August 31, 1994 – Wednesday – 11:35 a.m.

Classes have begun.  I’ve already been to four.  I did my audition for acting class.  I did okay, but others did much better.  I’ll probably be in the beginning acting class.  Which doesn’t bother me, I’m sort of new to this.

There is a guy named James who is on the floor below me; we get along pretty well.

Last night, Charlie wasn’t able to get Schindler’s List.  I was really sick again and I threw up twice.  I’m not sure what’s wrong with me.

I called home last night and called Tenielle.  Jenna was asleep.  They might come up soon.

It will take time for me to get used to all of this, but ever since I got here, none of this has stopped.  It’s like I always have to be somewhere.

August 30, 1994 – Tuesday – 7:05 p.m.

I’ve hardly had time to write.  Everything is nonstop.  I’m on my way to an opening convocation or something like that.  Charlie is going to rent Schindler’s List tonight.  Classes start tomorrow.  We had a Performing Arts Major/Minor meeting today.  Everything is hitting me all at once.  I have very little experience.  Nearly everyone else has done theater their entire life.  What did I do?  A few skits in church, a few mime characters in children’s church, the puppet ministry…that’s nothing.

Well, I gotta go.

August 29, 1994 – Monday – 2:55 p.m.

It’s getting better.  I’ve met some people, some beautiful girls.  One girl named Eliana is going to help me on my Once Upon A Mattress audition.  

All of this is actually fun.

I’m in an Alpha class.  It’s like a college orientation class.  We’ve done a lot and I met many new freshmen.

My roommate’s name is Mike.  He is the opposite of me in beliefs, but we get along.  Across the hall is my RA.  His name is Charlie.  He is an awesome Christian and I’m going to go to church with him, the same church I visited yesterday.

I’ve met some theater people and even talked to the music director of Once Upon a Mattress.  I just wanted him to know my name and face.  The phone lines aren’t ready so I haven’t called any one back home yet.

But I am feeling a little sick.  Not home sick.  Just sick.

August 28, 1994 – Sunday – 1:55 p.m.

I have landed.

God, where am I?  Tenielle, Jenna, Veronica, Cheryl, Ryan, Amy, Christi!!  Where are you?

I’ve ended up with a roommate who smokes and drinks.  Everyone here is looking for a party

I met one Christian guy and I went to his church this morning.  It was different, but nice.

So much is happening.

But my life is here now.  The other one is over.  I have said goodbye.  All those days in the sun are gone.  VIP and Christian Skate nights no longer exist.

Skit group.  Youth group.  They are gone.

I have to start all over.  I don’t want to though, my life was so good.

This is my adventure.  My journey.  My story.

The story which I will write in my Seventh Book of Days.  Perfect timing to arrive on the last page of this book when all else is over.  I loved so many people and I still do, but it hurts to not be near them.

It’s time to go out and begin.  I want to act.  I want to make movies.  I have landed here.  To learn.  To experience.

But I have decided, I’m not going to sit on a branch and sing.

I’m going to fly this time.

August 27, 1994 – Saturday – 11:30 p.m.

Everything lasted!

A happy ending!

Band practice was fun this morning.  Everyone prayed for us.  Elliot gave us a little sermon about living for Christ!  It was awesome!  Then John told me something that stabbed me like a dagger.  He said, “I envy you man.  You’re adventure is just beginning and mine is already half over.”

I never thought about it that way.

Marcus and I went to Jenna and Tenielle’s.  Ginger cut my hair again.  She just shaved the sides closer.  Jenna and I had a good talk alone.  As did Tenielle and I.  Jenna made me a necklace.  It’s green!  I love it!  

Marcus stayed with Jenna and Tenielle while I went to visit with Veronica’s family.  Marcus let me drive his car.  While there, we watched Beethoven’s 2nd, which was actually pretty good.  I was surprised.  When it was time for youth group, Veronica decided to come with me.  Her and I got surprisingly close this evening.  It was very special.  She means a lot to me.  She is growing up to be more beautiful each day.

Youth group really helped me a lot today.  I believe the Lord is doing a great work in me.  We all threw a surprise birthday party for Shurby’s wife after youth group.  Veronica stayed for that and Jenna and Tenielle were there.

We all got along.  My goodbye’s to everyone were hard but sweet.  It was weird knowing that Ryan and Cheryl were at the beach.  I wished they were there.

Everything is packed.  All except for this Sixth Book of Days.  My paintings are off the wall.

If these walls could speak, I wonder what story would be their favorite.  They have seen so much.

But more than these walls, there are my friends.  They look out the window and they know I will be there, on the branch, singing.  But I see a storm, it is right above me.  I’m fighting it, but it hurts to hold on.  I must let go.  It’s much more powerful than me.  So I let go.  I’m waiting to land.  The wind carries me.

Another tree.

Someone else to sing for.

I’m waiting to land.

No more days.

The wind carries me.

I’m waiting to land.

 

August 26, 1994 – Friday – 11:55 p.m.

The summer of 1994 is coming to a close.

So much happened, more than any other summer I’ve experienced.  From discovering how perverted my dad is and throwing all his porn away to doing phone pranks with Jenna and Tenielle; from hiking the Shenandoah river to tubing down Indian Creek Falls; from watching the night time ocean with Jonathan to puking my guts out during Forrest Gump…and so many little moments to: Ryan’s green eyes, reconnecting with Christi, and the countless hours of perfection when it was just Jenna and Tenielle and I hanging out on their trampoline.

But a storm is coming.  I’m sitting here on my branch and I can see it.

I try to hold on, but only one more day remains.

I called Kristen yesterday to say goodbye.  She is so sweet.  I’m glad I met her.  She was my “new-found Fishnet friend.”  That’s what she called me.  

I finally got a hold of Jonathan.  He is great.  He says his roommate is just like him.

Tonight was my last night at work.  I have enjoyed my job at McDonald’s.  It was really fun.  Thank you Lord for letting me work there.  I kept that job for 15 months.

Cheryl and Ryan and I had planned to do something tomorrow, but the two of them had plans to leave for the beach with a lot of other friends. So, I just went over there after work tonight.  A girl named Adrian came over.  She is sweet and fun to be around.  We all went to Ryan’s house and then to the football game at Lee Senior.  I had the gas card with me so I bought both Ryan and Adrian $5 of gas.  Adrian couldn’t believe I bought her gas since I didn’t know her.

While we were at Ryan’s house, Amy gave me a letter saying goodbye.  I hugged her and her mom.

I had fun at the game.  I saw Christi, Hank, and Jason and talked to them.  They found a bunch of friends and then we all headed out together.  When we got to my car, I gave Ryan, Cheryl, and Adrian a hug and said goodbye.  Cheryl said Adrian is a really great and outgoing person and that she suggested to Ryan and that she could drive her and Cheryl up to the mountains to visit me sometime.  That would be awesome!

I went to see Veronica and her family afterwards and spent about an hour with them.  Veronica couldn’t believe my haircut.  Both her and Sherry were on their way to bed, so I gave them both a hug.  I talked with Shirley and Scott for a while.  I told them I would come by tomorrow and see them one last time before I left.

I have one more day to sit on this branch and sing.

One more day until the storm will blow me away.

One more day to find me here.

One day more.

August 25, 1994 – Thursday – 12:20 a.m.

Today is still Wednesday to me, so I will refer to it as such.

I took mom to work this morning so I could have the car and run some errands.  I first went to my Orthodontist in Sanford.  I don’t have to go back until next May.  Then I came back to Siler City to open a checking account at First Union.  I got everything I needed concerning that.  Afterwards, I went back to Sanford and went shopping at Food Lion and Wal-Mart.  I’ve almost purchased everything I need for college.  I had some time to spare after that, so I went to the park and finished reading the “Marius” part of Les Miserables.  I enjoyed it greatly; more than the first time.

I was suppose to get my hair cut today by Ginger, so around 2:30 p.m. I went to West Lee Middle School and picked up Jenna and Tenielle.  I surprised them!  Jenna wanted to red the bus, so she did, but picked up Wayne and Tenielle, took Wayne home and then Tenielle drove with me to her house.  I had The Little Mermaid with me.  We watched that and I got my hair cut.  It’s really cool, you should see it.  Tenielle was running late, so Jenna rode with me to church.

Louie came by before I left.  He seemed okay.  For a while I thought he was made at me because he really liked Jenna, but we got a long fine today.

I was a little late to church as well, so I didn’t sing.  

Tonight was my last service.

I told Shar tonight that her letter sounded very mature and she did not scare me away.  I gave her my college address and she smiled.

Cheryl told me everyone Joel works with hates him and plans to beat him up.  He deserves it!

Marcus drove himself to church and afterwards we went to The Pantry.  It seemed everyone showed up there.  Scott was with me, then Rebecca and family came, then Cheryl and Anne, as well as Ryan and Amy and they weren’t even coming from church.

Ryan told me she wanted to do one more thing with me before I go off to school, so I’m suppose to call her tomorrow.

Scott and I went by Christi’s afterwards.  She was so beautiful tonight.  I hugged her twice and she smelled so good.  Together we watched Searching for Bobby Fischer.  It was the best!  I gave Jason my address and hugged them all goodbye.  They might go see Andy on Saturday, so I probably won’t see them then.

I took Scott home and then I drove home and almost broke into tears.  I saw all my great friends tonight.  All of them in one night.  It all sort of seemed designed by God, and it felt like old times.  Even Jason was there.

Thank you Lord.

I’m still here!!

And I have three days left!

It hurts.  All of the days from long ago are in the past.  Days of happiness.

But the pain now is part of the happiness then.

I can’t have one without the other.