May 22, 1997 – Thursday – 4:13 p.m.

I got my hair cut yesterday, but not by much.  I also went by Lowe’s Food and talked to Scott.  I haven’t seen him in a year and a half.  He’s very different.

After church last night, Marcus and I went to visit Christi and Patti.  Both of their arms were covered in bandages.  Half of Christi’s face was a crusty brown.  They were both doped up on pain medication.

It kills me to know they had to go through that.

I rented The Spitfire Grill and I discovered another favorite movie.  It was so beautiful and simple and redeeming.  I watched it twice in a row.

Marcus and I are going to see The Lost World tomorrow.  I hope is scares me.

I go back to Banner Elk on Saturday.

One last summer.

One last year.

May it go slowly Lord.

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May 17, 1997 – Saturday – 10:08 p.m.

Today…

Today…

Today was the annual nationwide March For Jesus.  This was my first one that I’ve ever attended.  I had a wonderful time singing praises with fellow Christians as we walked the streets of Sanford.  I saw Gary there.  We talked a little and he told me that there was a big party at Kiwanis Park for Matt, Christi’s brother, who had just graduated from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.  He said that both Matt and Jason were in town.  So, after the March was over I asked mom if we could stop by to see if they were there and say “hey.”  We did.

A car was in the driveway with the trunk open.  The front door was standing wide open.  We pulled up and I got out of the car and Jason runs out of the house.  His hands were waving around and he wasn’t really looking at us.  Frantically, he said, “Oh geez, oh geez, oh God, oh my God.  Mom and Christi and Andy and his girlfriend just got in a car accident.  They are three hours away from here.  And they’re burned!

It took a second for it to register, but then it all made sense when he just plopped down on the steps and cried.  He was in the middle of changing tires on the car out front because he and Matt were going on a fishing trip on the coast.  So, Clay took Jason to find his dad and Matt at the bank downtown.  Mom and I stayed there and prayed.

A few minutes later, Matt pulled up with Pastor Steve’s wife Nancy.  She said she found him walking on the side of the road because their car broke down at the bank.  We told Matt what happened and he went nuts.  Except he said Andy was in Wilmington and Christi and her mom were going to the mountains and Andy doesn’t even have a girlfriend.  Jason’s muttering made no sense.

Hours of confusion took place.  Phone calls were made.  Hank finally made it home and the emotions went wild because no one knew what was going on.

This is what actually happened:

Christi and her mom Patti and Christi’s boyfriend Adam were going to western North Carolina to say goodbye to Christi’s old gym coach.  Patti was taking off Christi’s shoes while Christi was driving, yet at the same time, they were looking at a pretty mountain.  A bump is felt and Christi shouts out an “oops” as she swerves back to the road.  Yet, the beginning of a guard rail is right in front of her and it catches the gas tank near the rear of the car.  It rips it off and flips the car at the same time.  They head straight into the other lane, thankfully there wasn’t any oncoming traffic.  They come to a stop on the other side of the road and the car bursts into flames.  The three shocked passengers crawl out of the car.

Jason got off the phone with the hospital 30 seconds before we drove up.  Matt, Hank, Gary, and Adam’s mom drove up to the mountains to be with them.  I stayed with Jason until my parents picked me up for a church service at 5:30 p.m.

Christi was burned the worst of all three, but nobody should be left with permanent scars.

And that was today.

Today…

No doubt Christi and Adam’s relationship will grow stronger through this shared drama. They’re love is as good as forever.

It’s a week before I go back to the mountains.  I will so go to my perfect world of Banner Elk.  Yet here, the people of my days before LMC are either pregnant, nicotine addicts, or burned.

And I will leave them that way, knowing my prayers and never ending love will be with them.

I am a little blonde-haired boy, lying in my bed on a school day, only I’m too young to attend.  “Why can’t I go, mommy?”

“You have to wait another year until you’re old enough,” she says.

She should have said, “Oh sweetie, don’t rush things.  Enjoy these careless days while they are around.  Soon your closest friends will be in pain and there won’t be any answers to the flames life brings.  Please, stay a child while you can be a child.”

February 27, 1997 – Thursday – 10:00 a.m.

Today is Curtis’ 21st birthday!

On Tuesday, Jessica and I went for a long hike to the top of a nearby mountain.  We had a good time.  She’s so delightful to spend time with and has such a bright future ahead of her.

Last night, or rather all of yesterday, Abigail…well she…she has become a very dear friend.  We continue to grow closer.  Last night Jeni and she and I prayed again together.  Abigail rested her head on my knee and ran her thumb up and down my fingers as she held my hand.

She has me.

I wonder if she knows it.

Four years ago, I was questioning love.  Veronica was on my mind.  And in reality, I had no idea.

Four years.

Veronica, Ryan, Christi, Jenna, Tenielle, Jeni, Emily, Syndi, Laura, Abigail…

These are the girls who have taught me the most.

Not only have I touched her face, but she tells me that I have touched her heart.  She is not another Ryan or Christi, she is simply my Abigail.  This list will continue to grow and no name will ever disappear.  I want our goodbye to be painful.  I want this to hurt.  I need this to hurt.

I need to share my heart.

January 1, 1997 – Wednesday – 11:39 p.m.

Since I slept through Christ’s party last night, I went to Christ’s tonight.  She answered the door and hugged me.  She looked older.  Last night was her birthday.  She turned 19.  I remember when she was 11.  Christi’s RA from college was there, as was Nicole and two other friends named David and Jack.  We all played cards.  I laughed my head off; they are the funniest people.  It was a very memorable night, but I’m a bit concerned about the spiritual condition of the family.  Things feel a little off.  Take care of them Lord, please.

Well, this year’s first day is over.  It was a great one.  Tomorrow is ten minutes away, and I claim it will be an even better one in the name of Jesus!

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.

December 31, 1996 – Tuesday – 7:30 p.m.

Three years, four hours, and thirty-five minutes until the year 2000.

I went to high falls Sunday night.  It was really fun.  Kenny, Dana, and Bradley were there.  We had a discussion about the way the Bible encouraged us to view certain topics versus the way the world encouraged us to view them.  Dana told me afterwards that she was impressed by my faith in what I know and believe.  She said that I appeared very sure of everything, sure of myself, sure of God.  She said when I spoke there was no doubt in my eyes or in my voice.  Then she said she wished she had that confidence.

I simply said “Thank you.”  But I don’t know why it is easy for me and not for others.

We played Uno, then went over to Dana’s house to eat Spaghetti.

I worked on Monday, then slept most of the evening.  Mike and I then rented some movies and then played on his Nintendo 64.   That thing is so cool!

I came back here and stayed up until 2:00 a.m. watching Joe Versus the Volcano.  I worked this morning, then this evening I watched the THS widescreen uncut version of The Abyss.  It was so amazing.

I plan to leave around 9:00 p.m. and go to Sanford to Christi’s party.  I will go alone.  Marcus decided to spend New Years in Greensboro with some friends.

December 28, 1996 – Saturday – 10:21 p.m.

Danny and Peter came over last night.  We played Life with Nate.  It was fun.  They are the greatest of friends.  We have a long history together.

My parents went to a funeral and came back to say they saw Jason and Christi.  They both want me to write them and Christi said I should come to her New Year’s Eve party on Tuesday.  If I remember correctly, I stopped by there last year after church on New Year’s Eve.  How fitting that the first and last minutes of 1996 would be spent with Christi.

Mom and Nate and I went shopping in Durham after I got off work.  I bought the That Thing You Do soundtrack.  Before we left for Durham though, we stopped by Aunt Sis’s house on the outskirts of Siler City.  Her place is near where we used to live when I was in elementary school.  As I walked through the front door, I realized it had been several years since I stepped foot in that house.  What a playground that area used to be for me, as well as for Danny and Peter.  We explored those woods between our houses like crazy.  Kevin and I even got lost once and Henry got so mad at us.

Wow, I’ve known Danny and Peter for 14 years.  I didn’t know it was possible to know someone for that long.

Well, three days remain.  What will 1997 bring?