July 31, 1995 – Monday – 8:53 p.m.

July 1995 is almost over.

August is a few hours away.

August will be amazing.  Yesterday itself was amazing.  I went to church, went to the fellowship, went to High Falls, then wen to Aberdeen with Brad, Michael, and Kenny to eat.

The fellowship was very special.  Wayne’s dad John, the current youth pastor, wasn’t having the best day.  There is something about John, he knows, he sees.  Perhaps he is a red light like Emily and I.  We spent some time talking.  He told me his problem and what was on his mind.  And knowing this was my last Sunday, he gave me some very great words of wisdom.  Like he said last year before I left:

“I envy you.”

He went on to tell me how he wished he would have pushed himself so much harder through college.  He told me to do it now.

“Do it all now.”

Really, only two or three pages have been turned in my very huge Book of Days.

His story is currently in the middle.  And I get the sense he’s not content with his life.

As I was about to leave, Marcus and 13-year-old Chris were just playing around and trying to throw each other to the ground.  I said to John, “You see that boy, he is going to be my age one day and you’re going to mean a lot to him.  Right now, all he is concerned about is throwing people on the ground, but when he is my age, he will want to lift them up, and that’s going to be because of you.”

John looked at me deeply and said, “Hug me before I cry.”

He held my body so tight.  And every fiber of he being seemed to scream out “PLEASE!!”

Please what?  I thought.

But I knew.

“Please, do it all now.”  He obviously has regrets and he doesn’t want me to.

Two or three pages.

Is that all?

Are nine books really just two or three pages?

My adventure is just beginning.

July 29, 1995 – Saturday – 9:50 a.m.

Barbie was at work yesterday.  We both ran the drive-thru.  We had a lot of fun.  I got one of the Barbie dolls McDonald’s has for the Happy Meals and had her autograph it.

She was flattered.

She gave me her address yesterday.  Perhaps we will keep in touch.

After work yesterday, Kevin, Wayne, and I went to see Waterworld.  I liked it.  It was funny.  But the ending was not very good and there were times when nothing was making sense.  The beginning was great, one of the greatest opening acts I’ve ever seen.  But, by the end of it, there wasn’t much depth to the film.  I got my money’s worth though.

Work was fun this morning as well.  Barbie was there.  Betty said that the two of us were flirting the whole time.  I guess we were, but so what.  Barbie is beautiful, funny, and we have fun together, but she is not for me.  I don’t want her.  There are so many girls that come into McDonald’s, I notice their beauty, but I don’t really desire to talk to them or anything.  I don’t know why, but I already have found what I’m looking for.

I’ve already found what I want.

I don’t know if Emily is the one for me, but I desire her greatly.

Everyone’s gone for the night.  They won’t be back until the next day.  I have the house to myself tonight.  It is still and quiet here.

I spent most of the evening just thinking about Emily.  I think about her all the time.  Five more days until I get to see her smile.

Right now, I feel like everything that I have ever seen or learned was to bring me to Emily five days from now.

God is amazing!

And tomorrow is only a peaceful night’s sleep away.

July 27, 1995 – Thursday – 8:32 p.m.

Today at work, Toni had fun picking on me.  She kept saying that she wanted to have sex with me.  She said she was a lonely married woman who needed some excitement.  She kept saying things like that all day.  She did it to make others laugh.  I played along.

But there was a moment when it was just the two of us back in the drive-thru.  She wanted me to sit on her lap, but instead I just sat beside her.  The upper part of her leg was touching mine.  I read her some poetry I wrote off the top of my head a little earlier while business was slow.  She laughed.  And in that moment I knew all that joking was coming from a place of deep pain.  She saw me as everything that her husband wasn’t.  And I believed she really did want to run away with me.

I feel sorry for her.  I later found a piece of paper in the drive-thru with some doodling on it.  It was her name, her name before she got married.  Before she married a person she doesn’t even love or like.

How I wish I could take her pain away.

This evening after I took a 2-hour nap, I called Syndi.  Her sister answered the phone.  She asked who it was.  I told her my name.

“From North Carolina?!” she said.

“Yeah, how’d you know?” I asked.

“You’re famous down here.”  she said.

Then Syndi picked up on the other line.

It seems like everyone in Florida knows me.

It was good to talk to her.  I can’t wait to see her.  I can tell she will be an important person to me this Fall.

Well, I have one more week to wait.  Seven days.  I will call Emily on Wednesday night and then see her Friday afternoon.

This Sunday is my last Sunday at church.  There is a fellowship this Sunday, but that isn’t important because I hardly have anyone there to fellowship with.  I will try to go to High Falls that night.

Sixteen days of my summer here are all that remain.  Four of them will take place near the most beautiful girl in the world.

July 26, 1995 – Wednesday – 4:07 p.m.

It is amazing to see how things are taking care of themselves.  I ran the back booth of the drive-thru today.  One customer gave me a weird look and said, “Aren’t you Jacob?”

Not recognizing who it was, I said, “yeah.”

“Don’t you remember me?”  She said with puppy dog eyes.

And then I knew.  It was Andrea.  Amazing!  How beautiful this girl was.  So young.  Yet, she had seen so much.

We asked each other a few questions, but overall, my elementary school sweetheart is okay.  Her kids were in the car with her.  She is a mom and she will be one forever.

It seems as if so many small stories are being wrapped up for me.  I believe God is showing me that my work in certain situations here is over.

Stories are closing because a bigger one is beginning.

For whatever it is worth Andrea…

You are special to me.

July 25, 1995 – Tuesday – 11:22 p.m.

Around 2:00 p.m. today, this day looked like it was going to be a total bummer, but I found joy in the end.

Last week, on Tuesday the 18th, I went to the eye doctor for a few contact prescription.  Before my eyes were -5.00.  Now they are -6.00.  She gave me a trial pair.  I wore them, but my right eye never seemed to keep the contact in place.  Today, I was supposed to go back since it had been a week.  So, after calling Jenna and Tenielle, and making a haircut appointment with their mom, plus shaving Jonathan’s head, Kevin, Nate, Wayne, and I went to Sanford.  We dropped Wayne off and then I went to the eye doctor at Wal-Mart to find out the vessels in my right eye-lid are swollen up and I can’t wear contacts for six weeks.

I don’t have any glasses, so I had to buy some.  They will come in about 10 days.  I have to see out of only my left eye until then.  This news totally bummed me out because I’m going to see Emily in Florida.  I obviously want perfect vision when I’m around perfect beauty.  But the glasses don’t look that bad and I do have one contact.  So things are still okay.

I got my hair cut while Nate went swimming.  Kevin and I came back to go to a movie with Peter and his cousin.  We saw Clueless in Asheboro.  It was great!  One of the greatest I had seen all summer.  It was just simple and funny.  I laughed so loud so many times.

I’m looking forward to seeing Emily.  I am going to have the greatest time.

Nine more days.

I see things here coming to a close again like last summer.

I will not be able to go to Deep Creek this summer.  I need to stay here and work so I can go to Florida.  It is worth giving up though.

I’m leaving for Banner Elk on the 13th now instead of the 14th.  So in 18 days I will begin my Fall semester and the summer will be over.

Eighteen days left of summer.

Nine more days of eager anticipation.

And this eager anticipation is what has made the summer of ’95 unique.

Goodbye yesterday.

Hello tomorrow.

July 25, 1995 – Tuesday – 8:53 a.m.

Last night was Interesting.  We did go to the MXPX concert.  A group named Blenderhead was there too.  Although it was a Christian place called the Vertical, a lot of weird people with weird haircuts, tattoos and body piercings were there.  It wasn’t my thing, but I learned a lot.  It might have been Christian music, but my spirit was not lifted up.  There were moments when everyone around me was slam dancing.  I would just look up and think about Emily.

Wayne spent the night last night.  He and I plus Marcus and Kevin were talking about girls and how little Wayne had turned into a ladies man.  Then Kevin said that I was the Lady man.  He was referring to Emily.  None of them know Emily like I do.  All they see is her beautiful girl in the picture beside my bed.  I see so much more.

I laid in my bed last night thankful and almost in tears.  God knew what he was doing.  He had to show me the real Emily before he would allow me to see Emily in person.  There is so much I don’t know about Emily.  But I do know that I want her.  She is strong in who she is.  We are from two different worlds.

She is sunlight.

And I moon.

Knowing who she is, she searched for another red light like her.  And she found one over two years ago in a mystical land of forest-covered mountains and endlessly-giving waterfalls.  She realized I was special, even when I did not.

So, this is our story.

I am sure in her own way she is writing down her part.

The rest of the world does not see us.  They do not notice.  They do not care.

But, to me, the rest of the world hardly exists.

There is a place called Siler City.

And there is a place called Sanford.

There is a place called Banner Elk.

And there is a place called Boone.

There is a place called Crestview.

And there is a place called Heaven.

That is all I know.

July 24, 1995 – Monday – 4:08 p.m.

Last night was my last Sunday night at church.  I will be away all of the other Sunday nights.  I have been a part of that youth group for six years.  The youth group itself began with a guy named Mike.  I was there at the ripe age of 13.  I have gone through all of the youth pastors:  Mike, Mark, Hank, Pastor Steve, Jason, Pastor Steve again, Shurby.  Shurby doesn’t do it anymore now either.

My greatest days were those with Jason.  He still inspires me even though he is not around.  But when he was here, I was 16-years-old and wanting to soak up anything I could that dealt with theater and drama.  Jason taught me so much.

But those wonderful days have faded away, just like all the rest.

These days, I strive to grow closer to God and closer to Emily.  I also was to succeed at everything I attempt during my time at Lees-McRae College.  Which reminds me…while at Fishnet ’95, Jonathan, one of the guys we met, told me about a film school in Virginia Beach.  Then the next day, while I was talking to one of the speakers, he mentioned the same film school, named Regent University that is sort of associated with CNN, a Christian cable network.  Anyway, since two people at Fishnet, on two back-to-back days, encouraged me to check out this film school, well, I think the Lord is trying to tell me something.

I will look into it.

Last night, on the way back from church, Marcus and I about got hit by a car.  So, we followed the car a little ways through Goldston.  Then another truck was following us.  Then finally, after the first car was long gone, we pulled over and the truck behind us stopped, got out and approached us.  It turned out, the drivers of the truck were the parents of the girl in the car we were following and they thought we were stalking her.  Evidently, she’s been having a lot of guys stalk her recently.  I thought it was a funny little misunderstanding, but Marcus got really shook up by the father accusing us.

Everything is okay; we all apologized.

I think I’m going to go to a MXPX concert tonight with Kevin and Marcus.  They are a Christian group that sounds like Greenday.  Hopefully I’ll have fun.

Ten more days until August 4th.

I got a letter from Emily a few days ago with a little hand-drawn map of how to get to her house.  In it was a little card that said this:

“Jacob,

It’s hard to believe you are coming here.  I may not let you leave.  My prince may never return.  I don’t want to lose you.

I’ve been doing really good lately.  I’m just so happy for no reason at all.  Nothing can bring me down from this natural, beautiful high I’m on.  I can’t wait to share it with you!  My anticipation burns inside me.  I can’t hide my smile.

I love you.

Emily”

I was right, on the directions I noticed a bridge I had to cross.

July 22, 1995 – Saturday – 9:50 p.m.

At this moment, here in my corner of North Carolina, the air is peaceful.  It is misty and quiet outside.  Only the crickets are talking.

I watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture tonight.  It made me realize that if I was all alone, I would create someone like Emily to commune with.  So, that is why God created me.  Therefore, I will worship and commune with Him and in doing so, he wishes to give me the desires of my heart which opens the door to thousands of little stories each day.

It is as simple as that.

This morning at McDonald’s, I ran the back drive-thru booth.  Barbie did not work today, but she came through the drive-thru with her sister and friend.  She looked different.  She was beautiful.  She said that tomorrow was her birthday.  She will be 21-years-old.  Hopefully, I will see her next weekend.

To continue with Emily and I…we wrote each other for almost two years.  Even while I searched for things in Ryan, Christi, Jenna, Tenielle, and Jeni, I wrote to her.  Around the time Jeni and I broke up, she opened up a little more and so did I.  Our letters began to express personal feelings and I called her on March 26, 1995.  We have been calling and writing ever since and have decided to meet in person in eleven days.

I would go into more detail with each letter, but I’ve written many of them in the pages of these journals and I’m sure whoever you are in the future that has found this collection of my Books of Days, that those letters from Emily are not far away.

Goodnight Emily.

And goodnight Jesus.

May I have a peaceful sleep.

July 21, 1995 – Friday – 8:00 p.m.

In two weeks, I will be in the arms of an angel.

For my own pleasure and for your information, I am going to recap everything that has happened between Emily and I beginning with the days before June 19, 1993.

We (Marcus, Kevin, Ben, Peter, Danny, Tim, Mark, and myself) were at Deep Creek Campground near Bryson City, North Carolina.  We had a campsite by the bathroom.  During that week, I slept in a small yellow tent, not knowing that the girl of my dreams was sleeping about three hundred feet away.  Throughout the week I saw this beautiful girl walk through our campsite to the bathroom.  But on the final night of our trip, three hours before we were going to leave, a member of our group dares Mark to ask her to play cards with us.  He does and she says yes, but that we have to play at her campsite so she can watch her little cousin.  We begin to play rummy, I am sitting across from her and for the first time I look really closely, and wow, the way the lantern light was reflecting in her eyes, the structure of her chin…I remember them…a truly bright and beautiful face.

I do not know how to play, so she volunteers to teach me, but she says I’ll have to sit next to her.  So she makes one of the other guys move, and I sit next to her.  The card that she needs is an 8 and it’s the next card that lands on the table.  She leans her head towards me.  Her forehead touches my hair and she whispers, “Whomp…there it is!” into my ear.

That was our first touch.

It’s time for her cousin to go to sleep, so we all head back to our campsite.  Mark, obviously feeling a taste of jealousy, reserves a place for her to sit by him and he places me on the other side of the table, as far away from her as I could possibly be.  Time passes.  We begin playing card tricks and she says that she knows a good one, but that she needs a partner and she instantly says that I’m going to be her partner.  So, we go off to the side, by the tents and away from the picnic table and she explains the trick to me and my role in it.  While over there, we hear the guys whispering and making a big deal about this gorgeous girl giving little nerdy me all the attention.  Tim, even steps over and takes a picture of us.

Back at the table, we sit next to each other and begin the trick.  While everyone tries to figure it out, we switch things up through whispers in each other’s ears and taps on each other’s legs.  We laugh, we smile, yet we have no idea of the years to come.

We are listening to Carman during all this and she asks me to turn it down a little.  And then she says, “Don’t get me wrong, I like Carman.”  I’m so shocked she even knows who Carman is.  I ask if she’s a Christian and she says, “No only am I a Christian, I’m a real Christian.

Time for goodbyes come.  We get each other’s addresses.  I walk her back to her campsite and when I turned around to walk to the car I heard the Lord whisper in my ear, “Here Jacob, this is for you.”

This concludes our first meeting.

Our meetings with ink and paper began shortly after that.

I will go into detail with that later.

July 18, 1995 – Tuesday – 9:17 p.m.

My Ninth Book of Days.

Nine books!

Can you believe that?

Twenty-nine sections!

This section will contain a lot.  First of all, Marcus and I will take a short trip down to Florida.  There I will see and hold Emily.  Shortly after that, I will return to Lees-McRae College in beautiful Banner Elk, NC.  Several new stories will begin there.  And this book will contain them all.

To begin My Ninth Book of Days I will tell a few stories that began yesterday.  On Monday morning, Hank, Patti, Christi, and her friend Nicole came through the drive-thru of my McDonald’s in Siler City.  Yes, they surprised me.  They were taking Christi and Nicole to Statesville where the two girls were joining a group that would tour the United States for the rest of the summer.  She will not be back, I believe, before I leave for school.

I watched them drive off and I remembered those days.

Last night Kevin and Marcus and I visited the Vernoica’s family at Tim’s place before they left for Arkansas.  Shirley’s visit really ministered to me, but as for Veronica…not only is she in another state, but also in a totally different world from mine.

Today, or this evening rather, my car broke down on the way back from getting my eyes checked in Sanford.  I was on 421, so I walked in the rain to a house and called home, Marcus, the Neals, and Tim, but no one answered.  Then a number I had put to memory long ago popped into my head.  Amy answered the phone.  She and her dad came to help me.  He let me drive his truck back to their house to get some jumper cables while he stayed with the car.  And then, at that house, I found Ryan, back from her trip with Cheryl to Florida.  Cheryl, however, is still in Florida.  Small talk was made.  Amy and I drove back to the car, but before I left, I told Ryan jokingly that I would see them the next time the car breaks down.  There is probably a bit of truth in that though.

And Cheryl will return from Florida after I have left for Lees-McRae.

Whether it is sad or not…those five stories:  Christi, Veronica, Ryan, Amy, and Cheryl…seem to be coming to a close.

All is said and done.

. . .

After our goodbyes last night, Kevin and Marcus and I went to the Total Man Forum meeting.  There we talked about sex, courtship, and marriage.  The meeting was great.  Then men in my church are very wise.  One day… I will be too.

. . .

It is obvious that most of my writings in this book will deal with Emily in some way.  I have grown attached to her.  As I look back in my life, I feel like I have deeply loved so many people, but whenever I began to truly care about Emily, they all seemed like childish infatuations in comparison.  So, no matter what may come of us, I will be thankful, because not everyone is given the chance to entertain an angel.