February 25, 1995 – Saturday – 7:45 p.m.

It has begun!

At this time I am in the Pinnacle Room on the campus of Lees-McRae College.  The final performance of A Piece of My Heart will begin in fifteen minutes.  I have enjoyed being a lighting technician.

We had a show earlier today at 3:00 and guess who came?

Charlie came, but guess who was with him?  Melissa and Laura.  And who was with Laura?  I don’t know his name, but he was a guy.  They sat right in front of the lighting and sound table.  I could see them.

During the show, I watched them.  They held hands.  He placed his hand on her knee.  They were close.

And you know what?  I enjoyed every minute of it.

“I have felt this way before,” I thought.  And I have; with almost every girl that is important to me now: Ryan, Tenielle, Jenna, Christi.

I was happy.


Because it reminded me off my past.  The past I love and cherish.

And now a new past has begun.  I realize that I will miss this place very soon.  All these new smiles, these new looks, these new smells.

I say let these new memories begin.


February 24, 1995 – Friday – 11:45 p.m.

I was right.

Those names are carved in Stone.

This past Monday, as I walked to classes I looked up at Beech Mountain, as I do everyday.  However, I did not see that my perception of that mountain was more beautiful on Monday.

Yet I didn’t know.

I didn’t realize how beautiful that mountain was on Monday until now.

This afternoon I called Jason, my old youth pastor and skit group director.

He is doing great.  It looks like he will be doing a Shakespeare program in Wisconsin this summer.  We talked about things and I told him I was going to become a skit group leader.  He told me that Matthew was really getting into theater at his school.

Then he told me that his family had finally gotten a phone.  He gave me their number and right after I got off the phone with him, I called to see if Christi was home.

Hank answered the phone.  He was the only one home.  He told me how things were going and he said that he would have Christi call me when she got in.

I ran lights for A Piece of My Heart, and then, about an hour after I got back, the phone rang.


“Jacob?  Hey this is Christi.”

And it was.  It was her voice, her soul, her spirit.  My Christi.

She had received my letter.  She said she was going to write me back.  We simply talked.  She told me of the church she was attending, and I told her about Heaton.

I told her about Jeni and she told me about a guy she liked.  I told her about college and she told me about High School.

Then she said that her youth group went Skiing.

“Where?” I asked.

“On Beech Mountain!”

“Christi!  Do you realize where you were?”

“Yes, and that’s what kills me!”

She was so close to me.  It was Monday when she was on that mountain.

She was here, but she is gone.

After we had said goodbye I laid back in my bed and I couldn’t move.  I just looked up at the ceiling.

This has been a wonderful day.  Thank you Lord.

As I laid there, I dreamed of smiles and looks and smells.

But those warm summer evenings and beautiful sunsets have already come true with Christi.

And I am happy.

I am happy for the past.

There is nothing to wish for.  Because I can’t think of our relationship becoming any more perfect than it already is.

We are friends forever.

And forever will do.

February 21, 1995 – Tuesday – 10:15 p.m.

It snowed today.  It was warm yesterday.  The weather is weird here in Banner Elk.

A Piece of My Heart opened tonight.  We had a great audience and everything went smoothly.  People were crying.

Jeni ushered for the show tonight.  Jeni’s sister had sent me an email a while back saying that whenever Jeni broke up with her previous boyfriend she had stopped eating.  So, she asked me to keep an eye out for her.  I knew that Jeni was eating so I didn’t worry about it.  Anyway, it turns out Jeni broke into my email today to see if her sister had sent me anything.  She knew my password, so she just logged in; unbelievable.  After finding her sister’s email, Jeni sent me an email that was very harsh.  She was upset and she took it all out on me and cut me down.

I wrote her back saying that it was my fault and that she is still wonderful and perfect and beautiful and that she never did anything wrong.  I told her I was sorry that I wasn’t happy with her and I that I would always remember her fondly.

I had been receiving bad vibes from her all day so I decided to give her a call to clear things up.  It is difficult to recall everything that was said.  Things were hard at first.  She said this past week, she tried her best to not even look at me because she knew it would hurt too much.

I apologized for the way I had been acting.  She told me how she felt and how she was hurt.  She said she didn’t know how to be my friend.  We talked for about an hour.  I began to joke around.  She began to laugh.  We had fun.

Then, I said, “Jeni, can I tell you something and you not take it too hard or personal?”

She said, “yes.”

“I love you.”

She simply said, “Thank you” and cried.  Things are easier now than they were and I am happy.

So, at this moment, that story is complete.  However, her name will be mentioned again.  This is not the last you will hear of Jeni.  And for the same reason, I am certain that Laura and Crystal’s name will be mentioned again; as well as Jenna’s, Tenielle’s, Christi’s, Ryan’s, Veronica’s, Emily’s and Renee’s.

These names are carved in stone.  Renee’s name is carved in stone simply because of a smile.  Some of these people I may never see again.  But that doesn’t mean their story ends.  I am still able to dream.

February 20, 1995 – Monday – 4:17 p.m.

Hi!  Last night at church, I became a member.  Everyone came up and shook my hand and hugged me.  Crystal was there; she hugged me.  But Laura and her family were not there.  People I didn’t know hugged me.  They welcomed me.  Strangers talked to me like I was their best friend.

New stories begin almost every day.  We all ate at Peggy’s again last night, Charlie, Molly, Jason, Caroline, Shawn, Dan and myself.

When I got home I called my house and left mom and Henry a message, “Hi guys, this is your son Jacob.  I called to tell you that I became a member of Heaton Christian Church tonight.  Things are really good and I want to thank you for bring me up in a Christian home.  I love you both.”

I’ve been thinking about this summer.  I don’t want to go to summer school, but I want to try and stay in this area, simply because of my church.  I called mom today and told her that.  She said whatever I wanted was okay.  She also said thank you for the message and that Henry had tears in his eyes.

I read the second section of my 6th Book of Days yesterday and today.  Those warm summer evenings.  Fishnet.  Deep Creek.  If only I had known.

But I know now.

And that is good enough.

February 19, 1995 – Sunday – 3:30 p.m.

Church was wonderful this morning.  Laura’s family wasn’t there, so I didn’t get to see her.  Crystal wasn’t there either.  I borrowed Richard’s car to get there.  It felt good to drive again.  Now it takes me five minutes to get to church; back home it took me twenty-five.

After church, I ran lights for A Piece of My Heart and then came here to my room.  The show opens Tuesday.  It’s a good show and I’m glad I could help out.

Michelle, a girl here at school, asked me if Jeni and I would ever get back together.

“I don’t want that to happen,” I said.

And I don’t.  I don’t want her anymore.  Deep down inside me I wish she would go back to Cincinnati to be with her mother and just finish up school there.  I am not going to be her husband.  I don’t want to be.  However, I’m still thankful for her and I’m sure that I will appreciate her more in the future.  I pray that she find love, Lord.

Yesterday I did homework all day.  I did stop to watch a movie called The Seventh Sign that came on TV.  Demi Moore starred in it.  I thought it was pretty awesome!

That evening I decided to go for another walk with my Lord.

We walked along Elk River.  It was a nice night.  There was a small breeze out.  On our way back we stopped at the bridge and we stayed there for a while.

I told Him some stuff.  He told me some stuff.  I laughed.  He laughed.

I sang to Him.  He listened and smiled.

We had fun.

Then I said, “Lord, this has been one of the greatest nights of my life.  This cool winter air.  This beautiful waterfall and light mist that blows up in the air.  The sound of the rushing water and You next to me.  I’m so happy.  I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.  I could stay this way forever.”

“You can,” He said.

I smiled.  A huge smile.

These years will pass.  One by one.  But I’ll never lose my smile.  It’s the smile my Jesus gave me.

February 18, 1995 – Saturday – 9:45 a.m.

The bacterial meningitis thing is under control.  It is no longer a threat to the campus.  I didn’t die after all.

Last night after I ran lights for A Piece of My Heart I went with Charlie and Dan to Boone to go roller skating with the College and Career class from church.  Ricky and Kelly were there.  We all had a lot of fun.  We ate at Pizza Hut afterwards and then went bowling.  Out of everyone, I bowled the best.

It was great to get out.  I had a wonderful time.

Today, I’m going to catch up on homework.

Charlie has gone to Chapel Hill.

I can’t wait until church tomorrow.

February 17, 1995 – Friday – 10:30 a.m.

Yesterday I was sad most of the day, but this morning I woke up wanting to be the opposite.  After my first two classes, I came back to my room and listened to The Lion King soundtrack and tried to remember who I was.

Today is a beautiful day.  The snow has melted thanks to some warm rain, so yesterday I decided to take a walk with my savior.

And my sweet Jesus reminded me of my days with the Emmanuel Players; such good days.

As I walked, I prayed in the spirit for a while and worshiped Him in English and in the spirit.  I love my Lord.  He is my best friend.  I love spending my time talking to Him.

I thank God for Jenna and Tenielle.  And I thank God for Ryan, Christi, Cheryl, and Amy.  I thank God for Marcus, Scott, Kevin, and Jonathan.  I thank God for Charlie.

But mostly, I thank God for Jesus.  He is the one who made me smile today.  He is the one who brought me joy.

I love you Jesus.

With all that I have.

February 15, 1995 – Wednesday – 5:55 p.m.

I wish I could be at church right now.  I can’t wait until the next time I get to see Laura, or the next time I get to talk to Crystal.

But instead, I have to stay here for Team Meetings and A Piece of My Heart.

Jeni received her poem and she agreed to be my friend like the last line had read.  She is my friend forever.

Something has happened.  I didn’t think about it or write about it because I didn’t think it was important.  However, someone has died and I believe now is the time to face it.

A beautiful young girl is now dead.  For all I know I could be next.

A few days ago, a student here at Lees-McRae came down with some sort of bacterial meningitis and was hospitalized.  This disease is supposedly spread by kissing or drinking after one another or even by smoking the same cigarette.

This student was given a 20% chance to live.  Two other guys on campus were carriers of this disease, but they weren’t effected by it.  However, the beautiful young girl that died was the girlfriend of one of the two carriers.  The other guy’s girlfriend is in a coma.  They do not go to this school, but they both live in North Carolina.

A medicine was freely given that kills this virus in you.  It has weird side effects, making your urine, sweat, and tears turn orange.  It causes soft contacts to turn orange and unusable.  I wear soft contacts and I don’t have glasses.  For that reason I chose not to accept the medicine because then I wouldn’t be able to see.  My vision is really bad.

A dancer kissed the boy who was hospitalized, and now other Performing Arts students are showing more signs and symptoms.

Charlie told me tonight that I must go tomorrow to get this medicine.  This may not be a big deal, but I wanted to mention it here anyway.

But after Charlie said that to me, a horrible thought entered my mind:  “You are going to die Jacob.  That is why you and Jeni broke up when you did…so this would be less painful for her.  Soon you will leave all of this and meet Jesus.  It’s your time to go.  You have done all you are supposed to do.”

Later I told Charlie my thought.  Jokingly he said, “Bummer, I wanted to be in one of your movies in the future.”

I laughed.

Then frowned.

Because I had to ask myself, “What did I do here?”

And even if I am not dying, still, what have I accomplished?  Whose lives have I changed?  Have I done enough?

The answer was obvious.

No, I haven’t.

February 13, 1995 – Monday – 11:35 p.m.

I got a Valentine from Jeni through the mail today.  It was a heart shaped card that said, “Winter Dreams can melt into Spring fantasies.”

She obviously believes we will still get back together.

I doubt we ever will very much.

I wrote her a poem back.  It was really just a combination of the lyrics from two Cindy Morgan songs.  I was just encouraging her to be my friend.

Tonight I went to the A Piece of My Heart rehearsal.  I was suppose to run sound, but now I’m running lights.  The show is great.  It’s coming along wonderfully.

Doing lights will tie me up for the next two weeks.  I won’t be able to go to any of the Heaton youth group stuff on Wednesday nights.

I can’t wait until the next time I go to church; or even over to Sharon’s house again.

If Ryan and Cheryl and them come up to see me this weekend, I will try to take them to meet Sharon and her family.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

It’s almost midnight.

February 12, 1995 – Sunday – 11:59 p.m.

Nate was born ten years ago today.  Happy birthday little brother.

Today was 100% wonderful.  After getting ready for church I ate breakfast down in the cafeteria.  Richard was down there, but he left and then Jeni came.  She sat at the same table and we said a little bit to each other.  I had to go because I was going to church with Charlie and Steven.

Church was wonderful.  I am starting to enjoy hymns now.  We never sang them at my old church.

Laura was there.  We said nothing to each other.  Her hair was curled and she was wearing white.  Jeni noticed me looking at her.

After church Charlie and Dan and I went to eat at the school cafeteria and then we went to see Steven off.  He headed back to Savannah, Georgia.  I’m sure I will see him again.  He’s a funny guy and one of Charlie’s best friends.  The night we all went sledding was a wonderful night.

After Steven left, Charlie and Dan and I went to this girl’s house in Elk Park.  Her name is Molly.  She goes to Heaton and the youth group.  She is 15-years-old.  We went over there to watch videos of beach trips the youth group took two to three years ago.

I had a lot of fun.  Molly’s boyfriend was there and we played Rook.  Molly plays the piano and she showed me some of her music.  She is a nice girl and she is also interested in the skit group/drama ministry thing we hope to begin.  We talked about it some.

We stayed there all afternoon; until church that night.  This church is so wonderful.  Just simple mountain people loving God and loving people.

Laura was there as well.  She looked at me twice.  I looked at her dozens of times.

As before, we said nothing to each other.

Isn’t that great!  There is a mystery here.  And I hope the answer is not discovered for a very long time.

After the evening service Charlie and Dan and I, plus Jason, Carolina, Molly and her boyfriend and Crystal and Clifton went to Peggy’s, this country restaurant place.

Caroline is a girl from church and Crystal and Clifton are brother and sister.  They go to Heaton and are greatly interested in the skit group.  Crystal wants to be either an actor or a director.  She does theater in high school.

The two of us talked for a while.  We had a lot of fun.  Everyone there loves to laugh.

After we left from there Crystal and Clifton invited whoever wanted to to come over to their house and watch a movie.

Only Dan and I went.  Dan is from Oregon.  He goes to Emmanuel College in Johnson City, Tennessee.  We get along great.

At their house we watched Batman Returns.

Crystal and Clifton are really great.  Clifton is a freshman in high school and Crystal is a junior.  She is a pretty girl.

They want me to come back over again sometime.

It has begun.  I realize now that it was hard for me.  Back home, I had Ryan, Amy, Cheryl, Christi, Jenna, and Tenielle as close friends.  Here, I only had Jeni as a close friend.

I need this youth group.  I need a lot of close friends.  I need new memories.  I need this church.

What happened today could not have happened if I were still with Jeni.

Although I have been me, I am becoming more of me everyday.

I thank you Lord.

This is the new beginning of so many new stories.  Some will end in four years.  Some will end before that.  And some will never end.

Just like many from Sanford and Siler City, they will never end.