunk into his seat and timidly
said he was sorry for being rude. I know others wanted to object, but after that
everyone was afraid to say anything. The rest of the day was spent complaining
about the assignment. It didn’t help when our afternoon teachers sided with Mrs.
Carson and said the experience would make us better individuals.
                   
OUT OF MY MIND, BACK IN FIVE MINUTES

Okay, I’m really back. I had to spend some ‘quality time’ with my parents. Anyway,
that’s what Mom calls it. She made me watch some documentary on global warming
on the PBS channel. She said I needed to be aware of it because it would be
something my generation would have to deal with. She didn’t think it was funny
when I said, “Geez, thanks Mom for messing up the earth and then expecting us to
solve it.” She went into the kitchen and made popcorn. Popcorn. I had to sit and
watch a boring documentary, eat popcorn and pretend I was having a good time.
Anyway, that’s quality time in the Faulkner house. I’d write more about it in this
journal, but I’d probably fall asleep.

So where was I? Okay. I had to reread some of this. I was telling you about the
community service thing we have to do. There I go again, pretending someone is
reading this. Haha.
                    HEY MR BYRD. IF YOUR OBJECTIVE WAS TO
                          MAKE ME NUTS- YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL

Okay, Reggie. Focus. The community service thing. The handout says we have to
perform at least 200 hours of community service before our induction in April. 60
hours! I don’t think I’ve ever spent 60 hours on anything in my life except
homework. I haven’t even spent 60 hours doing IT. Hehe. Well, maybe. Anyway, she
had this list of activities in which we can participate. Most of them sound really,  
really boring: organize a food drive to help out a food pantry; volunteer in a nursing
home, public library or homeless shelter; volunteer in an after school tutorial
program at an elementary school; become a volunteer worker for Habitat for
Humanity; volunteer to do office work at a non-profit organization. The list goes on
and on for a page and a half. But you get the idea, we have to spend a 60 hours
doing something nice to show that we care about others. I mean, I’m a nice person
already, right? I’ve never hurt anyone, and I try to be pleasant all the time. I know I
have my moods, but who doesn’t? But  it’s like keeping this stupid journal, I don’t
want to do it. I’m already falling behind in my assignments. The teachers keep piling
more and more work on us. Now Mrs. Carter wants to rob us of our limited time to
do service to others.
                       
THE FASTER I GO, THE BEHINDER I GET

There was one bright spot in all this. Elizabeth raised her hand and proudly
announced that she had already met the requirements because she’d been
volunteering the past year answering phones on Friday and Saturday nights at a
Teen Center. You should have seen the look on her face when Mrs. Carter told her
that past service would not count. We would have to submit in a week what we
want to do. Our community service hours would begin then. So I keep staring at
this paper and going over the options. She also said we could do something not on
the list as long as we clear it with her. I’ll give it some thought. Right now I’m tired
and going to bed.
          NOTICE: IF YOU HAVE NOTICED THIS NOTICE, YOU WILL
           NOTICE THAT THIS NOTICE IS NOT WORTH NOTICING.

It’s about 8 o’clock on Thursday night and I still have a ton of homework to
complete for tomorrow, and I have to fill up this stupid journal. I’ve only got a little
over 3000 words. I’m considering going back to the top of the page and recopy
what I’ve already written. I got that idea from James. He said he did it last week and
Mr. Byrd didn’t even notice. It’s cheating, but in desperate times we do desperate
things. Right?

I’m almost 16 and I’m already burned out. All I seem to do is go to school, do
homework and go to bed. Then the next day I do the same thing again. There’s got
to be more to life than this. Right? Is this all life has to offer? I watch Dad and Mom
and they are always working, even when they’re not in school. Dad’s in his office
working on his lectures or writing his book. Mom sits on the sofa and grades papers
and writes lesson plans. They never do anything fun. I think the last time we went
on a vacation was when I was 9. Even then, it was to Washington, D.C. so Dad
could do research for a paper he was writing. Mom took me around to some of the
monuments, but it was hot and boring. I didn’t have much fun.

I’ve been trying to decide what I want to do to meet all my community service
requirements. Elizabeth is trying to talk me into volunteering at the Teen Center
with her.  She’s already talked Caryn Stephens into doing it. She says we have to
attend a 10 hour training session. Mrs. Carter said that could count as part of our
60 hours. I’d have to volunteer Wednesdays and Saturday nights, but what else do
I have to do? It’s not like I’m busy attending football games and parties. She says
they have a program called Teen Talk. Elizabeth says she just sits around most of
the time and waits for the phone to ring. Most of the time, the calls are from young
girls who broke up with their boyfriends. She says I wouldn’t have to answer calls
like that.    I wouldn’t know what to say anyway. And since Elizabeth has never had
a boyfriend, I don’t know what kind of advice she can offer them. She says most of
the time they just want to complain about what kind of a rotten boyfriend they
have. Once they vent all their anger, they usually hang up.

I don’t know if I want to do it, though. I really haven’t had much experience. I keep
worrying that someone will call and say they want to commit suicide. I don’t know
what I would say to someone my age who actually wanted to die. I’d probably say
the wrong thing and then they would kill themselves. Then I’d have to live with that
the rest of my life. James is going to volunteer to work with Habitat for Humanity.
They build homes for people. His dad is a carpenter, so he already has some
experience working with him during the summer months. I would probably hit my
hand with a hammer when I try to drive a nail. I’d volunteer to work in the public
library, but it would seem like an extension of school. So I don’t know what I’ll do.   
I’ve got to decide soon because we have to complete this community service form
and turn it in.

I have to finish filling up this stupid thing and then do some chemistry homework.    
I’ll be lucky if I get in bed before 11 tonight. And I still have over 1300 words to
write. I’m going downstairs to get something to drink. Maybe I’ll have an idea when I
return. BRB.

Okay, I’m back. When I was pouring me some milk, I suddenly remembered I    
haven’t answered the prompt yet. I dug out my notebook and read it. Mr. Byrd
wants us to write about something we fear. That’s hard because I don’t really fear
anything. I’m not afraid of the dark or thunderstorms. In fact, I enjoy watching
storm clouds from my window and then watching the lightning bolts as they
brighten up the darkness. I used to be afraid of snakes until I took biology and we
had to handle one. I thought it would be all slimy feeling, but it actually felt kind of
neat as it slithered across my hands. So now I’m not even afraid of snakes. I’m
afraid of vicious dogs, but who isn’t. So I guess I’m going to have to think
abstractly. What does Reginald Kaylor Faulkner fear?

I guess most people would say growing old, but that doesn’t bother me. In fact, I
can’t wait to get older. Being a teenager isn’t all that great. Maybe it is for others,
but not me. It seems like    I’m caught in-between places. I guess that doesn’t make
sense, so let me try to explain. When I was little, things were simple. Mom and Dad
made all my decisions. And I know when I get older, I’ll make all my decisions. But
right now I’m in-between places. I’m too old to depend on Mom and Dad to decide
what I should do all the time. But at the same time, I still need their permission to
make my own decisions, and it still feels like they are making the decisions, but they
let me think  I’m making my own. It’s getting complicated. Right? So I’m caught in-
between places. Someday my life will be my own, and I can decide what I want to do.

So maybe that is what I fear most. What if I make the wrong decisions? What if I
make a wrong turn that really messes up my life? I already thought I did when I kind
of came out to some of my friends. So far things have been okay, but it has only
been a couple of weeks. What if my parents find out and disown me? That could
really be a wrong turn. I don’t think it will happen, but what if it did? What if Dad is
some closeted homophobe and kicks me out onto the street when he finds out?
Okay. I’m really getting scared, so I got to stop thinking like this. Dad is not a
homophobe. He will not kick me out of the house. But these are the kind of things
that I do fear. What if I spend my whole life doing something, and then realize that
what I did wasn’t fulfilling. bI have this dream that I really want to do something to
make a difference. I don’t know what it will be, but I want to do something that
people will remember that Reginald Kaylor Faulkner existed. What if I don’t
accomplish that? What if I’m lying on my death bed and suddenly realize that I
accomplished absolutely nothing with my life? I didn’t even make a slight dent in
making the world a better place to live. Dad and Mom are teachers. They are
teaching a future generation. They are advancing mankind.

I’ve got to stop thinking like this. I need something more concrete to be afraid of.
The future can be a pretty scary place, especially for a 15-year-old, soon to be 16.  
It’s a dark and ominous place, not like a dark and scary room. At least in a dark and
scary room, you can turn on a light and ease your fear. But you can’t turn on a light
to the future. I guess we light a match and walk a dim path toward an unknown
destination. And along the way, we can only hope that we take the right path and
make the right turns so that when we reach the end, we will be satisfied that the
journey was worth the venture. Because at the end, we will turn and see the trail we
took. And when we close our eyes for a final time, hopefully, there will be a smile on
our face. Whew. I just reread this last paragraph. I think I’m starting to think too
much.

Okay. I’m going to bed. I’m depressed. I still got 500 more words to go. I’ll try to
do it on the bus on the way to school.
              
YOU’RE SO STUPID THAT YOU ONCE STARED AT AN
         ORANGE JUICE CARTON BECAUSE IT SAID CONCENTRATE

It’s hard to write on the bus. We’re constantly stopping to pick up students, and
busses aren’t exactly designed for comfort. Besides, Elizabeth is sitting next to me
and I can tell she’s trying to read what  I’m writing. So if you’re reading this Mr.
Byrd, I’m sorry for the way it looks. Honest. Hold on. She’s peeking over again. I’m
going to move further to the back. Okay. Back. She’s giving me dirty looks now, and
she just pulled out her journal. I bet   she’s writing something about me. If I ever
get a chance to read it, I’m going to see what she said.

I didn’t get very much sleep last night. I kept tossing and turning in bed. I should
not have written what I did because it really upset me. I keep thinking, what if I was
really born a loser? What if I live my whole life and accomplish nothing? But then I
thought that perhaps I’m reaching too high. Simple, little things can sometimes be
big events, can’t they? I don’t have to be a scientist and solve global warming to
accomplish something, right? I mean, like a plumber goes to work everyday and
helps people solve a problem in someone’s home. That’s a small deed, but it was an
accomplishment. He maybe stopped a big leak that would have flooded someone’s
basement. And the waitress in a restaurant takes people’s orders and makes sure
that they enjoy their meal. She’s doing something good, right? I mean, they are
small things, but they add up over time. I’m thinking too big. That’s my problem. I
want to do something on a grand scale all at once. But maybe doing small things,
little by little is just as rewarding as solving the world’s big problems, right? So, I
have to give this a lot of thought. I have to decide what I want to do with my life
that will make me happy and be rewarding. Maybe I’ll be a teacher like Mom and
Dad. They seem happy, and I know they feel they’ve accomplished something
special. I can hear it in my mother’s voice when she talks about her students. She’s
proud to be a teacher, and I guess that is all that really matters in the end. So I
have to find that certain thing in my life that will make me look back someday and
say, I’m proud I did that. But I’m only 15, going on 16. This is something new, and I’
ve never really given it much thought. Maybe that is the reason Mr. Byrd is making
us do this. Maybe I’m not starting to hate it so much.

Okay, I just counted my words and I’m 100 short. So I have to make up some
stuff. I guess I could lie about it. Who would really know? Me, I guess. I could do it,
then I’d feel guilty about doing it and probably see Mr. Byrd after class and confess
my sins. LOL. He’d just smile and probably pat me on my back. I’m starting to really
like him. He seems to care about us. He’ll be one of the people who will look back at
their life and smile, knowing he did a good job. Maybe I will be a teacher. Who
knows. Hey! I did it. I got over 5000 words!
                           
TODAY IS THE TOMORROW THAT YOU
                                WORRIED ABOUT YESTERDAY.

                                                                                                                  
5084




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