The Diary of Dakota Hammell

Dakota Hammell was an ordinary teenager until he ran away from home at the age of sixteen, but after being brutally beaten, raped and left for dead, there seems to be little hope in his life—that is, until a man claiming to be a psychologist walks into the alleyway he’s lying near-dead in and offers him a second chance at life. John tells Dakota he can stay with him as long as he wants, but there’s a catch: For each day he stays, he has to write a journal entry about his life, his problems, and his potential future. With little choice, Dakota agrees, but is wary of the situation, as past experience with strangers has shown to have negative effects. But when things with John begin to work out and life becomes nothing out of the ordinary, his heart finally begins to open and his journey can finally be told. A story of hope, of healing, and ultimately, of friendship, The Diary of Dakota Hammell offers a brief glimpse into a life of fractured teenager who has lost everything but his abili


6. Days 57 - 59

Day 57

I’m not sure what to say.

I woke up this morning without a whole lot on my mind. I got up, took a shower, brushed my teeth and walked into the kitchen expecting things to be normal, but when John looked at me with a huge grin on his face, I immediately knew something was up.

The first few words out of his mouth?

“Someone wants to publish your journal.”

I was floored instantly. Shock was the first emotion to take me over. Then anxiety quickly replaced it.

What? I’d asked, hardly able to believe what John had said.

“I have a friend in the publishing industry,” John had said, passing a paper across the table to show me. “I’ve been transcribing your journal so there’ll be more than one copy. I erased your name and showed it to him. He wants it.”

Wants it?

“For the world to see, Dakota. For the world to see.”

John said that I don’t have to use my real name in the journal. I’m not sure about that though. I guess that’ll be something I have to decide within the next few days. I could easily say no, that I don’t want anyone to know about what’s happened to me, especially not my dad, but if what John said is true—that I don’t really have to use my real name—then I guess that means it doesn’t matter, right?

This is making me nervous.

I should stop before I keep going.

Day 58

It’s two more days until the new year and I don’t have much to say. I obviously still have stuff on my mind, considering what all John has propositioned, but I haven’t really thought about it concretely. Publishing the journal is one of those fleeting thoughts that never really stay in my head for more than a few minutes at a time. I’m trying to think about this rationally. On one hand, someone may read it and get nothing out of it. They might even throw it away, thinking it’s complete fantasy. I mean, what kind of stranger would just let a homeless kid into their house and leave them there and expect them to not steal anything? Then again though, some might see it as what it really is—the truth: the pure, God-honest truth about a man who took a homeless kid in and nurtured him back to health.

If it’s under an alias, will it help people? I’ll never have to give an interview, I’ll never have to have my picture taken. Hell, I won’t even have to ever admit to writing the journal.

I still feel a bit weird about John sharing my personal journal with someone, but if he really did wipe my name from it, like he said, it’s not like anyone’s silently judging me from afar, right?

“It won’t be edited,” John had said. “Just checked for spelling and that sort of thing.”

I guess this is something I should consider.

I’ll stop here.

Day 59

I have my cell phone in my pocket, charged and filled with minutes, and my backpack packed with clothes. John’s at work and it’s slowly ticking down to the new year. I’m taking the last few minutes of my time here at John’s house to say goodbye and to tell John that I’m not abandoning him, just going back to something that I think might be right.

John: You are the most important thing that’s ever happened to me, and the most important person that has ever been in my life. You are the one who saved me when I was hurt, nurtured me when I was sick, brought me back to health and made me feel as though I was more than human—a God, someone to be touched, admired and made human just like the right of everyone else. I hate to leave you like this, but last night, while I was lying awake in bed, I realized something that I should have known all along.

A few weeks ago, you asked me if I was in love with Josh.

I am.

I’m leaving you this journal with my blessing and permission for you to have it published. I realized that if someone like you can help me recover like this, maybe someone will someday read this and realize that people really can heal, that people really can be who they want to be and can recover from a lifetime of hardship and trial.

I just wanted to make sure that you knew everything was all right.

I have two-thousand dollars in my wallet. My number’s written on a piece of paper that’s hanging on the fridge. Call me when you get home—I’ll probably be on the road by then, in some guy’s truck heading back to Florida. I’m not doing the prostitute gig anymore. You’ve made me realize that I’m above all those things.

Thank you for being my friend, John, and thank you for helping me realize that someone like me is really worth more than dirt.

Thank you.

You mean the world to me, John.

I’ll never leave you behind. 

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