March 22, 1994 – Tuesday – 12:31 a.m.

The Oscars just went off.  Steven Spielberg’s two movies, Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, together were nominated for 15 awards.  Ten of those 15 went to his movies.

And tonight Whoopi Goldberg said, “And to the kid sitting at home saying, ‘One day one of those is going to be mine.’ Well, you got it!”

Thanks Whoopi.

December 31, 1993 – Friday – 3:40 p.m.

Hi!  Last night I had a dream.

But first, welcome to my 5th Book of Days!  It’s almost 1994!

Okay, the dream I had last night was so real, I’ll try to explain it the best I can:

I was at church.  I was with someone.  A girl.  I don’t know how she got there, but the girl was Emily.  We were outside preparing to go home.  I said something like, “Well, either Henry lets us drive the other car or we have to ride home with him.”  Next thing I know, Henry is telling Kevin that he has to ride home with him so Emily and I can drive home together and be alone.  Kevin questions him, but Henry says thats just the way things are.  But suddenly Emily shows up standing next to her own car and says, “We can take mine.”  I repeat what she says and Clay agrees.

At first, it seemed like Emily was driving and we were having a conversation.  We said about four or five sentences to each other, I can’t remember what, but the next thing I know, I’m driving, but I’m still in the passenger seat and the steering wheel is on my side.  Emily is lying down in the seat and her head is lying in my lap.  With one hand I am driving and I ask her something along the lines of, “What do you want?”

She kisses me and says, “That’s what I want.”

Don’t laugh, but for the next five minutes we are kissing while I’m driving and keeping one eye on the road.

Suddenly we are in the parking lot of the Siler City Motor Lodge and my Dad and Kevin and Grandma are there to pick me up.  Isn’t that weird?

So it seems that Emily is gone and we are all getting into my Dad’s car.  Then Emily comes back with gifts and says, “I just want to say that it was great meeting all of you.”  The gift for my Dad was an application to fill out so she could write my Dad.  Grandma got a lot of famous newspaper articles.  I don’t know what Kevin got, but I received three tapes and three CDs of Broadway musicals.  I don’t even own a CD player.  I also got newspaper articles about the musicals.  

We said goodbye.  And the rest of us got into the car.  Emily came back again and gave me a picture of a key that she had cross-stitched.  There was a poem on it as well, relating to it being the key to her heart.

Then we promised we would call the other person soon and it was over.  She was gone.

When I woke up, I was so happy and I was wondering where my tapes were.  It took me forever to figure out it had all been a dream.

I was so disappointed.  What did all that crazy stuff mean?

I wonder if I’ll see Emily again.  Hopefully we’ll plan our Deep Creek trips to be at the same time this summer.

This past summer, when we played card for three hours, was so wonderful.  We started out playing spades; I think I didn’t know how to play, so she said she would teach me.  I sat next to her and she explained everything.  I watched her play as she told me what she needed and why.  One time she said that she needed an eight and then it showed up on the table.  She laid her forehead against the side of my head and whispered, “Whomp, there it is,” as she giggled.  I was so shocked.  She touched me.  She whispered to me and me alone.  It was like she was there with me and completely ignoring the other seven handsome young men surrounding her.  I wish I could make you understand how beautiful this girl was.  Girls this beautiful aren’t supposed to show guys like me that much attention.  It’s just not how I’ve come to see the way the world works.

Later on, she needed a partner in a card trick she wanted to show us.  All the other guys immediately raised their hands and volunteered, but she picked me.  By the end of those three hours, we had an entire system of nonverbal communication going.  In order to make the trick work, I would tap her underneath the table on her knee to let her know which side of the card I was going to point to; it was a complicated card trick.

Anyway, 1993 is almost over.  Here I am at the end of the year, with it’s last hours fading away, and I’m not thinking about Veronica, or Ryan, or Christi, or even Jenna or Tenielle; but about Emily, a girl I saw for only three hours, half a year ago.  

Almost a year ago, God told me that it would all begin in 1993.  Was he referring to Emily?  I don’t know.  But either way, He was right.  It did begin.  So much happened that will lead me into the years to come.

December 28, 1993 – Tuesday – 8:43 p.m.

My Grandpa came to visit me today.  He is still the wisest man I know.  I hope I will be like him when I am his age.  Wouldn’t it be something if I kept writing My Book of Days past sixty?  Over 50 years of my life written down.

I just read the introduction in my new Les Miserables book.  Victor Hugo finished writing the book of his life when he was sixty.  I’m 17 and I think Challenger’s Deep is the book of my life.

What will all these days mean to me when I’m sixty?  I’m almost done with my fourth Book of Days.  Is any of this important?

My life has hardly begun.

But nevertheless, it has begun.  I’m here.  I am on this earth, and I can’t leave.  I have to be here.  I often think if I would be a different person if I were born into another family and another environment.  But now that I think about it, it is stupid to think that way.  This is the only life I’ve ever known.  God gave me this life.  I don’t have a choice.  I am me, whoever I am.

I guess that is ultimately up to me to decide.  God gave me free will, but in that free will he gave me characteristics of who he created me to be.  He has a will, but it is up to me to live up to it.

Have I figured myself out yet?  I believe I have.  I know I have.  The people I’ve come in contact with know that I’m a person who loves Jesus, loves the theater, tells stupid jokes, is inspired by Les Miserables, and sees himself as something valuable in the future.  I am a person with hope.  I person with joy.  This is my duty.  I can’t be anyone else.  I guess the beautiful thing is, I like who I am.  I like hanging out with me.  I like who I have to be and need to be for other people.

This could actually be fun.

December 27, 1993 – Monday – 11:06 p.m.

Today I went shopping with Kevin and Dad.  I bought two pairs of jeans, a complete unabridged 1460 page paperback edition of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, and a new cast recording of Guys and Dolls.

Guys and Dolls is okay, but not nearly as good as Les Miz, Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, or Cats.

In the Bible, it says to praise the Lord and thank him for His work.  Well, today I saw some amazing and beautiful works at the mall.  God had a good thing in mind when he created women.

This evening I played a game called “Slot Poker” on Dad’s computer.  Just seeing the cards reminded me of the first time I met Emily up at Deep Creek.  I got a letter from her a few weeks ago and I sent her a Christmas card.

I miss her.

Those three hours spent with her, a complete stranger at the time, were wonderful.  But that was in June, and it is nearly January.

We are supposed to plan our Deep Creek trips for ’94 at the same time.  That would be so awesome if I got to see her again.

Please God.

Let it happen.

I don’t know why she’s on my mind God, but please take care of her.

Thank you.

December 25, 1993 – 7:23 p.m. – Saturday

Christmas is almost over.

I got tons of clothes, praise God!  I also received some tapes and other stuff.  I’ll be up here for another week.  I’m going to miss church tomorrow.  Although I’m up here in Virginia, my mind and heart is still back in Sanford, NC.

I’ve been thinking about Jenna.  She may be 13, but why not take her out just to get to know her some.  We’ll see!

Today, I looked at my grandparents, they have been married for over 40 years.  Is that not amazing!  They’re so old.  One day that is going to be me.

Well, I really don’t know what to write.  I’m almost at the end of this notebook, this fourth Book of Days.  I’ve already bought my fifth book and I brought it with me to Virginia.

Once I get back to school, I have only eight days left in the semester.  Then I start four new classes: Advanced Math, Honors English IV, Computer Applications II, and Library Aid.  It will be harder than the first semester.

Today, I went over to my Aunt Katherine’s to practice Canon in D on her keyboard.  It’s coming along.  Everyone keeps saying, “who taught you to play the piano?”  I just smile.

Well guys, nature is calling at the south end.  I must be going. 

December 24, 1993 – Friday – 11:55 p.m.

In five minutes it will be Christmas Day.  Happy Birthday Jesus!

I’m in Virginia and yesterday turned out to be different.  After I wrote in my journal, Cheryl called me and wanted to know if I wanted to do anything with her, Amy, Ryan, and Christi.  I said sure, but I didn’t have a car.

So, those plans were shot, but after I came home, we went shopping in Sanford.  Mom had to go talk to our pastor about something, so she dropped me off at Christi’s.  Christi wasn’t there, but Jason was.  It was good to see him and he is doing fine.

Mom came back a few minutes later, the pastor wasn’t home.  What she had to talk to him about deals with Kevin.  I know most of it, and I cannot tell a soul.  It is a very mature matter.  Perhaps I’ll write about it later.

We left early this morning to arrive in Virginia.  And now it been Christmas for a few minutes.

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 1993 – Thursday – 11:10 a.m.

The day turned out different than I thought it would, although it isn’t over yet.

A few days ago, I figured I would talk to Jenna and Tenielle on Wednesday night and even though I just wanted to be their friend, we would still do something together today, since I would be in town getting some last minute shopping done.

Well, it snowed, and last night I didn’t really get to talk to them.  I also wanted to see Jason and Christi, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be able.  We leave tomorrow morning really early.  

I mailed Christmas cards off.  With Ryan, I just wanted to share everything with her about how I used to feel, but I didn’t, I just said Merry Christmas and thanks.

I miss Christi so much.  Cheryl gave me a Christmas Card and a candy cane last night.  So did Ryan and Amy.

It’s been a month and four days since I’ve seen Les Miserables.  That’s hard to believe.

It’s been a year since I’ve seen Brandon.

A year.

Brandon and I tried to tip a cow one time, but it was awake.  That was last November.

In Anne’s Christmas card, I told her when she gets back to college to take her time and not come back so soon.  Because when she comes back for the summer, that means its almost time for me to leave.

I don’t want to leave.

It’s too perfect here, but I know I must go.

Already it seems like I’m gone.  But I still have eight and a half months.

When I spent the night at Danny and Peter’s, it felt so weird.  It wasn’t my bed, it wasn’t my shower, it wasn’t my shampoo.

I’ve grown too accustomed to this place, but soon I’ll get used to another shower.

Right now, I’m in my room, my home, but it seems as if I’m so much farther away.

December 13, 1993 – Monday – 3:57 p.m.

A year ago, Veronica and I began a special type of relationship that ended on May 11th of this year.

I always thought a year was a long time.

A year is a very short time.  Trust me.

Yesterday was special to me.  When I came to church Tenielle and Jenna were there.  And the three of us helped bring chairs from the sanctuary to the children’s church room.  It was being set up for the Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner.  Jenna had brought one extra so she was carrying it back.

I was behind her and she said, “This is pitiful, me carrying this thing back.”

So I said, knowing what she was hinting at, “Well, let me be gentlemen like and carry it for you.”

She thanked me.

The two of them still call me dude.

After praise and worship I went into children’s church.  Jenna and Tenielle didn’t go.  Their too old.  While in there, I overheard Shane in conversation.  Now Shane used to go with Tenielle for about two weeks; you know how 12-year-old are.  I heard him tell Wayne that he couldn’t let him read “it” because it had a lot of cussing in it.

I butted in and said, “What does?”

“A letter.”

“From whom?”

“From Tenielle.”

An evil smirk filled my face.  “Let me read it.”

He did.

Wow!

She was mad.

Shane broke up with her for some ninth grader.  She said a few choice four letter words, a few of them even misspelled.  I got mad.  I didn’t think Tenielle was like that.  I was going to say something to her, but they left church while I was still in children’s church.  I would wait until that night.

I wasn’t going to say anything bad, I was just going to give her a little conviction by saying she shocked me, but that I will not think any less of her.

Why should I?

Ryan once admitted to me that she smoked a few times in her past.

I will not judge people by their past.  Because I would not want to be judged by the sins of my past.

His mercies are new every morning.

Cheryl came back with us yesterday.  She wanted to go to Marcus’s performance.  We both went.  It was great.  Better than before.

Once it was over, it was time for church.  We arrived early and I practiced Canon in D some.

Tenielle wasn’t there that night.  Bummer.

The service was awesome!  I love Jesus.  He loves me.  Everything is going to be fine.

Every person has their own song that he or she worships the Lord with.  I used to wonder what mine was.  Last night I found out it was Canon in D.  And once I learn how to play it, I will worship God with it.

In the back of my mind, I always knew it was Canon in D.

After church Sharlene came up to me (everyone calls her Shar for short).  She asked me if I asked Veronica out or if she asked me out.  I told her that I asked her out.  She said she didn’t want to know, that someone else did.

“Who?”

“Jenna!”

Jenna is 13, she’s pretty and sweet.  But that is still too young.

She said that Jenna likes me.

Oh well, I was flattered.  Shar said the reason they were not at church was because they had to babysit.  I questioned her about the letter from Tenielle.  She said she was shocked herself.  Tenielle isn’t like that, she must have been really mad.

That made me feel a little better.

Scott then took us all to McDonald’s.  Many families from the church were there.  One of Wayne’s cousins name was Christina; she’s seven years old and her family moved here from Florida.  She is so sweet.  She’s my little buddy.  But at McDonald’s last night, I had to leave, but she didn’t want me to.  She wanted me to stay and play with her.  When I told her that I couldn’t stay, she reached up and grabbed my balls and squeezed.  This girl knew right where to grab.  It hurt.  She said she was sorry and to please not tell on her.

I didn’t.  She’s just an innocent little girl.

A lot more stuff happened yesterday, but, as before, they were only simple looks, and gestures, and words that only mean something to me and to no one else.

December 9, 1993 – Thursday – 11:01 p.m.

Tonight I went to Nana’s christmas concert at her school.  It was wonderful and she did a great job!

I brought my huge Les Miz painting to show her.  She loved it and said she wanted it.

But I think I’m going to keep it.

Of all my art work, I will keep that one for myself.

I gave her a ride home.

She had to talk to me about her problems she is having with her boyfriend.  She was almost in tears, and Nana hardly ever cries.

Tomorrow, I work again and then after that I’m going to Mr. Gatti’s in Sanford.  The youth group is having an after-basketball get-together since it is a home game.

Saturday will be the usual, I guess.  Sunday we have a special event in Children’s church.  And also, my high school’s Christmas concert is at 3:00 that afternoon.  Marcus is singing in it.

Christmas break starts a week from tomorrow.

1993 has flown by.  Which means 1994 will fly by too.

I wish time would slow down.  Just a little bit.

December 8, 1993 – Wednesday – 10:28 p.m.

This can’t be happening!

What’s wrong with you Jacob?

You are not going to go through all of that wonderful trouble again.  The wonderful trouble that began a year ago this time.

You’re not going to do it Jacob!

No matter what, you are going to be her friend and nothing more.

Do you understand me?

I just can’t believe it.  Tonight was pure Deja Vu!

Deja Vu of dates like December 6, 1992 and December 9, 1992.

And look at today, it’s December 8, 1993!

Let me just explain it from the beginning:

I guess it was about two Sundays ago, on the 28th of November.  I was in the Boot Camp Sunday School class and two girls walked in.   They were beautiful.  Ever since then they have been coming to church at every service with another girl.  They even came on Saturday during the door to door ministry thing.

One girl I noticed.  But all of them hung around Wayne and Shane so I thought they were around that age.

Tonight I went up to Wayne, and he was with the three girls.

Wayne said something and I said, “Dude!”

And they all made fun of me for saying that.  I noticed one girl had a northern accent, “Are you from New York?” I asked.

She said, “No, from New Jersey!”  And we started talking.

It was brief, she had to go.  She is the same girl I noticed.  Her name is Tenielle.  Her friends are Jenna and Sunny.

They left and I talked to Wayne.  He said that Tenielle had a crush on me and that he like Jenna.

Shocked, I asked him her age.  He said either 12 or 13.  Whew.  This girl is very developed for a 12 or 13-year-old.  

Then boom!  It all came to me again.  Veronica.  How come the only girls who like me are either suicidal or five years younger than me? And I promised myself right then, I know from experience, I will not be anything more than a friend to her.  I’m not going back to that again.  Things will be better if I’m just her friend.  As my pastor said, “Why does this relationship have to be boyfriend/girlfriend?”

My point is made.