March 13, 1995 – Monday – 11:25 p.m.

Today, Jenna turned 15-years-old.  She is growing up.

I don’t work until tomorrow, so today I went for a walk in the woods, washed dishes, played Game Boy and Super Nintendo with Mike, and then I went to Sanford with Marcus to celebrate Jenna’s birthday.  There was a surprise party for her at Kiesha’s house.  I suppose she was surprised.  The only people there were myself, Marcus, Sunny, Kiesha, and Jenna.

I decided we would play a karaoke-improv game.  Everyone had fun.  Kiesha lives right near Jenna and Tenielle, so afterwards, we walked through a path in the dark.  Tenielle was cold and scared, so she stayed close to me.  I held her hand while we walked.

I also wrote Emily a letter today.

March 12, 1995 – Sunday – 11:00 p.m.

Let us continue!

Yesterday, I went to Jenna and Tenielle’s.  It was wonderful to be there.  They had The Lion King so we watched it.  That is the 5th time I’ve seen it and the 2nd time with Jenna and Tenielle.  Tenielle braided my hair and experimented with it in other ways while we watched the movie.  Afterwards, Jenna and Tenielle were getting ready to go their separate ways.  Tenielle and a friend were going to be volunteer workers for some pet shop, while Jenna and two other friends were going roller skating.

Jenna needed me to take her and her friends there, so I did.  Then, I went to McDonald’s to see what time Kevin got off work.  He said, 4:30 and it was 2:45 p.m.  So, I went back to the Skating Ranch and skated for an hour.  Jenna’s boyfriend Roy was there.  Just another punk kid I suppose.  But as before, it is all still a game to her.

It felt good to skate there again.  It brought back some old memories.

The key…

ABC…

I love those memories.

That was over a year ago.

I left around 4:00 to go get Kevin and then we came home.

Marcus and Mike came over and we played some Super Nintendo.  Then, Marcus and Kevin and I went to a 9:35 showing of Outbreak.  Mike couldn’t go.  Outbreak is a wonderfully suspenseful movie.

Sunday arrived and I went to church.  Praise and Worship was so amazing.  Ryan and Amy and Cheryl showed up and sat next to me.  Then Jenna, Tenielle and Jenna’s two friends from yesterday came in and they all sat with us.

It was good to hear Pastor Steve preach again.

For the afternoon I went to the Neal’s and watched three movies: Rookie of the Year, Ghost, and Sleepless in Seattle; all movies I had seen only once before.  It was great to just lay back and relax.

John leads the 15-18 year old youth group and it was wonderful.  Tonight he talked about the words we speak and he taught me so much.

It has been a wonderful first two days back.

Yesterday, as Jenna and I were messing and playing around, I accidentally hurt her cheek.  So I kissed it to make it better.

Tonight, as Jenna and Tenielle were leaving, I gave Tenielle a hug and kissed her on her cheek.

The “I will” has switched from a goodbye to a return.

I walked on the railroad tracks tonight and began to thank the Lord for my friends.  Marcus is still the same wonderful Marcus.  Everything is exactly the same in a way, but it is also totally different.

And Jesus had to bring me back here to open my eyes.

I can see Lord.

March 11, 1995 – Saturday – 11:49 p.m.

Okay, here we go.  I probably won’t get finished with everything, but I should remember it.

At 12:30 p.m. I left Banner Elk with Donald, his brother, and his grandmother.  Jason left before me.  He is a great guy.  It will be a long time before I see him again.

The ride home was fun.  Donald and I talked about a lot of Performing Arts people who had already graduated from Lees-McRae.  He dances with Jeni a lot and he tells me that people tell him that Jeni likes him.  He told me that she stares at him a lot.  I was not jealous.  I found it amazing and fun.

But, Donald is gay, or at least a confused heterosexual.  And Jeni knows that.  I will keep you posted.

When I got home there was no one here.  About an hour later, mom and Kevin and Nate came home.  The first thing I did when I got home was play Super Nintendo.  I found it very relaxing.

Megan came over that night to see Kevin.  They went out that night and went shopping or something.  Kevin returned around nine o’clock.  I was in the bathtub.  It felt so nice to take a simple and wonderful bath.  Once I got out, we went over to Danny and Peter’s to play cards.

Twelve years.  The four of us have been great friends for 12 years.

Only my relatives have known me longer than they have.

Saturday came quick!

Kevin had to be at McDonald’s at 8:00 a.m.  I drove him there.  After I dropped him off I drove by the church.  Mary was there, she is Pastor Steve’s mother.  She cleans the church.  The band wasn’t there practicing this morning.

So, I went to The Pantry and called Cheryl.  I woke her up.  We tried to plan something, but it didn’t work out, so I drove to see Scott.  There were two different cars in his driveway.  And when I knocked on the door a beautiful young woman in a night gown opened it.

Then it hit me.  This wasn’t Scott’s house anymore.

I don’t know where he is.  He doesn’t go to Abundant Life anymore.

Then I stopped by Christi’s house.  Matt answered the door.  He is home for spring break.  Christi was home, but she was asleep.

So, when everyone else failed me, Jenna and Tenielle were there.  I can always count on them.

And this story will be finished later…

March 10, 1995 – Friday – 8:45 a.m.

I go home today.  I am not going with Richard.  Donald, a dancer, who lives in Fayetteville is taking me all the way to my house. I only have one class, and that is at 11:00 a.m.  Then I will eat lunch and he will pick me up here at 12:30 p.m.

I will be home by 4:00 p.m.

Jason came up to visit again before he goes to the Navy.  He is leaving today to go back home, but he doesn’t leave for Basic Training until the 21st of March.

Last night Charlie and Jason and I went to see Billy Madison.  Jason hadn’t seen it yet.  He will leave around noon as well.  I may never see him again.

The Power of One came on TV yesterday.  He and I watched it together.  I began to remember.

I don’t know what this next week will bring, but I do need to get away from here for a while.  I need to appreciate both of my homes again.

I miss Ryan.  I also miss Cheryl, Amy, Christi, and Tammy.  I miss Tim, Scott, Marcus, Shurby, and Pastor Steve.  I miss both of my brothers.

I miss Jenna and Tenielle.  I miss walking on the railroad tracks.  I miss my old room.  I miss playing Nintendo.  I miss innocence.

I miss Jonathan, Mike, the Neals, Danny and Peter.

I miss Deep Creek.

I miss Veronica and Sherry.

I miss Emily.

Thank you for allowing me to miss, Lord.

And I hope that I will be missed as well.

You only miss the ones you love.

March 8, 1995 – Wednesday – 2:10 p.m.

Another day.

Last night I got a call from Jeni.

“Hey, can I come up and study with you?” she asked in a happy voice.

It turns out she was in the lobby, so I let her come up.  The first thing she said was, “I just want you to know that I’m here and I’m your friend and I’m sorry about what happened at lunch.”

We studied.  We studied different subjects, but still, we studied.  And we talked.  We’re okay.  She wrote me an email message earlier today, simply wishing me luck and fun over spring break.  I replied with a simple, “thanks.”

My mom tells me that she won’t be able to pick me up until eight o’clock tomorrow night.  So, I talked with Richard and he says that he can take me as far as Greensboro.  I called mom today, but she is making me stay at the Red Carpet Inn in Greensboro since she can’t come and get me.

The Red Carpet Inn is owned by some relatives of Danny and Peter.  Mom would pick me up about three hours after I arrive there.  I don’t want to do that, but she is making me.

On top of that, I asked Charlie if I could go to the youth services tonight, but he said that some people in the church were making a big deal about me being there.  I’m college age and the groups are for high school and middle school.  He told me it would be better if I didn’t go and just waited until the skit group got started.

It really hurt.  Something was placed in my hands and then snatched away.

Why God?  Why these faces?  Why such love in this place?

Since there is so much love, why can’t a tiny bit of it be given to me?

When I woke up it was raining.  Then the rain turned into a thunder storm.  It began to thunder and lightning.  Then it grew colder and the rain turned to sleet, but it was still lightning.  As it grew colder, the sleet turned to snow and the lightning stopped.

Now, as I look outside, all I see is the freezing white snow on top of the dead grass.

There is no lightning in the air.

But there is Emily’s letter on the dresser beside me.  Oh, how I wish a storm would blow me away to Crestview, Florida.

I think about you all the time Emily.

March 7, 1995 – Tuesday – 4:45 p.m.

When lunchtime came around today, I saw an empty seat at the table where Derek, Tracey, and Jeni were sitting.

“Can I sit here?” I asked.

Derek said, “No.”

I sat down.

“Why are you still here?” he asked.

“I figured you were kidding.” I replied.

So I ate my meal and no one said a word to me.  Then, as I got up to leave, I said, “Well, thanks for helping me look like I had friends.”

I left.

During work study I checked my email.  I had three messages.  The first was from Jeni.  She goes on to tell me that she doesn’t understand me and that she doesn’t say much because she doesn’t have much to say.  Her letter was two screens long.  All she did was justify herself to make her a good little girl.

I replied back with a message that said, “You go girl!  You sure can talk a lot through a computer.  How about we just communicate that way from now on.”

I also got a message from Jonathan.  I got about four from him yesterday.  He wants to transfer to ASU.  It’s 20 miles down the road.  He also wants to spend the summer with me up here.  We will probably rent a house or an apartment with another guy.  Details will come as time passes.

As for Emily, she is one of the greatest friends I have these days.  I thank God for her, and Lord, I ask that you bless her greatly.

March 7, 1995 – Tuesday – 11:02 a.m.

Some things have happened.

Good things.

Emily and I still write to each other.  She is the beautiful girl from Florida I met in June of 1993 at Deep Creek.  Months would go by and we wouldn’t write, but during the past month or so I have received a letter from her every week; beautiful pink and scented envelopes.  I even got a letter from her yesterday.

And it is the most beautiful thing I have seen in a long time.  I will write it in here:

Jacob,

Hey!  I’m sorry to hear about you and your girlfriend, but if she tried to make you look bad, then she is a fool and you don’t need her.  That may sound awful, but you deserve better.  No one should have to put up with that!  I trust you are doing the right thing.  Don’t be her puppy, okay!

My life has been really good.  I quit basketball and softball, and now I’m doing track.  It’s alright, I’m just really out of shape!  It’s hard at the beginning, but I guess it’s worth more that way.  I love to accomplish goals.  There’s a certain dignity to it; not pride, dignity.  There is a difference.

Your acting and directing career sounds really exciting!  You have to let me star in one of your movies!  Ha Ha!  (I can be an extra!)  That’s a really nice decision for a career.  I wish you the best.

I really look forward to your letters.  I believe we have built an enormous friendship.  I feel like I’ve known you forever!  You are a unique and caring person.  Thank you so much for taking the time to care about how I feel.  So little people can even begin to understand my head.  I am a very bottomless person.  Tell me anything and I will take it for what is means to me, in my life, in my experience.  I don’t believe in analyzing everything to death.

‘Cause I am not supposed to see.

‘Cause the blind are never free.

Even in my own head I think I could hide.  Even though the sun has kissed me and embraced me I will never know the warmth of its glow, but I still have a chance to grow.  This I know, someday I’ll find…

A rose without a thorn

A lover without scorn

So that’s why I keep on looking.  Even though my head may roam my heart will always stay home.  Yet I find it searching, or better waiting.  Waiting for the perfect and pure prince to make it whole.  The King of my heart is steadfast and immovable, but who is worthy enough to be called his son?  No one I fear.  Not even I am worthy to make his chambers inside the pits of my soul.

Jacob, I am searching.

What am I looking for?

What will I find?

Thank you for all the prayers!

I need you.

I love you.

You are very special.

Love, Emily

March 4, 1995 – Saturday – 6:00 p.m.

Another weekend!

The concert was pretty good last night.  The only people who came from G.A.G. were guys.  There was a basketball game going on for the high school, so that’s where a lot of the girls and some of the guys were.  Clifton was there though and I got to sit next to him.

The Laser Tag arena was booked, so we just stayed at the church.  We rented Maverick, but before we watched it, we toilet papered the new pastor’s house as a sort of welcome.  I had lot’s of fun!

It was six in the morning by the time I went to sleep.

After a few hours of sleep, we all had breakfast at Peggy’s and then went to see Jim, the pastor.  He was outside cleaning up the toilet paper, and he was laughing.  He has a great sense of humor.

Clifton, Trae, Jamie, Jim, and Charlie and I played basketball down in the old gym.  I didn’t play that well, but then again, I never do.  Despite being tall, I’m horrible at basketball.

Pastor Jim went home and then we all just hung around in my room and Charlie’s room.  Then later, after they had left, Charlie and I drove over to Sharon’s.  Everyone was there, except for Bob.

Laura said nothing to me.  I suppose February 10th is the closest I will get to my dream.  And that will do.

Hannah baked some cookies for me.  They were yummy.  We ate Tacos and then Charlie and I came back.

The Lion King came out on video yesterday and Hannah is going to invite me over when she gets it.

I got Veronica’s new phone number this morning and I called them.  They live in Arkansas now.  They moved out there the beginning of October.  I talked to Brittany and Scott.  Shirley was asleep and Veronica and Sherry were at cheerleading tryouts.

They have my number now.  Maybe they will call back.

I also talked to my mom today over the phone.  She refreshed my memory.  Although I want to go home for spring break and see all my friends, I know that most of the time I’ll be stuck at home.  I don’t want to work, but I probably will.  Everyone else will be in school.  I also won’t have a car.  But I have no where else to go, so that’s what I will do for spring break.

And that is also where I came from.  Thank you Lord for my home.  And teach me to be more thankful for my family.

Today, as Charlie and I were driving back from Sharon’s, I looked at the beautiful mountains and listened to the soft music that was playing.  And just like the days back in Siler City and Sanford, these days here at my home in Banner Elk may be some of the greatest days I will ever know.

March 3, 1995 – Friday – 3:45 p.m.

Soft white flakes are floating outside my window.

Tonight is going to be wonderful.  At 7:30 p.m., FCA is sponsoring Mountain Top ’95.  It is an evening of Christian music, comedy, and games.  We have a singer coming and I am doing a skit with some other people.  It will be great.  Charlie is bringing some kids from G.A.G.  After the concert, we’re going to go to Johnson City to play Laser Tag and then we are having a lock-in at the church.

I’m going to be surrounded by Christians, it’s going to be wonderful.

I received my phone bill today.  It was $103.14.  I guess since I broke up with Jeni and things were weird I called a lot of people back home.

Today, after I got out of the post office, I went to play the piano in Evan’s Auditorium.  I played “A Heart Full of Love” from Les Miserables.  As I was playing, a girl came in.  I didn’t hear her come in though.

“That’s pretty,” I heard a beautiful voice say.  I looked up to see Alana.  She is a junior I believe.  We have said “hello” to each other maybe twice.

“I just had to come and see who it was.  I thought it was a recording.  That’s beautiful.”

“Thanks,” I said.

And then she was gone.

I continued to play with such happiness and joy.  And that moment reminded me of another; my graduation night when Renee smiled at me.  I was so happy and I felt like running after her and talking to her for the rest of my life.

But I didn’t, of course.

Not once, have I seen lightning strike during these winter storms.  Well, maybe once, but I had to get out of that storm’s path before it blew me away to Cincinnati.

March 1, 1995 – Wednesday – 10:35 p.m.

And now this March 1st is over.

We did not have Team Meetings tonight, so I went to C.H.I.L.L. and G.A.G., the two youth meetings at church.  The G.A.G. group went to a funeral home to see the aunt of some girl in the youth group.  But we went to the wrong one and it was some guy.  It was funny and embarrassing at the same time.

Crystal was there tonight.  We went to get some food at a place called San Dee’s in Newland, NC and then we went back to church.  We all rode in a van and had so much fun.  Crystal laughed at my jokes, as did everyone else.  Everybody thought I was funny.  New memories were made tonight.

I see a storm coming.

But it’s over three years away.

These walls in my heart are beginning to open, only to let them close again.

I will say hello, knowing I will one day say goodbye.

I will dream in the summer time, knowing Winter is on it’s way.

I will walk in fresh green grass, only to walk in the dead brown grass.

I will live through some of the best days of my life, only to relive them in retrospect.

I will let a new sun rise, knowing that the storm will come and rain tears of lightning on my world full of happiness.

I will save one more person as I whistle to The Female Bird.

I will invest in this land, knowing I will soon see it in the rearview mirror.

And I will challenge the deep, and dare to let the never-ending Canon in D continue, only to add it to my collection.

Why?

To honor Jesus and slowly save the world.