January 1, 1997 – Wednesday – 1:11 p.m.

After I finished last night’s journal entry I figured I would lay in my bed and listen to a little Enya until 8:30 p.m. and then leave for Christi’s.  I did.  And when I opened my eyes, to my surprise, it was 2:00 a.m.  I had slept right through the final hours of 1996.

At first I was upset, but then I was content.  That was my last chance to see Christi for quite a while, but my whole lift is still ahead of me.  I went back to sleep and awoke again at 8:30 this morning.

I showered and then watched Joe Versus the Volcano again with Nate.  He laughed at the fishing part.  Around 10:30, Henry and Nate went to the park to race Nate’s RC Car he got for Christmas.  I had the house to myself.

So, I decided to start the year off right.  I spent some time with my Lord.  I played Rebecca St. James music and walked around the house praising God, and praying in the spirit.  I also washed the dishes, lifted weights, and thought about my Bible Study group, especially Abigail.  I’m looking forward to Saturday.  Marcus is going to drive me up.  Timothy may follow.  I miss Josh.  I miss him purposely stopping by to annoy me at the most inappropriate time.  I think that’s his way of showing you you’re his friend.  I miss them all, but we’ll all be together by the end of the weekend.

. . .

You know, I’ve been wondering.  What if, say a while into the future, there was a way to send objects back in time.  What if I sent my first 11 Books of Days back to November 14, 1992 when I first started writing in them.  Would I read them?

If I would have known back in 1992 what my life would be like in 1997, I wouldn’t have believed my own writing.  Look at all that God has given me.  I have friends, several families, so much opportunity, wow!

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000.

Here we go.  This is actually insanely fun.  I don’t know what’s going to happen.  And don’t tell me.  I’m having too much fun right now to care.

July 25, 1996 – Thursday – 1:35 a.m.

Wednesday has been fun.  I took a walk early this morning to pray and I took a picture of a spider web glistening in the morning sun.  We discussed an interesting topic in Psychology and the box office was slow today, but I enjoyed my peaceful solitude.

The youth group went to the beach this week, so there wasn’t a big crowd at church.  We discussed Proverbs 8 and I made some comments.  I heard an older gentleman behind me say, “Yeah, I agree with Jacob.”  That was good to hear.

Kate is staying at Charlie’s house while he is away at the beach.  Allen and Curtis and I hung out there and watched the Olympics.  We left and got back here around 10:30 p.m.  Curtis and I were hungry, so we went to Mel’s Diner with Melissa, Ivy, and Kenny.  We had a good time and laughed a lot.  I bought my next Book of Days notebook.

Almost 10 books.

Almost 20-years-old.

I’m alive.

This is the only time I will be on God’s green earth.

So, I’m writing it down, just in case someone down the line would like to read my small, small story.

 

October 31, 1995 – Tuesday – 1:15 p.m.

Little Women was great; everyone did an awesome job!  Church was wonderful on Sunday as well.

Last night I ran the FCA table at the Halloween carnival.  Some people who were in Little Women were there and I talked with them.  Something else happened at the carnival, but I’ll tell you about that later.

We are going to the Brian White and Justice concert tonight.

Tracey turns 20-years-old today.

October is coming to a close.  And after almost 3 1/2 months, it seems that my 9th Book of Days will finally do the same.

September 28, 1995 – Thursday – 12:05 p.m.

The show has been going great.  I get a lot of laughs.

I borrowed the Broadway recording of Beauty and the Beast.  It is so beautiful.  And it makes me think.  It is filled with such a romantic view of love and that is currently missing from my life.  I am around girls all the time.  I go out with different girls.  But there is no one here who I would even consider wanting to share a romantic relationship with.  I sometimes wonder if something so true and romantic could even happen in real life.  Does romantic love exist only in the movies?  Only in broadway musicals?

Even as I looked out from underneath the bridges of Chambers County in Alabama I looked forward to the days I would hold an angel.  But I departed Emily’s house in Crestview broken and at a loss.  Confused.  Hurt.  And sad.

But I survived and looked forward to returning to Lees-McRae.

That day came and Heaton Christian Church was there to welcome me.  And I now call this place home.

Crystal and Clifton threw me a birthday party.  RA training came.  Students came.

I looked for romance in Syndi and in doing so, I hurt James.

But peace was made between us.  Before that I spent four days in the high mountains, instead of sea level shores, with a soul that I still try to reach, but backs away.

photo

Sunlight dances on the waters.  Everything is perfect.  But nothing lasts forever.

Holding hands?  Yes.

Closeness?  Yes.

But only skin deep.

Not what I want.

New friends are made.  They make me laugh.  College life is simple and fun.  Charlie and I still have good conversations about our faith that helps us to grow.

Antigone arrives and I show my talent.  People I don’t even know come up to me and compliment me on a job well done.  I became the best RA.  I witness and minister to people.

I love my Jesus.

But I don’t know.  Sometimes I stop and I listen.  I look.  I stare.  I search.  I look for a perfect person, another soul out there that I can cling to.

Special moments come along, but in my mind I see a smile from Christi.

Beautiful girls are all around me, yet I remember the laughter from Ryan.

Why do I want something so far away and so long ago?

But even in the past I can’t find the perfect soul.

I only find that in Jesus.

I can’t even find that perfect person in myself.

I look for something true and pure, because I long to be true and pure.

Perhaps someone else is looking for someone true and pure?  Perhaps I can be that person for them?

If I can’t find her.

Then maybe she can find me.

There is no reason to live, if I can’t do it the right way.  If I can’t do it God’s way.  I do this for Him.

No pain could be deeper.

No life could be cheaper.

No point anymore, if I can’t do this for my Lord.

He has washed me clean.

Let me begin.

Jesus is next to me.

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September 15, 1995 – Friday – 10:17 a.m.

Last night Craig and I had to write up a guy on my wall named Joey for having a bottle of whiskey in his room.  It was interesting and sort of fun.

Wednesday night after rehearsal and FCA I went with Jeff, Vince, and Allen to Beech Mountain.  We ran up a ski slope to a fountain and gazebo and then found the Land of Oz.  It’s like a different world up there.

436_Oz-Road

They are pretty cool guys.  Vince and Allen are from New York.  Jeff is from Richmond, Virginia.  And Dan is from West Virginia.  I might go home with Dan for fall break.  I haven’t decided yet.

On Wednesday I went up to Syndi’s room to give her my calculator.  She said she doesn’t see me anymore.  I said, “Well, the other day you said you didn’t like people assuming we were a couple and you wanted to put up a sign saying so, so by staying away I just put up the sign for you.”

She laughed and shook her head.  Which were two opposing messages.  Will I ever understand women?

I’m looking forward to the weekend so I can catch up on some homework.  I believe tomorrow I’m going to go to Boone to audition for being extras in some movies being shot in the region.

This 9th Book of Days here has covered two months already and I’m just halfway through.  I thought everything in this little green notebook would be about Emily, but I was wrong.  Syndi came along, but perhaps she has already left.

And now…

Well, I just take it a day at a time, making new friends, striving to be a better actor, and loving the Lord.

Please be with me Father.  Please stay close.

September 12, 1995 – Tuesday – 10:55 a.m.

Syndi came over Saturday and got all of her books, clothes, and other stuff that somehow got left here.  And then she went back to her room.  I asked her to go to church with me on Sunday, but she said no.  Sunday came and I hardly saw her.  Monday came, my Kleenex were in her car, so I got her keys and got them out.  I’ve had a little cold, but I’m okay.  After I picked them up, I spent maybe 20 minutes in her room.  She said that someone asked her if we were dating.

“People ask me that all the time.” I said.

“It really annoys me.  I believe I’m going to put up a sign.”

I played along with her words.  Then she said, “Would you be hurt if I asked you not to come home with me for fall break?”

I said, “No, not at all…I was actually expecting you to ask me that.”

She came up with the excuse that she didn’t want me to feel uncomfortable around her friends who drink, but I know the real reason is because she didn’t want to feel uncomfortable around me as she drank.

She finally decided that she didn’t want “my world” and “my Christian lifestyle.”

Things are okay.  We still talk, but I doubt that we ever hold hands above a waterfall again.

And look at the today’s date.

September 12, 1995.

September 12, 1992.

I know I have often said that I will not look back, but I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to do that.

It’s been three years.

But those days still touch me.

Even now, it seems I strive to find the happiness and perfection those days held for me.

The weather outside is getting cooler.  It’s funny because it felt like the weather in Cincinnati long ago.

Last night was free Nacho night at The Big Chill.  I went with some new freshman in my dorm, Dan, Jeff, and Vince.

Antigone rehearsals are going okay.  The show opens in exactly two weeks.

I’m writing Erica through email and I wrote Barbie a letter that I plan to send her.

I am a sophomore at Lees-McRae College and today is the only September 12, 1995 that I will ever know.

Let’s do life the right way on my first try.

September 9, 1995 – Saturday – 1:20 a.m.

I am on duty this weekend.  I just escorted Syndi down the stairs.  She has been here since 6:00 p.m.  We simply laid on my bed on separate ends, then by the time visitation hours were over, I was holding her like I did under the waterfall.  She looked at me so many times in such a special way.  We were so close.  We watched TV and talked.  We even tickled each other and gave each other massages.

Allison asked if we were an item.  I told her I didn’t know.  And I said that it was difficult since Syndi wasn’t a Christian.  Allison said I was getting into one of those “Charlie Situations.”  Kate isn’t a Christian either, but she is learning and she wants to learn.  Allison said it was funny that the two strongest Christians on campus aren’t even seeing Christian girls.

I’ve known Syndi for about four and a half months.  And in a little over three months, she will be gone.  But I’m sure we’ll keep in touch.  It’s hard to say all that is going on.  How will I see all of this when I am 60-years-old?  What will happen to Syndi?  Will I care?  Does it even matter?

So many little stories occur each day.  Everything slips through my fingers.  But the plot is thickening.  I’m still alive.  I am here.

All you have to do is keep reading.

But me…

No, I see every second pass by.  I hear every spoken word around me.  I see smiles.  I stare into eyes.  I hold souls.  And sometimes, it’s all so extremely beautiful, I feel as though its going to be the end of me.

August 3, 1995 – Thursday – 5:40 p.m.

Today was my last day at McDonald’s.  My collection has grown because of that place.  So many names, so many stories.

Betty, Cindy, Debbie, Toni, Danielle, Robert, Lynn, Carl, Travis, Ronnie, Louisa, Delores, Ola, Deborah, Tim, Tamika, Tonya, Amy, Shawn, Thomas, Julissa, Betty, Virginia, Josefina, Reggie, John, Kenesha, Beth, Natalie, Mike, LaQuisha, Phillip, Martha, Herbert, Avis, Jackie, Hershel, and, of course, Barbie.

Then there were people who came through the drive-thru everyday.

Jimmy

Butch

The Mayor

The Medium Coffee Girl

The Newspaper Man

And the beautiful woman with three little girls who either got a bacon biscuit or a plain biscuit with a buttered muffin, hash brown, and a small Diet Coke.

With the bacon biscuit, her price was $3.16.

With the plain biscuit, her total was $2.63.

She came through everyday for the past three months, but I only remember her looking me in the eye once.

. . .

I called Emily a little after 5 o’clock.  They are in the middle of a hurricane.  Everything is wet.

But I like water.

Especially when it is falling.

Marcus and I will leave around 3 o’clock tomorrow morning.

And I have absolutely no idea what will happen.

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.