May 29, 1996 – Wednesday – 9:30 p.m.

A peaceful day.

They let me off work early.  I showered and then headed to Sanford for a haircut.  I had a good time.  The woman who cut my hair was named Amy; she was pregnant, beautiful, and very fun.  I don’t know if there is anything more beautiful than a pregnant woman.  It means someone loves her.  And is there anything more beautiful than a woman in love?

Afterwards I went walking at both Kiwanis and San Lee parks.  Memories of long ago flooded my mind.  I thought mostly of Christi and Ryan.  I two days I’ll see them both graduate high school and then I’ll head back to college, to my home.

Pastor Steve’s sermon was brilliant tonight.  I talked to him afterwards and thanked him for all of his great teaching over the years.

This is where I am from.

It might not be much now, at least to me, but the days I once knew and the days that are should not be compared.

God created this place.

It is beautiful.


May 28, 1996 – Tuesday – 9:00 p.m.

My time at McDonald’s went by very quickly today.  I had a lot of fun.  Omenya has become a joy.  She calls me “Jon Jon.”  Her nickname over in Egypt was “Mon Mon.”  She has an amazing smile and laughs at every stupid and crazy thing I do.  I’m very thankful I was able to work there this month, just so I could meet her.

I took a walk this evening.  It felt really good outside.  I live in such a simple, nice, quiet, and peaceful area.  I’m so glad I grew up here.

When I returned, I played with out new kittens.  They are so eager to explore.  So innocent.  I envy them.

After about 20 minutes, I said good bye to them and with eager eyes, they watched me walk away.

May 27, 1996 – Monday – 9:40 p.m.

It’s raining now.  Warm rain.  Legends of the Fall soundtrack is playing.  My contacts are out.  I’m wearing my glasses.  I left around 2:30 p.m. and went with Marcus to visit his day care.  So many adorable little kids there.  How innocent.  They all adore Marcus.  He adores all of them.

My  parents are taking advantage of me while I’m here.  They make me watch Nate so they can go off and they always have me washing the dishes.  They make it known to me that life is simpler for them when I am not here.  I suppose that’s good.

It’s funny how to me how life at Lees-McRae, a life full of papers, deadlines, rehearsal, meetings, homework, studying, projects, and tons of responsibility seems much simpler to me than this life of working at McDonalds, hanging out with my friends, and dealing with my family.  All of this seems so stressful and complicated.

We rented Powder tonight.  I like that movie.  It sees people from the inside.

There are times when I feel as if people are staring at me.  I feel separated.  Alone.  Wanting only to go home.  When I’m in Siler City, I want to go to Banner Elk.  When I’m in Banner Elk, I want to go to Heaven.

So, for the next four days, I’ll be waiting.  Waiting to go home, waiting for things to make sense again.

I need you Lord.

May 24, 1996 – Friday – 10:00 p.m.

Thursday night, Marcus and I went to see Mission: Impossible.  It was so good, I didn’t even eat my popcorn.  We had a good conversation there and back.

Today, Peter picked me up from work.  I spent some time over at his place and then we came over here to play computer games, work out, and then just a few minutes ago we finished watching With Honors, a sweet movie, full of truth.

At McDonald’s there are two young Egyptian brother and sister working there.  They are very funny and I have enjoyed their company these past 19 days.  Their names are Ehab and Omenya.  Names I will add to my collection.

Wednesday night, Christi invited me to attend Lee Senior’s graduation on May 31st.  I plan on going.

Both Christi and Ryan will graduate.

Then, the next morning, I am back off to Banner Elk for summer school and summer theater.

Two years ago I graduated.  Two years from now I will graduate again.

But those are only titles given by men.

I just long for God to give me the title of “Good and Faithful Servant.”

Oh, to graduate from life.

May 22, 1996 – Wednesday – 11:45 p.m.

They had too many people at McDonald’s this morning, so they let me leave at 11:00 a.m.  I came home and played on Kevin’s computer.  Then Marcus came and the two of us went to church.  We sat with Cheryl.  She has become so beautiful.

After church, Marcus and I went by to see Christi.  Only her dad was there.  We talked so long about all the kids.  Then Christi came home and it was so good to see her.  We talked about movies and it was simply great to have a person understand my level of movie talk.  She got her yearbook today.  I signed it.  She is still Christi.  We all had fun tonight.  She will forever be my friend.

The only person I haven’t seen is Ryan.  She will be in Boone next year, going to App. State.  Perhaps I will run into my ancient Winter Dream.

Thank you Lord for the past.

Thank you so much for the present.

And thank you so much more for my future.

Today is the greatest day I have ever known, and I’m sure things will only get better!

Every good thing comes from you!

May 21, 1996 – Tuesday – 4:30 p.m.

Ten more days.

Life doesn’t make sense here.  Nothing does.  I long so much to return to Banner Elk.

I am unable to sum up my sophomore year at LMC because my 9th Book of Days is stored away, but I will soon return, unpack it and dwell in those memories.

There are times when I feel so lost and alone here.

Sunday night on the way back from High Falls, I stopped to watch the perfectly round sun sneak down behind the trees miles and miles away.

That same sun has been watched by so many others.

I wonder which one is mine.

You know, everyone tries to be different and unique, but we are all basically the same.  We all need water, food, and shelter.

We are all equal.

Yet each one perceives the whole world is there for him or her.

I do remember this land when it is joyful:  Christi, Ryan, Amy, Cheryl, Jason, Anne, Scott… That was three or four years ago though.  The joy that remains here now, is knowing that I will return to my mountains.

I do remember when I dreaded to say goodbye, but now I see it as one of the greatest days of my life.

Ten days is way too long.

May 20, 1996 – Monday – 1:30 p.m.

Today is my day off.  Yesterday’s service was awesome.  We had a special speaker who delivered an amazing message.  Afterwards, Marcus and Kevin and I came home and went to the High Falls youth group that evening.  Mike came along with us.

Kenny and I drove around Siler City.  I ran into Wynne and Mark.  I haven’t seen Wynne in two years.  We talked for a while.

On the way home, Kenny drove off the road at full speed and did a 180 in a huge patch of grass.  It was pretty awesome and scary.  He’s a good kid.  He stayed here for a while last night.  All of us are discovering the world together.

I miss Vince, Curtis, Dan, Allen, and Charlie.


May 18, 1996 – Saturday – 5:10 p.m.

It’s been a few days.  I haven’t done much.  Church was really nice on Wednesday.  Pastor Steve had a really good sermon.

I have worked these past three days.  Danny and Peter have come over and we’ve played Monopoly.

I’ve simply been enjoying my time off and reading about all the summer movies that are coming out.

I am no better.

I am no less.

I am me.


The greatest.

May 15, 1996 – Wednesday – 4:00 p.m.

After I wrote in my journal on Monday, I checked the mail.  In the mailbox, I found a huge brown 8×10 envelope address to me from a person I thought I forgot.  In it, I found two letters, some cut out magazine pictures, and some candy.

One letter was written to me from her.  The other was a collection of words reaching toward a point that I haven’t completely grasped.

She wrote:

“I am the innocence discussed with the laughter of night.

Simply me.

A chance of a lifetime and to almighty God I pray.  Soul of a thousand heartaches.  New in my confidence.  Endless nights to shine.  Alone in my own world of intrigue, the spotlight is on me–maybe only to myself.  Breathing a miracle of desire.

Daring to dare.

Beauitful, beautiful, beautiful me, lost in vanity, and happy.

Confinement.  Reaching for the magical starlit sky.  Each point of light represents a new reason to pray.

Wisdom turns the hand of time as ashes of past lovers blow away like an impatient mistake I read about alone while I create my confinement.

While in confinement.

Speaking of me, I am vain.  Perhaps insecure, so I write words.

A time bomb.

Ticking, ticking, ticking.

Let me set you.

Nevertheless, I dream of hope.

Cry a little less often.


Word of a thousand languages.

Away, I am a child.

Buried in a mess, a hole.  Clock passing slowly away.

I want to sleep alone with my fears and toss and turn and dream of you (whoever you are) and sing and sing and sing with the memory.

Teach me to love, for I cannot love alone.  Love alone.  Love alone.  Love alone.

Will I suffer?  Beautiful me?  You!  Only you can scream.  Digging.  Raging.”

Perhaps like me, Emily thinks too much.

Her other letter was a normal letter:

“Guess it’s been too long.  I’ve tried to call and each time I would leave a message to a voice I didn’t recognize.  

How are you?  I feel so far away from you right now.  Don’t you miss me?

My life is really going well.  I feel like a princess because I am spoiled rotten by my friends.  Having a great time, best times of my life they say, but somehow I know it’s going to get better.  

Nothing has changed much for me.  My parents are finally divorced.  My mom and I won the lake house so we are finally going to finish it.  I am excited.  The completion of that house will close a chapter in my life.  Then I will set to leave and seek my own life.  


You are so lucky.  I know sometimes you wish to get back to high school and see your friends again.  That will be my only loss.  Well, I hope this letter finds you well, I also hope to hear from you soon.

Your Angel.”

I have a feeling that Emily is going to stay with me forever.  Whether on paper, in my arms, or in my mind, she will always be here.

Last night I went to see Jenna and Tenielle.  We spent some time fishing in a nearby pond.  The sun was setting, crickets chirping, it was very peaceful.  They are growing up.  Jenna cut her hair.  She is beautiful.

Andrea comes into McDonald’s a lot.  We smile at each other and say hello.

Kenny came over on Monday night and we watched Braveheart last night.  He was amazed by it.

My dad just brought Kevin back home.  He’s doing well.  They bought a $1900 computer.  Crazy.

Since Kevin’s grades were bad, mom has decided not to pay for his schooling.  So he’s going to live here and drive back and forth part time.  I got a letter from Lees-McRae saying that the Performing Arts Department is giving me a $3,100 scholarship.

My freshman year they gave me $750.  Sophomore was $1,475.  Now it’s $3,100!

It almost doubles each year.

Thank you Lord for blessing my life.

I love you so much.

May 13, 1996 – Monday – 3:25 p.m.

Friday night, Marcus and I went to see Twister.  It was so cool.  The best thing I’ve seen this summer yet!  The two of us had fun.  Its good to hang out with my good buddy.

I worked Saturday and then took a long bubble bath that night.

Marcus and I went to church on Sunday.  Cheryl was there.  The three of us sat together.  Then Jenna and Tenielle came in late.  It was good to see them and to hug them.  Cheryl and I rented Braveheart, picked up Amy, and watched it at her house over cheese pizza.  Sam and Anne came up, they live in Charlotte now.  They both looked good.  They bought a puppy together.

Ryan was doing something with her boyfriend and Christi was busy with her boyfriend.  Cheryl is seeing a guy named Shawn.

And Amy dyed parts of her hair blonde, and well, she looks like a skunk.

They liked the movie.  We drove to High Falls afterwards, but the youth group was cancelled due to Mother’s Day.  So they took me all the way home and then left.

I wasn’t supposed to work tonight, but they called me in and gave me tomorrow off instead.  This old guy named Herbert takes me home every time.  He is kind of funny and weird, but he loves The Lord.  We talk about Jesus on the way home.  I thank God for him.

My past is still here.  I could be part of it if I wanted to, but I don’t want to anymore.

I want to go back home.