June 18, 1994 – Saturday – 10:57 p.m.

It was a good day.  A lot happened.

While I was sleeping one of my contacts dried up so I had to throw it away.  I didn’t bring my other ones so I can only see out of one eye.  

Dad and I went to the Virginia Living Museum and I saw two bald eagles.  They were so beautiful.  I saw myself in that bird’s eyes.

We went shopping and I bought a keyboard, bigger than the one I had before.  After that we went to see Schindler’s List at a dollar theater.  It had more effect on me the first time, but at the end I still got chocked up.

I go home Monday.  And Friday I go to Lees-McRae for orientation!  I can’t wait.

I have a wish for that day.  I hope it will come true.

June 17, 1994 – Friday – 9:03 p.m.

I’ve got a headache now because of all the rides I went on today.

I had fun, but not as much fun as I had at Carowinds, but obviously that is thanks to the people I was with.

April 30th!

It seems like yesterday, but I know it is much further away.  A perfect day that I experienced in my youth, but it is gone now.  They say “Life is like a highway.”  I guess that means the soul is a car.

And objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.

I asked Joel if he thought of the past when he was in Arizona.  I told him Brandon only thought of the present.

He said that it was true, you do think of the present and the future, but he also said, “You don’t have to worry Jacob, no matter what, you will always remember the good times…always.”

It was great to hear that.

I will be okay.

Get ready Banner Elk.  I’m on my way.

June 16, 1994 – Thursday – 8:28 p.m.

Dad hasn’t said anything.  I’m pretending like nothing has happened.

For Deep Creek this summer it doesn’t look like many people are going.  Everyone is busy and working.  We’ll see.

Tomorrow Dad and I are going to King’s Dominion.  I’m disgusted with him, but life goes on.  It is his problem, not mine.

I miss home.  I miss church.  I wonder if Jenna and Tenielle have continued on without even noticing that I’m not there to hug them.  I know Tenielle probably has; she has Kevin.

I hope Jenna is missing me and thinking of me.

Since I’ve been up here, I’ve realized that I can make it away from home.  It’ve got everything settled for college, I believe.

When I signed Jenna’s yearbook last Thursday I wrote something along these lines:

“As you know…in the past I had strong feelings for you, but through it all I’m glad we remained friends.  Although I wanted more, I knew it could never be more wonderful than each time I saw you smile.  abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz.  U and I were both happy with the alphabet just like this.  Elephant Shoe!”

She didn’t read it until after I left.  When I hugged her Friday night after graduation, I could tell that she had read it.  She seemed to appreciate it.

Then Renee smiled at me.  It’s so true.  Another girl always comes along.

Up in Banner Elk, I can assure you that another girl will catch my eye and perhaps even my heart.  It will happen.  I am human.  I desire to love and be loved.

But that story hasn’t begun yet.  It’ll begin in a few months.

June 15, 1994 – Wednesday – 9:11 p.m.

I did it!

Today I threw away all of my dad’s porn stuff.  I put it all in a plastic bag and threw it in the woods.

Deep woods!

Thick woods!

No one was here when I did it, and he hasn’t got home yet.

Other than that, I rented Remains of the Day.  It was good, but I’m going to watch it again in the morning.  I just feel like there is more than to unpack.

I know my dad won’t have the guts to say anything to me, but I’ll keep you posted.

June 14, 1994 – Tuesday – 9:56 p.m.

My dad is home.  I couldn’t look him in the eye.

I said nothing, but I will let him know that I know sometime before I leave.  Which is Monday!

It’s June 14th.

Five months ago, I was with Jenna, Tenielle, Sunny, and Shar at Mr. Gattis.

Four months ago I talked to Ryan over the phone.  I was choosing between Christi and Jenna when it turns out that both were far from my reach.

Three months ago Jenna became a 14-year-old beautiful girl.

Two months ago I developed some pictures.

And one month ago was probably the greatest Friday night of my life.

A month from now it’ll be July 14th.

I’m so far from home now and in the midst of this darkness, the only thing that keeps me going is that I’ll soon be back home.  I’ll have so much time when I get back home; about 70 days.

Those 70 days are a gift from God.

I could have had 77 days, but for some odd reason I came up here to learn the truth about my perverted-loser-father and get my heart broken.

June 14, 1994 – Tuesday – 7:32 p.m.

I’ve calmed down some, but I’m still hurt.

I’ll never look at him the same way again.  I thought about taking everything and throwing it all away.  When he find that it is gone, he won’t have the gut to say something to me.  He knows he is in the wrong.

I don’t think I have the guts to do that though.  It will make him think though.

What happened to this world?  Why can’t everything be pure?  I brought my photo album to show my dad my life, but every girl he sees he probably imagines them naked.  There’s no way I’m going to let him think that way about my friends.

Sorry dad, but you have completely lost your son’s respect.  In fact, I don’t even like call you dad.

Will I tell anyone?  Should I tell Kevin?

No, why ruin his picture of his dad by telling him the truth about our father.

But he is 43.  He has to be his own man.  He must make his own decisions.  He has fallen from God, he doesn’t go to church, and he has a demon of lust living in him.  He complains constantly about everything.  He lives with his parents.  What a loser!

He is my father, but I am nothing like him.  I have his nose and that’s about it.

June 14, 1994 – Tuesday – 4:19 p.m.

I can’t believe this!  MY DAD!!!  NO!!!!

MY DAD DOES NOT DO STUFF LIKE THAT!

NOT MY DAD!!!  This can’t be happening!!!!

Let me calm down and tell you since I probably can’t tell anyone else.

We rented two movies this morning after dad and I went fishing.  My Life and The Man Without a Face.  I watched them both while dad went to work and my grandparents were at a funeral.  I liked both the movies.  After I watched them both I went into my dad’s room just looking for something to do.  I don’t know why, but I picked up his briefcase next to his bed…

Before I go any into any more detail I guess I should say that there is always something I suspected of my dad; several years ago I was looking for some chess pieces in his closet and I found a game for his computer.  It was strip poker.  It was in a box under some towels.  I was a little startled, but thought nothing of it and tried to forget about it.  Ever since then, I thought that maybe my dad was a little, well, for lack of a better word, perverted and that maybe he liked looking at dirty pictures.  Over the years I guess I occasionally went through his stuff just to prove myself wrong.  I figured if I never found anything like that game again, then he wasn’t perverted, but that he was “clean.”

But today, when I when I glanced inside his briefcase I found dozens and dozens of dirty pictures and papers and magazines and brochures and just junk.  JUNK!!!  I couldn’t believe it.  There were pictures of women sucking men’s you know whats and pictures of chains of people having sex.

I seriously got sick to my stomach.  I put it all back and cried my eyes out.

My dad was no longer a wonderful person.  “You idiot!  What are you doing?!”  I cried over and over.

What do I do?  Do I say something?  I don’t ever want to stay here.  

I wanted to run.  

I want to keep myself pure.

What do I do?  What do I say?  I hate this!!

He won’t change unless he has something to lose.  Or should I just love him and encourage him to believe that he doesn’t need that stuff.

I want to go home.

I don’t want to see him again.

I want to leave and live in my innocence and bliss.  I want to go back to my church and my Jenna and my everyone.  

My life.  

My clean life.

I don’t know what to do.  Please God.  Please give me the answer.

June 13, 1994 – Monday – 4:42 p.m.

Yesterday morning I went to work with my dad at the local golf course.  I helped him with the golf carts.  It was fun.

That night I went to church with Grandpa and and Grandma.  The church is only old people; no people my age.  They showed a film.  It was okay.  I was wearing my Les Miz shirt and the music director asked me where I got it.  I told him and he said that he saw the musical three years ago.

Today I helped my other Grandpa (mom’s dad) unpack my aunt’s stuff from the truck.  My uncle came around one o’clock with his two kids.  They are both under nine.

I’m back here now and I have diarrhea.

Bummer.

June 11, 1994 – Saturday – 11:21 p.m.

I’m in Virginia.  I’ve had a good time so far.  Dad and I went to the mall.  I bought Sunset Blvd., the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical soundtrack, and Schindler’s List, the book.  Then we went to see Maverick, a western with Mel Gibson.  That was a great movie.

Otherwise I’m a little bored and I hope something more interesting will happen while I’m up here.  The last time I was up here was Christmas.  A lot has happened in the past six months.

Christmas of 1994 will be the next time I’m up here.

And, whew, the next six months will bring all the change in the world.

June 10, 1994 – Friday – 11:58 p.m.

As I am writing this it is becoming the 11th day of June, 1994.  Today dad and I saw City Slickers II and tonight I received my high school diploma.

It happened.  I graduated from high school.  Jenna and Tenielle were there.  They seemed to enjoy it.  I gave them a big hug!

I can’t believe it’s over.  All those people.

There was one thing that happened tonight.  It happened twice.  I can’t get it out of my mind.  A girl was near me while I was in the midst of the crowd after graduation.  I was talking to someone happily and then turned and I saw her and she smiled at me.  Then later, while talking to Jenna and Tenielle, I saw her looking at me.  I looked at her and she smiled like she had known me forever.

But this sophomore girl has only said four words to me since she came to high school.  Once, in the sight and sound section of Wal-Mart in Sanford, she said “hey.”  The other three words she spoke to me during switch day of my senior year.  She said, “Turn around Jacob” because she wanted to see how I had stuffed my butt to look more like a girl.

This girl is Renee and it is very unlikely that my eyes will ever see her smile again.  I thought of her the rest of the night.

I am leaving tomorrow to go to Virginia.  Everyone else from my graduating class is going to the beach, but that’s just not me.

My collection has grown.  My collection of farewells.

I will miss it.  I will miss them greatly.  It’s hard to know what to say, but all good things must come to an end.

I have a list.

A list of my own.

Schindler had his and I have mine.

His was a list of lives he’d saved.  Mine is simply a list of people I’ve shared existence with.  And I say goodbye to you.

We are the class of 1994.  You have shaped me.  And even those at Chatham Central who are not in the class of 1994, you have shaped me as well.  

Thank you Renee.  

Thank you for smiling at me.  

You made this graduation so wonderful.