January 2, 1995 – Monday – 11:55 p.m.

This is my first entry for 1995!

On the 31st of December, Dad and I drove to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and met up with Jeni and her mom and dad.

We all ate lunch together at Shoney’s.

On the ride back to Cincinnati, Jeni and I simply held each other and slept most of the way.

It was good to see her again, hold her again, and kiss her again.

That night after midnight, during the first minutes of 1995, we opened each others Christmas gifts to each other.  She liked what I got her.  She even sort of cried.  I loved what she got me, some really nice clothes and an amazing winter coat.  I mean, this stuff must have cost hundreds of dollars.

Yesterday, we just spent time with each other doing different things.  We ate dinner at one of her grandmother’s house last night.

Today, we went to see Nell.  It was great!  Jodi Foster did an awesome job.

It’s good to be here in Cincinnati in 1995.

We leave Saturday, so I have a whole week here in this beautiful city with my beautiful girl.

December 26, 1994 – Monday – 7:40 a.m.

It is the 26th of December in the year 1994.

Did you hear me?

December 26, 1994.

I have been alive on this earth for 18 years, four months, nine days, two hours, and 40 minutes.

That’s a long time.

But then again…what is time?

I feel empty.

Arms.  My arms.  They hurt.  They ache.

And I know why.  They are not holding the one I love.

Jeni.

Just writing her name gives me the chills.

She called last night around 11 o’clock.  We talked four hours.

She is in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I am in Lanexa, Virginia.

For the summer of 1995 it looks like I will be where she is now.  She wants me to go home with her and find a job in Cincinnati. Then maybe just visit my family in North Carolina around the 4th of July.

Do you remember when Jenna and I bought Grey Poupon on the 4th of July?

So many smiles, so many moments of laughter, not just from Jenna, but from every person I’ve encountered; every person I’ve spent at least a few fleeting moments with these past 18 years.  Yet I’m sure there are some I have forgotten.

Is my past truly behind me?

Will I allow myself to spend a summer in Cincinnati?  Will my heart?  Will my arms?  Will my eyes?

What is there in Sanford?

What is there to hold in Sanford?

What is there to look upon in Sanford?

Today, Dad and I went to see two movies:  Star Trek: Generations and Forrest Gump.  Star Trek was cool, but will there ever be another movie as amazing as Forrest Gump?

As I left the theater I looked at the different human beings around me.  Some had tears in their eyes.  Some were holding the hand of a loved one.  That certain individual had found that other person they were created to love.

What an adventure!

What a discovery!

What a miracle!

The miracle of another human being.  How Jeni and I ever came to know each other is beyond me.

Beyond me.

There is much beyond me.

But my savior, very close to me, has taught me to love and value another one of his beautiful creations.

Time does not exist.  Days may pass.  Years may pass.  But my past will grow.  My collections will grow.  My love for Jeni will grow.

The end will draw close, but it will not be over.

And in the meantime, I will enjoy my time here on earth.

I will enjoy my time with Jeni.

I will enjoy Lees-McRae College.

I will enjoy the summer of 1995.

I will enjoy the future.

For surely the best days of my life are not the ones you’ve already read about, but the ones I have yet to write.

December 5, 1994 – Monday – 4:30 p.m.

I just cried.

I was thinking about Jeni.  She filled my heart, my mind, my soul.  And I couldn’t stand it anymore, tears rolled down my cheeks and I spoke aloud to God, “Lord, just be with her, and touch her.  May she always be happy.  Whether I’m in her life or not, please keep her happy Lord, please.”

Here I am in McAlister Dorm on Lees-McRae’s campus in Banner Elk, North Carolina.  It was here where I met Jeni.  But I didn’t just fall in love with her here, but in Cincinnati, Ohio as well.  These two places will remain sacred in my heart.

I love you Jeni.

My heart is full of passion for you.  You are my best friend in the whole world.  I commit myself to you.

Sometimes when I read some of my other journal entries from my Book of Days before I came to Lees-McRae I am blown away.  All of it seems so long ago and so far away.

I can’t imagine how I survived those days.  None of those days seem right.  Jeni wasn’t with me then; it all seems so strange.

Everything here seems like it has been this way since the beginning of my life.

Those first 18 years were simply to get me here, so that I could meet Jeni.

Dear God, you are so good to me.  Why did you give me this beautiful graceful woman?  I don’t deserve her.

She says she loves me Lord.  I believe her.  I can see it in her eyes.  What am I to do?  We are in love with each other.  I want to spend the rest of my life with this woman Lord.  I want to grow with her.  I want her to be by my side always.  I know that we have only been together for a little over two months, but God, I want her to be my wife and for me to be her husband.  She wishes the same Lord. She has told me so.  So I ask of you Heavenly Father, to stay with us and bind us together.

This is your will God.

You are our match maker.

I know that with every fiber of my being and I thank you.

You are my God.

I will praise you forever.

I adore you Jesus.

Thank you Holy Spirit.

More than Jeni, I love you God.  Jeni is not my first love.  You are Lord.  And you always will be.  I love you more than anything.  I want to be with you forever, you are so beautiful.  You died for little me.  You went through all of that pain just so you could see me smile.  You’ve loved me all along!

Jesus, I love you more today than I did yesterday.  You are what makes me get through each day here.

I can’t thank you enough.

I love you.

December 3, 1994 – Saturday – 8:00 a.m.

I know I haven’t written in my journal in about a week, but all is well.

Final exams are two weeks away!

I talked to my dad.  On New Year’s Eve he is going to drive me towards Ohio to meet Jeni halfway, then I’ll ride home with her and spend the first few days of 1995 in beautiful Cincinnati.

Jeni and I are volunteering with Habitat for Humanity this morning; other students are helping out as well.  Later today I’m going to take Jeni out to see a movie and hopefully do some shopping.

Jenna and Tenielle were going to come and see me today, but they had to change their plans.

It still hasn’t snowed up here yet.  I thought for sure I’d see snow before December; the campus is nearly 4,000 feet above sea level.

Tracey and Derek are a couple now.  Derek is a performing arts student from New York.  He is in the directing class and he is directing a scene from A Few Good Men.  He asked me to play the part Tom Cruise plays in the movie version.

I’m excited!

October 22, 1994 – Saturday – 9:45 a.m.

Its only a little later than my last entry.  A lot is on my mind and I must write about it.

Jeni and I have only been together for one month, but our relationship is so close.  This morning, while I was still in bed, she came in and gave me a kiss.

Just now I was looking at the pictures in my wallet.  Most of the pictures were of girls.  Jeni gave me a picture of her and it is the picture on top now.  I care for her so much.  I want nothing to happen to us.  I want to be with her forever.  She has so many dreams and I want to be a part of those dreams.

Everything has happened so fast.  I feel like this house here in Cincinnati is my home, and I like it!

October 22, 1994 – Saturday – 7:30 a.m.

I’m still in Cincinnati, Ohio, and boy have I got a lot to tell.

After meeting Kenny, Jeni’s dad, Missy, Jeni’s sister, Paul, Missy’s boyfriend, and one of Jeni’s grandmothers on Wednesday night, I went to bed.

Kenny is really funny and neat.  I like him and he seems to like me.  Missy is around 23 I think.  She lives at home and commutes to a university nearby.  Her boyfriend Paul was visiting and he seemed like a great guy as well.

Oh Thursday morning I met one of the neighbors.  She is an old lady named Skip and her husband is Gill.  She is so sweet.  She told us about her grandsons Chip and Joey.  Chip is diabetic and Joey is, well, he wasn’t formed completely when he was born.  Chip wrote a paper about his brother for school.  Skip showed it to us and Jeni and I read it together.  I have so much to be thankful for and yet I still sometimes complain.  It really hurts me knowing that I do that.

A little later Jeni and I went for a walk to her church.  It’s a Presbyterian Church.  It looks very modern.  I met her youth pastor, Craig.  He’s really cool and you can see Jesus in his face.  I can see now why Jeni always talks about him.  Tonight, Saturday, we are going to go visit them at their house.  We spent about two hours talking to Craig, he’s only 23 and yet it seems like he’s been everywhere.  He plays the guitar and writes songs.  He was in a band, but not anymore.

I met the pastor of her church as well.  I also met Jeni’s old dance teacher Candice.  She is really tiny and she has played about three different cats in the musical CATS over in Germany.  She was so wonderful and easy to get along with.  But she is not a Christian and it hurts Jeni very much because she can’t imagine heaven without her.  She was crying about it on our way home.  I held her hand.

Last night we rented Last of the Mohicans and Searching for Bobby Fisher.  They were both great!

Each night Jeni would come into my room (the guest room) and we would cuddle for a while.  Last night she was in here until about 3 or 4 in the morning.  She was in her pajamas and she was cold so I let her get under the covers and I stayed on top of the covers next to her.  We just held each other, kissed each other, and complemented each other.

Last night however I also met three of her guy friends: Joe, John, and Shawn.  We went out to downtown Cincinnati.

I have never been so amazed about anything in my life.  I have been so isolated.  This city is so huge.  There are so many people here.  There are around 100 high schools just in the Cincinnati area.  And there were only three in the county I grew up in.  They took me to rich parts of town and bad parts as well.  I saw homeless people and 4-year-olds walking around by themselves.  I thought I had seen so much in life.  But last night as we were on top of a lookout, I could see so far.  I saw city lights go forever and it seemed as though I was looking down upon the stars.  The moon was full and the color of blood.  As I stood there next to Jeni, it all hit me:

Throughout my life I will go many new places and different people and different things will take me there.

Jeni is one of those persons.  As we held each other last night for so long, a few words poured helplessly out of my mouth, “I’m falling in love with you Jeni.”

And she simply said, “Thank you.”

October 19, 1994 – Wednesday – 11:55 p.m.

At this very moment I am in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I have been here for a little while.  We watched Edward Scissorhands tonight with Jeni’s sister and her boyfriend.

This city is so beautiful.  I’ve never been in a city this big before.  It is so wild seeing the place where Jeni has lived for the past 18 years.  I’m so excited to be here.  I will be here for four more days.  I’m not sure what we are going to do, but I now I’ll have a great time as long as Jeni is with me.

She showed me her school and her church and other little things that are so important to her.  One year ago, I could never have imagined this would happen.  We are sharing our past and sharing our dreams.

Something is happening inside of me.

I would do anything for her.

October 18, 1994 – Tuesday – 11:56 p.m.

Tonight Jeni and I plus Tracey and Jackie went to Sharon’s house for a Bible Study.  I can tell you now that that family will have a great effect on my life.  Sharon’s little girl Hannah is so adorable.  And the middle child Laura is so sweet.  She is a freshman in high school.  We all just talked about everything under the sun.

Thank you for them Lord.

Tomorrow I will go to Ohio.  Two other guys are driving with us.  We will drop them off somewhere near Cincinnati.

Hopefully I’ll get to know Jeni a lot better during these next few days.

Keep us safe Lord.

October 3, 1994 – Monday – 2:03 p.m.

We went to church yesterday.  I enjoyed it.  Jeni was dressed so beautifully.  We did some homework together and then we both took a nap in her bed.  Tracey was above us on the top bunk taking a nap.  It was so nice to sleep so close to Jeni.

Last night after rehearsal we went to Subway and after we got back Jeni and I went for a walk.  We prayed together.  Then she sat on my lap and we began kissing each other.  That went on for a while.  Then she leaned forward and had me lying down the stone bench with her on top of me, kissing me.  After a few moments she got up and said, “I think we better go.”

I agreed.

We have been a couple for 11 days.

I only met her about 20 days ago.

Look how far we have come.

Physically we cannot get any closer without sinning.  And that will not happen.  We can only get closer emotionally and spiritually.  We have moved fast, but it bothers neither of us.  It feels natural.

I might go home with her for fall break.  It depends on what her mother says.  If I do then I will be in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I was born in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1976 on August 17th I was born in Columbus.

In 1976 on September 10th she was born in Cincinnati.

Five weeks later, two hours away.

It’s funny because although I’ve only known her for 20 days, it feels like I’ve known her for much longer.

Why is that?