Following are three journal entries as I imagined Landon, the protagonist from Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember, would have written them. Through them, I tried to represent Landon’s inner conflict: his indecision, his turmoil, and most of all, his desperate bewilderment as his life was changed forever. Though the book was written in first person, I tried to delve a little deeper into Landon’s thoughts and focus a little more his heart because I didn’t have to follow the boundaries of the ongoing plot as the author probably did as he was writing the book. Because it was written in first person, I few of the things that Landon writes in his journal are actually stated in the book, and are referenced with a number and the page they were on at the end.
January 5, 1959
She’s dying. Jamie. Jamie, my Jamie, is dying.
She can’t be. She’s too young to die. We’re all too young to die.
The worst part? When she told me, it made sense. In the worst way, I understood. It made sense, suddenly. Why she had wanted this Christmas at the orphanage to be the best one ever. Why she didn’t plan to go to college. Why she’d given me her Bible. It all made perfect sense, yet it made no sense at all.1 Because I couldn’t understand it. Jamie was dying. Is dying.
She had leukemia. She’d known it since last summer, and she had stopped responding to treatments. Leukemia. A cruel disease, that killed from the inside out, that broke your strength and drained you of hope before it killed you. While everyone that loved you watched.
I take back what I said earlier. The worst part isn’t understanding, it’s having to watch Jamie die, and being unable to do anything but that – watch. It’s having to stand from the side and watching her own body kill her.
We were on the street when she told me. It was cold, and she was cold, so pale in the bare light of the streetlamps. We cried together on the street for a long time. There was an older couple walking by, braced against the wind, holding hands, and all I could think about was how we that would never be Jamie and me. We would never walk hand in hand with graying hair on our heads, we would never sit on the porch and rock back and forth in the summer air, we would never walk through the woods as the leaves started to change colors. We would never do a thousand things, because she wouldn’t live that long. The doctors gave her a year. She had stopped responding to treatments, and they couldn’t do anything more.
Only a miracle could save her.2
January 27, 1959
Every once in a while, a traveling preacher would set up a tent in Beaufort and people would come to watch as he healed people. Once, one of them even made our deaf baker, Old Man Sweeney, hear again.
So yesterday, I began to pray for a miracle.
They were supposed to happen all the time. Every chapter of the Bible has the Lord doing a spectacular something or the other. So I opened up the Bible Jamie gave me, too. I don’t know what I was looking for. Answers, maybe. A way to get a miracle.
I ask her every day if there’s something I can do to help, knowing that there isn’t. Maybe one day I’ll go to medical school and stumble across the cure to leukemia, but it’ll be too late for her. What else can I do? I know she’s afraid. I am, too. I know she’s in pain. I would take the pain for her, if I could. But I can’t. All I can do when I look at her is think about the day when I won’t be able to. So I spend all my time at school thinking about her, wishing I could see her right then, but when I go to her house, I don’t know what to say.
We started reading the Bible together. It somehow seemed like the right thing to do, but my heart was nonetheless telling me that there still might be something more. At night I lay awake, thinking about it.3
April 17, 1999
I remember when it struck me, the answer to all my nights of restless tossing. Not a miracle, but an answer.
I knew what more I could do.
Hegbert was shocked. They all were, and I guess they had a reason to be. They all tried to talk me out of it, thinking that I was only doing it for Jamie, especially when she said yes. What they didn’t understand, and I had to make clear to them, was that I needed to do it for me. I was in love with her, so deeply that I didn’t care if she was sick. I didn’t care that we wouldn’t have long together. None of those things mattered to me. All I cared about was doing something that my heart had told me was the right thing to do. In my mind, it was the first time God had ever spoke directly to me, and I knew with certainty that I wasn’t going to disobey.4
She told me once, before I knew she was sick, that what she wanted to get married. And that, I could give her.
We were married on March 12, 1959. Jamie insisted on walking down the isle, though she had been in bed for weeks. When I asked her about it, she said, “It’s very important to me, Landon. It’s part of my dream, remember?”
Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder at her faith.
I held my breath as, with all the strength she had left, stood up shakily, and then somehow found more to take her first step. I don’t think anyone was breathing then. They could only sit silently in wonder. In times and places such as these, there was no time for something as insignificant as drawing breath.
In what seemed both like forever and the blink of an eye, she reached my side. There were bumps along the way, hesitations and stumbles when I didn’t think she had the strength to go on. But she always did. It was, I remembered thinking, the most difficult walk anyone ever had to make.
In every way, a walk to remember.5
- “Why she had wanted…no sense at all” Pg. 192
- “Only a…save her” Pg. 195
- “All I can do…thinking about it” Pg. 203-204
- “What they didn’t…disobey” Pg. 233-234
- “It was…remember” Pg. 237