The Lost Diaries of Shawn Kemp: Vol. 8


Buried deep in the Pacific Northwest, under Death Cab albums and Warren Moon jerseys, Ballerball was able to uncover a vast number of writings from Shawn Kemp’s old diary. These are his words.*


February 17, 1994

Her hair is everywhere, along with the darkness. It eases away from her with every restless turn she makes, like a red tide washing upon the sheets, white as Caribbean beaches.  Not ten minutes ago we laid in bed and I ran my hands through it. Who is this girl? Who is she really, Diary? I know her name is Jealay and she has red hair and hazel eyes and she likes Jodeci and she works at the Marriott downtown, but who is she?

My body betrays my heart. It cares only for itself. I am in an emotional and metaphorical ditch right now, Diary. I’m writing this by the light of a muted menu screen, this old Magnavox working hard to tell me about what movies are coming on HBO soon. I don’t want to wake her because I don’t feel like talking. Not out loud, anyway.

Practice has been bad lately. I’ve felt out of it. George has noticed. He pulled me into his office two days ago to ask me if something was wrong. I told him I was pressing, trying to do too much. That’s a lie. My mind is just elsewhere. I want love, Diary. Not this faux-conditional love that fans pour on your head until you make a turnover at the wrong time. I want the forever stuff. I want something downright cinematic.

George had looked at me like he knew it was something else but he didn’t press. He just told me he’d be right there if I needed anything. I need something. Problem is it’s everything. I want the whole world. I want the sun and the moon in my front shirt pocket and I want all the stars to be flung up on my ceiling. I want the wind to come when I call it and I want the night to last but for a few hours. Then I’ll pull that yellow ball out of my pocket and stick it back up in the sky.

I think I’m still drunk. I put away 11 Coors Lights in an awful short amount of time at the hotel bar — Keep em coming, Terry — and now I’m dizzy and peeing every fifteen minutes. It’s cold in this room, Diary. Why does the night have to last so long? Why must it get so quiet? It is no good for me to hear my own thoughts — all the worries and frustrations — for they only send me deeper into my mind, and that is a scary place. The walls are coming in on me and the air conditioner is letting out a squeak. I turn them into trumpets. Is this Jericho?

That girl, the one from two nights ago. The one I met the day after Valentine’s day. This cold and cruel world. She wore a red dress. Her hair was the color of cinnamon. I ran so fast after her. I stood there, my chest heaving, as the bus drove off. I’ll never know her name. I’ll never know what her dreams were. I’ll never know her favorite color or her favorite song or the way she likes her eggs made or what her fears are or what she thinks about Chariots of Fire. I’ll never get to lay with her. I’ll never get to feel her there in bed with me. How do you find a stranger?

I can’t wait
To feel your love again
Cause you can stop this pain
That I’ve been feeling
So let’s start all over
And put the past behind
And make a love to stand
To the test of time


An asterisk = a lie.

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