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.

Why?

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.

“Hello.”

“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.