[Lately on this blog, I’ve been sharing the inside of my earliest sketchbooks. All throughout high school and college, I journaled through art. A lot of those sketchbooks were filled with stories about a boy. One boy in particular. You can start from the beginning of the story here.]
So if you've read the beginning of this series, you've now heard how I met The Cool Boy At Youth Group. (I know, I know, it’s sort of oxymoronic. Youth group kids are, by definition, not cool.) But I'm telling you, if anyone at a youth group has ever been cool, it’s probably Josh Sommer. The girls loved him. High school girls, college girls—even the boys made jokes about wanting to marry him.
My interactions with him were limited. For one hour every Wednesday, Josh led the worship team practice at youth group. I played piano and sang. He played acoustic guitar and sang. There were always other kids involved, but they're not in this story. Every time I had to sing, his blue eyes would look into mine and for a moment I would hold the attention of the most beautiful boy in the room. There was something in that gaze that told me he understood me. Or maybe he was just really good at eye contact. I wasn't sure.
Over the next months, he patiently teased out confidence from a shy girl in navy Converse low-tops. He would ask me questions about who I was, and my story of faith. He encouraged me to sing and play piano despite my lack of confidence. He wanted to hear my nerdy classical music. He asked questions about my artwork, my obsession with homework, and my love for books.
I tried not to get involved emotionally. He was nice. Lots of people liked him. I was basically irrelevant. But the truth slowly seeped into my journal. One day, I tried to scribble about school or scripture or who knows what. I was distracted. The page was ugly. Absolutely terrible.
I took my paintbrush, loaded it up with water, and intentionally scrubbed off as much of the paint as I could. I started putting blobs of purple and blue. I've always felt in purples and blues. I wanted to write stuff about Josh. I wanted some kind of shared experience to journal about. Truthfully, we had almost none. I wondered if he knew that I liked him. I wrote,