September 15, 1993 – Wednesday – 10:33 p.m.

The past few days have been normal.

Today I had an orthodontist appointment, and afterwards I went to Wal-Mart.  Last year around this time I noticed a girl at school.  Her name is Renee.  I never really liked her, I just noticed her because is she absolutely beautiful.  Well, while at Wal-Mart, I went around the corner of an aisle and the same girl walked right by me and looked at me.  I have never spoken to her before.  We’ve never even shared eye-contact before.  But time stopped and it seemed like forever but I finally said “hey” and she said “hey” back in her sweet, soothing voice.  It stabbed right through the core of me.

Ryan was at church tonight.  I didn’t talk to her much.  I miss her.  I see her, but I just wish there was more.  I know there won’t be though.  Sherry, Veronica’s cousin, was hugging all over me tonight.  Her touch was encouraging.  We’re good friends, but it made me realize that I like being single.  And I want to stay that way for a while.  The incident at Wal-Mart made me realize that, too.

So, with Ryan, I’ll still think of her and if something happens, praise God, but I’m just going to wait for God to move.  There are other girls, but these modern productions are all very well, but there is nothing to equal from what I here tell:  that moment of mystery, when I made history, with Ryan…the girl I could never tell…

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September 12, 1993 – Sunday – 10:58 p.m.

It is finally the 12th.  It has been a year.

My feelings for her have only grown.

I thought the day was going to be rough, and in a way it was, but overall it wasn’t.  Children’s church went well. Marcus stayed at Christi’s house to hang out with Andy, so I came home by myself and got lectured by Henry and Mom over stuff they say simply because they have the power to say it.  Ugh.

I took a nap, which was nice, but then I woke and it hit me.  I sat next to her a year ago tonight and she shared things with me that she usually doesn’t share with people.  I felt close to her as we sat in that balcony.  But 12 months have flown by and there is nothing I can do about it.

I stopped by her house tonight to pick up a tape.  She has contacts now.  She looked beautiful.  We talked about a few minor things, and then I left.

Wow!  This section of this notebook is almost over.  Soon I’ll be starting another one.

I’m reading Les Miserables again.  It’s even better the second time.

Mom got mad at me today because of my long-distance call to Emily down in Florida.  That doesn’t make me regret calling her.  Marcus says Emily is more my type than Ryan.

I don’t know.

But that doesn’t really matter.  The Lord is picking out my future spouse.  In fact he already has.  I’m falling asleep.  Sorry for the messy handwriting.  I’ll end this section later.

September 8, 1993 – Wednesday – 4:35 p.m.

Marcus’s brother told me today that in Greensboro a seven-year-old boy went into a public bathroom while his mom waited outside.  Some men in the bathroom attacked the little boy and cut off his penis and flushed it down the toilet.  The boy bled to death and died.

Did you hear what I just said?  I don’t understand.  What is out there in the world?  My parents have shielded me from the world for so long.  Christians are there in the world, but the wicked are out there too.  One day I must leave my home and go out into the world.

What an insane idea.  Who out there will love me?

But I must go; my destiny and my fate pull me there like a magnet.  The world is dark and terribly wild.  There are people out there who would kill a little child.

I miss the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.  I’m not sure why it isn’t on any more.  It always made me think about what is out there in the world.  I’ve experienced so little.  Months ago, when I stood on top of Pilot Mountain, I saw so much and I saw so far, but I still saw so little.

I used to live in Germany as a kid, but I hardly remember anything about it.  This world is so large, and I wish to see it all.  There is so much out there.

So many souls.

So many lives.

So many stories.

We must discover the world for ourself.

September 7, 1993 – Tuesday – 9:40 p.m.

I finally got hold of Emily tonight.  We talked for 30 minutes.  She’s doing great and it was so wonderful to hear her voice.

Amy called earlier, she wanted to thank me for taking her home and she wanted to apologize for losing it.  Then Ryan called and she said her mom was going to give her the money to buy a ticket for Les Miserables.  Can you believe it?  She and I will be watching that beautiful performance together.  She will be by my side.  November 19, 1993 will be a night I will never forget.  Thank you Jesus.

Can something actually be happening?

Is there something between us?

Whether there is or not doesn’t really matter. She will still be important to me.  And she will always be my friend.

September 6, 1993 – Monday – 11:04 p.m.

A year ago today the youth group went to Fantasy Lake in Fayetteville.  It was for Jason’s birthday.  It’s his birthday tomorrow.  He will be 21.

Everyone went.  Even Brandon.  Even Mike and Ruth.  I got really bad sunburn.

I remember Ryan there.  I remember the swimsuit she was wearing.  I remember the way strands of her hair curled down in front of her ears.  I liked her then, but not like I do now.  I just noticed she was sweet, innocent, and beyond beautiful.

We had all planned on going to Fantasy Lake again this year, but Ryan said it was going to rain.

It didn’t.

Instead, we had a humongous water balloon fight at Kiwanis Park.  It was a blast, but during all the fun poor Amy slammed her middle and ring fingers in the door of the girl’s bathroom.

Amy panicked.  I mean really panicked.

I’ve never seen her act like that before.  I drove her home and Ryan went with me.  I felt so sorry for Amy; she acted like a six-year-old kid, but she’s 14.

Oh, that reminds me, Amy had a birthday party at her house last Friday and Mike and I went.  We had cake and played games.  It was fun.  And on the way out I accidentally bumped into their mom’s truck and dented it a little bit.  Eek.

But anyway, I felt so sorry for Amy; she was just crying and crying.  She kept praying and saying, “God, I’ll never do another bad thing in my life, please take this pain away.  I’m so sorry God.  I dedicate my whole life to you, just please take this pain away.” Ryan was doing her best to comfort her.

We made it to her house and Emily, Ryan and Amy’s mom, took care of her.  She didn’t break anything, but she busted the blood vessels.

Ryan and I left to go back to the park.  She was going to spend the rest of the day with Cheryl.  We had a neat talk on the way back to the park.  She’s simply wonderful and her heart is full of love for her sister and her mom and the rest of her family and all her friends.  She is the perfect example of “Love one another.”  I admire her for that and I wish I could be more like her.

Marcus and Scott and I decided to go to Fayetteville to see a movie.  Scott had to beg his mom before he could go.  But she finally said yes and we had a great time.  We played air hockey and then saw Rookie of the YearGreat movie.

On the way home, Scott and Marcus talked about how abusive their fathers were.  I have never known anything like that.

Misty was right.  My life has been a bowl of cherries.

Thank you Lord.

Speaking of Misty, despite all her threats of suicide, she’s still alive and she still comes to church regularly.  And, she still gets on my nerves.  I try to avoid her.  Cheryl and Ryan said she was looking at my butt on Saturday.  I don’t even really have a butt.  It’s more like a line where my legs join together.  Oh well.

Another Labor Day has come and gone.

This one was really special.  Ryan and I shared something with each other today.  We shared a look, and that look became a knowing.  Today, while helping Amy and driving her to her house, I felt really close to Ryan.  It’s hard to describe.  We both were on the outside of Amy’s suffering, but we still shared the experience.  We both shared looks with each other.

She knows.

And I know.

On the way back from her house, there was something there between us.  It was just an awareness and a knowing.  She knows she is important to me.  And she knows that I know she knows she is important to me.

We didn’t say anything along those lines to each other, but we didn’t need to.  I may be taking a long shot by saying this, but somehow I know Ryan will affect me for the rest of my life.  I don’t know in what form, but I know I will never forget her.

September 5, 1993 – Sunday – 1:30 p.m.

I just wept.  Yes, I cried.  Several tears ran down my face just two minutes ago.

I’m in the black chair that sits right in front of my stereo.  I’m listening to the “Piano Music” tape that Scott let me borrow.  I’m wearing a pair of blue jeans and purple shirt.  I guess while I’m getting super specific, I might as well add that my underwear brand is Fruit of the Loom.  I’m barefooted.

The lights were out two minutes ago, but they are on now.

Two minutes ago was the second time I cried tonight.  I cried about seven minutes before that.

Let the story of this night begin:

Marcus and I had a good conversation tonight in my room after we got back from church.  He told me about Angela, “a chapter,” as he refers to her.  He cares a great deal about her.  He gave me an in-depth summary of their past and their friendship.  They are not a couple, but he cares a great deal for her.  After an hour or so, he finished telling me everything he wanted to tell me.

It was my turn.

This is basically what I said:

“Shirley has often told me that Veronica was and is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  And she was right.  With my relationship with Veronica now, oh…I love it so much.  Both of us know how we used to feel for each other and knowing that, we joke around and laugh about the past, still knowing that it was special to each of us.  And sometimes now, I look at her and just thank God for her and how much she has shown me.  She still means a lot to me and she will always have a special place in my heart.”

Then I stopped.  I couldn’t say anything else.  After a minute, I spoke:

“Oh my gosh, Marcus.  I’m crying.  I’ve never cried over her before.  I’ve never cried over any girl before.”

Silence.

Tears rolled down my face, then I said, “Marcus, with my relationship with Veronica, I told her I loved her and it seemed fake and I didn’t like saying it.  Well, about two months ago something happened, and I wrote about it in my journal.”

So, I got my 2nd Book of Days and opened it up to June 28, 1993.  I didn’t read it straight out to him, that would be too embarrassing, but I basically told him what I wrote:

“It was a Monday night and I was at work.  I was working the counter and we didn’t have any customers.  It was quiet.  Then I sort of got a chill in my stomach and I wanted to say something.  But I never did say it.  I went home and was hungry, but I couldn’t eat.  I think I went for a walk, maybe not.  But something I wanted to happen so bad was happening.”

“Which was,” Marcus asked.

I was silent.  “But I never did say it Marcus, even to this day.  Because I’m afraid that it might be fake.  And when and if I ever do say it out loud for the first time, it is not going to be fake.”

“What were you going to say?” he asked.

“You know, and I’m not going to say it because then I’d be saying it.”

“That you love Ryan?”

I laughed.

“But I don’t.” I said.  “She is my Winter Dream.  I’ve always seen her as something I want so badly, but no matter how much I wish, deep down I know that my wish will never come true; Ryan and I will never become anything more than friends.  Which is not bad in and of itself.”

“Why don’t you say it?” Marcus asked.

“I’m afraid.  And I don’t want to admit it too myself because I never thought it would get this far.  I like her too much and I don’t want this to ruin our friendship.  I’m only 17!  I don’t know what love is.  I shouldn’t be able to know.”

“Is she the one, Jacob?”

I didn’t answer.

“Well?”

“I’m not going to say anything.”

“You need to answer the question Jacob.  I want to hear you tell me.”

“As I’ve said, I always thought of her as my Winter Dream, but the Lord has told me twice, once about a year ago and once again on August 27th, that the one for me is the girl I won’t be able to get out of my mind, no matter what.  And I’ll think about her more than I think about myself.”

“Then that’s Ryan!” Marcus said.

“But I’m only 17 Marcus!  I want it, but I don’t!”

“So, you mean down the road?!”

“Yes, but I don’t want to wish for it, because it might not come true.”

We said a little more then said our good nights.  I turned the lights off and sat down.  I pressed play on my stereo.  Piano music filled my room.

I thought of Ryan.

I thought of today in children’s church, when she asked me to help her with the puppet curtain and how we talked about the skit we did in church.  I thought of tonight, and how her green and yellow earring dangled from her left ear while she talked to Cheryl.  I thought of the way she smiled when Rebecca put ice down her shirt.

I thought of Ryan and then I felt a tear on my face.

Another one came and another.

They all poured down.

I was crying over her.

What does this mean?

I cried.

September 2, 1993 – Thursday – 9:45 p.m

September 2nd.

September 2nd.

That’s impossible!

It can’t be September already.

But it is.  I guess that means I was having fun.

This year in Spanish II, I sit in the same seat I did last year in Spanish I.  The same people who sat around me last year sit around me this year.  Today, Mr. Benton said something funny that reminded me of something funny he said last year.  It seemed like time didn’t pass and I was still in 1992.

But time has passed.

Last year about this time, the skit group was on a roll.  We were getting new skits together and I was so much infatuated with Ryan.  Skit group practice has been some of the best times of my life.  We still have it, but it is not the same.  Brandon is gone.  Anne is gone.  Jason our leader is gone.  Kevin is gone.

Those days are gone.

I want them back so bad, but life doesn’t work that way.  They were here for a season and now they are gone.

Forever.

Even if I could live one of those days over again it would be so painful.  Just knowing that it was in the past and that it would never return would be too much to bear.

Where are they?

Silence.

Only my memories?

I want more.

September 2nd?

1993?

Please NO!

Why is life like this?  Even the most joyful times of my life end up causing a little pain.  I don’t want to grow up.  Not yet!

A senior in high school?  It’s too soon!

Retrospect hurts.

I want to stay a child just a little bit longer.  What’s the rush?

I want to go to skit group practice again.

I want to talk to Ryan in the balcony of her high school theater on September 12, 1992 again.

I want to have a lock-in at church during Halloween again, fasting all night for the lost, breaking that fast at the crack of dawn with day old pizza, and watching a sleepy Ryan and a sleepy Christi as they laid their heads on each other’s shoulders.

But it is only a Winter Dream.  No matter how much I wish, tomorrow will come.  And then September 4th, and 5th, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and then the 12th.

September 12, 1993 is going to be a painful day for me.  Help me God.

Brandon called me yesterday.  He wants me to come see him during Christmas.  I want to, but flying to Arizona costs a lot of money.

I miss him.

My best friend moved away!