Panel 100 September 1, Tuesday.

Hell, I feel depressed. Goddam. It just got done raining like hell outside and now it's darker than hell. I haven't talked to Jane yet today. I feel uneasy about delivering the present. I know I'll feel awkward and like a dumbass walking in there with the package and card. And another thing - I'm not even sure Mom will let me go over. I've been out every night for the past four or five days and about 75% of the time with Jane and Mom's getting pissed off. Actually I think she'd let me go if I said that I have to take the present over, which is true, but she probably wouldn't let me stay, and I'd feel like a real dumbass: Hello, Jane, Here's your present, Happy Birthday, Good-bye. Shit. And another thing that makes me feel lousy. Don Coe was telling me about the dance at the State Fair last night (he went down for about an hour) and he said all the Alum Falls girls were messing around with the guys from Bexley. And Jane was going around the whole evening with some tall, real tanned, skinny-legged kid. Oh hell, that makes me feel lousy. I suppose I'd better call Jane now and see if I can come over tonight. First I better ask Mom if I can. Oh, hell.

I asked Mom and she said I could. I called Jane after supper. I got invited down for cake and ice cream. It was drizzling and the scrapbook was heavy. I went into the house holding the package at my side where Jane, who was lying in front of the TV, couldn't see it when she turned around to say hi. I stood there wiping my feet on the rug until she looked back at the television and then I walked over to her and stuck it in her face. I felt kinda stupid. She opened it, said, oh, how nice it is, and thank you, and all that shit. Old man Carber got a big kick out of the card. We watched TV all evening except for a little while when we ate.

Figured out a new little caress while we were lying there in front of the television. See, we have been just doing the standard things along that line - you know, stroking each other's arm or hand or fingers or something; nothing intimate or anything. But, of course, there isn't much you can do like that without going too far. Anyhow, while we were lying there, somehow my hand got up near her cheek and she'd hold my hand up to her cheek and I'd kind of rub my knuckles along it real nice and smooth and easy. It was kind of nice all right, but still, as usual, it gave me the creeps to do it right in front of her mom and dad and grandmother and grandfather and little sister and little brother and all.

When I left, out on the front porch, I kissed her goodnight and it was just as cool as before but before I did it I felt that old feeling coming up that I thought I had lost. I felt like a goddam chicken. Jesus Shit Christ!!! I went ahead anyhow, of course, and a damn good thing I did too. I felt so fucking good on the way home. I wish I could get ahold of that beautiful baby down in her basement alone on the couch. Oh man.