January 21, 1999 – Thursday – 9:58 p.m.

I worked in the bookstore for eight hours today.  Closing time was chaos, but I laughed my way through it and had a blast.  Mom called me yesterday and told me that Cheryl’s fiancé David had been diagnosed with cancer.  It was in his kidneys and testicles.  He got one testicle and one kidney removed and is taking Chemotherapy.  They still plan to get married this summer even though he may be sterile.  I’ve known Cheryl a long time now; before she was even a teenager.  How strong she must be now.

Where suddenly have we gone?

Life has felt so random the past few days.  I played chess with Jeremy last night and hung out with him and a newly married couple named Andrea and Charles.  Mom and Henry live in a trailer now.  They have some land with it.  Kimberly is having her 16th birthday party on Saturday the 30th.  I’m getting my haircut at Christin’s tomorrow.  Nicole invited me over Saturday evening for a dinner party.  I pretended to be a mannequin at the bookstore today, and I actually fooled some people.

This morning I took some free time and drove around the border into North Carolina.  I went way past Moyock and was reminded of the beauty of my home state.  I miss it so, and I’m glad I’ll always be able to say it is where I am from.

On the way back I visited an amazing park in Chesapeake and found inspiration for a five minute short film.  I hope to make it in my Introduction to Film class.

Today was a good day.

March 24, 1994 – Thursday – 10:30 p.m.

Grandma and Grandpa are here for the night.  They’re on their way to Florida; just for the heck of it.  They’re retired so they do what they want.  Grandpa and I had a good talk about making a living.  Wisdom must come with age.

The weather is getting so warm; I love it so much.  I watched a movie on TV tonight about a woman with cancer.  It made me think of Mrs. Nance.  Bless her family Lord.

There are 46 days of school left; then the summer.  This may be the last summer I will have here.

So I will dare to be happy and make the most of it.  Nothing will stop me from having a great time.  I will not waste a second of it either.

Please Lord, let me be active, very active.  All of this is just too precious.

February 27, 1994 – Sunday – 8:00 a.m.

Right now I’m in a little town called Mint Hill near Charlotte, NC.  Everyone is still asleep.

I’m lying on a fold out sofa bed.  Lying next to me is a 29-year-old guy named Dakota.  He is from Alaska.  Next to me on the floor is my brother Kevin.  Also on the floor is a guy named Robert and on the sofa next to him is Marcus.  Robert and I are the only one’s awake.  He is reading his Bible and I am writing.

Saturday morning, Marcus and I went to Band Practice.  I was in a good mood because it was going to be a great day.  Marcus was too, but Megan sure wasn’t.  One of her friends died of cancer last week and she was bummed, so she wanted to make sure everyone else was.  She told me off, because she interpreted my happiness as being obnoxious.  I was bummed afterward, but once we left and got away from her, we found our joy again.  I guess you can’t blame her though.

I had to go to Wal-Mart and pick up my contacts, but they hadn’t come in yet.

During Band Practice, Cheryl invited me to go Ice Skating with her, Ryan, and Amy.  They were going to go to Cary and Megan told me that it was 15 minutes away from Fayetteville.  I thought that was a little far-fetched.  When we got there, there was a long line (probably because everyone still had Olympic fever).  Well, once I found out that Fayetteville was much farther away, Marcus and I left in order to get to Fayetteville by one o’clock.  We found our way there by I-95.

It’s later.  11:34 p.m. on the same Sunday.

Let’s see, so Marcus and I got to Fayetteville by I-95 and we easily found Methodist College.  Once we got there we packed our stuff in this guy’s car and headed for Charlotte.  The two guys are in the FCA and Bible Study at Methodist College.  The guy driving was Robert.  He was brought up in a strong Christian environment.  He’s from the beach, he’s a Freshman and loves the Lord, but he is sometimes too serious.  Marcus and Kevin and I always joke around and he would look at us weird, but he is cool, friendly, and you’ve got to hand it to him, he’s got it together.

The older guy was Dakota.  He is really cool; more on our level.  He and I got along great.  By the way he talks, he is going to try and set me up with his 17-year-old sister.  He showed me a picture of her.  She is beautiful.

We were all going to meet these people in Charlotte that they know from NC State University.  One girl came from Charlotte, so we all stayed at her parents house after the concert.  It was awesome!  There were three groups: Out of Eden, Audio Adrenaline, and, of course, DC Talk.

Audio Adrenaline was an alternative Christian band.  They were great.  They sang a song called “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Bang Your Head!”  Then DC Talk came on.  Everything was perfect!  I can’t explain it.

These people from Raleigh that we met were rich.  The girl who lived in Raleigh was named Christine and her house was amazing!

After the concert we went to eat at IHOP.  I ate strawberry pancakes and afterward’s we went to Christine’s house.

I’m tired so I’ll tell you about Sunday later.

This was one of the best weekend’s of my life.  But it wouldn’t have been as good if I didn’t spend time with Jenna and Tenielle on Friday night.

October 30, 1993 – Saturday – 8:10 p.m.

Yesterday at school there was a memorial service for Mrs. Nance.  The whole school was almost in tears.  I was one of the students who was not.

Christi bought a new Broadway Musical Soundtrack and she recorded a copy for me.  It’s called Miss Saigon.

I thought Les Miserables was sad, and I thought Phantom of the Opera was sad, but Miss Saigon tops them both.

I’ve listened to it almost six times and I’ve gotten chocked up each time.  I balled like a baby the first three times.

I will cry when someone dies in a movie or a play, but I have never cried over a person who has died in real life.  Jonathan said it is because in real life we don’t accept it.

At the wake, or the viewing, whatever you call it, Mrs. Nance didn’t look like Mrs. Nance.  She just wasn’t there.  She wasn’t moving.  She wasn’t breathing.  It looked like someone else’s body.

Afterwards, we went to the lock-in for the youth group.  Kevin came back from college for it and to go to a cross country meet he and Jonathan were going to early Saturday morning.

Ryan and Christi weren’t at the lock-in, but mostly everyone else was.  We watched videos and talked and ate.

Amy and Cheryl told me that Christi wasn’t a part of the church or the youth group anymore.  I’m not sure what that is about.  I haven’t talked to Christi yet.  I have no idea what happened.

Ryan simply had to babysit. 

I slept almost two hours this morning while some people watched Return to Snowy River.  I had an eye appointment at 11:30 a.m. at Wal-Mart.  I went to that and then Marcus and I went to a place called Britt’s in Sanford and boy does that place have one fine waitress.

We ate there because I talked to Hank and Patti earlier and they said they were going to take Christi out to lunch there between her rehearsals for The Sound of Music.  They showed up, but without Christi.  She didn’t have enough time so they grabbed her a burger instead.  

I wanted to talk to her, but I couldn’t.

We came home after that and Henry felt the need to lecture us again.  This time is was on “conversing.”  Yeah, I don’t know either.

At the lock-in there were a lot of junior-high kids there.  Only about half of the original Endtime Warriors were there.  Cheryl said that everyone is leaving and new kids are coming in.  Cheryl is a freshman; she’ll be here for a while.

But she was right.  I received my acceptance letter from Lees-McRae today.  I will be there in less than ten months.

And in 20 days I will see Les Miserables.

October 28, 1993 – Thursday – 6:12 p.m.

Something happened yesterday.  You’re probably thinking something happened at church.  Well, you’re wrong, this happened at school.

On March 5, 1993, a Friday, I wrote something in my first Book of Days about a woman named Mrs. Nance.  She was my chemistry teacher then.  I would not have given her that letting, sharing the gospel with her, if I did not know she was dying of cancer.  No one ever knew if she was a Christian or not.  We all just knew she was a firm believer in evolution and not creation.  She’s had cancer for a long time and during my junior year she would be out for weeks at a time.  I liked it when that happened because we didn’t actually have to do chemistry when the substitute teacher was there.  I hated chemistry with a passion; it was so confusing.

Mrs. Nance often talked about dying.  She talked about how much money and pain it was costing her just to stay alive a little longer.  Once day a student asked her if she considered quitting and not spending the money to pay for all the chemotherapy and just let it all go.

She said, “No, I will do whatever it takes to stay here as long as I can.  I’m not ready to go yet and I will stay with my husband and my song as long as I can.”

Two weeks ago, Mrs. Nance left school.  The doctor had given her two weeks left to live.  She looked so pitiful; her skin was yellow.

We got word yesterday that she passed away.

Mrs. Nance is dead.

In Spanish, Mr. Benton read this poem:

Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,
   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.
   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;
   For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar.
 
I fear this poem has a meaning I haven’t entirely grasped yet, but as I get closer to the lighthouse, I know I will.