June 20, 1994 – Monday – 1:15 p.m.

I’m home!  Praise the Lord!

I got here around 11:00 a.m.  I came with Grandma and Grandpa (mom’s side) and with my cousins Allie and Hunter.

I’m doing well, except for the huge zit on my nose.

Yesterday I went to church with my other Grandparents and we ate dinner at my Aunt’s afterwards.  But I left the next morning and I’m happy to be back in North Carolina.  I have 69 days until I leave for college; and orientation is this Friday!

Marcus is here.  I told him about finding my dad’s porn stash and throwing it in the woods.  I probably won’t tell anyone else though.  I just had to get it off my chest.

Sixty-nine days!

Church is Wednesday!

I’m here.

I’m back.

Deep Creek is my only other vacation.

June 18, 1994 – Saturday – 10:57 p.m.

It was a good day.  A lot happened.

While I was sleeping one of my contacts dried up so I had to throw it away.  I didn’t bring my other ones so I can only see out of one eye.  

Dad and I went to the Virginia Living Museum and I saw two bald eagles.  They were so beautiful.  I saw myself in that bird’s eyes.

We went shopping and I bought a keyboard, bigger than the one I had before.  After that we went to see Schindler’s List at a dollar theater.  It had more effect on me the first time, but at the end I still got chocked up.

I go home Monday.  And Friday I go to Lees-McRae for orientation!  I can’t wait.

I have a wish for that day.  I hope it will come true.

June 15, 1994 – Wednesday – 9:11 p.m.

I did it!

Today I threw away all of my dad’s porn stuff.  I put it all in a plastic bag and threw it in the woods.

Deep woods!

Thick woods!

No one was here when I did it, and he hasn’t got home yet.

Other than that, I rented Remains of the Day.  It was good, but I’m going to watch it again in the morning.  I just feel like there is more than to unpack.

I know my dad won’t have the guts to say anything to me, but I’ll keep you posted.

June 14, 1994 – Tuesday – 9:56 p.m.

My dad is home.  I couldn’t look him in the eye.

I said nothing, but I will let him know that I know sometime before I leave.  Which is Monday!

It’s June 14th.

Five months ago, I was with Jenna, Tenielle, Sunny, and Shar at Mr. Gattis.

Four months ago I talked to Ryan over the phone.  I was choosing between Christi and Jenna when it turns out that both were far from my reach.

Three months ago Jenna became a 14-year-old beautiful girl.

Two months ago I developed some pictures.

And one month ago was probably the greatest Friday night of my life.

A month from now it’ll be July 14th.

I’m so far from home now and in the midst of this darkness, the only thing that keeps me going is that I’ll soon be back home.  I’ll have so much time when I get back home; about 70 days.

Those 70 days are a gift from God.

I could have had 77 days, but for some odd reason I came up here to learn the truth about my perverted-loser-father and get my heart broken.

June 14, 1994 – Tuesday – 7:32 p.m.

I’ve calmed down some, but I’m still hurt.

I’ll never look at him the same way again.  I thought about taking everything and throwing it all away.  When he find that it is gone, he won’t have the gut to say something to me.  He knows he is in the wrong.

I don’t think I have the guts to do that though.  It will make him think though.

What happened to this world?  Why can’t everything be pure?  I brought my photo album to show my dad my life, but every girl he sees he probably imagines them naked.  There’s no way I’m going to let him think that way about my friends.

Sorry dad, but you have completely lost your son’s respect.  In fact, I don’t even like call you dad.

Will I tell anyone?  Should I tell Kevin?

No, why ruin his picture of his dad by telling him the truth about our father.

But he is 43.  He has to be his own man.  He must make his own decisions.  He has fallen from God, he doesn’t go to church, and he has a demon of lust living in him.  He complains constantly about everything.  He lives with his parents.  What a loser!

He is my father, but I am nothing like him.  I have his nose and that’s about it.

June 14, 1994 – Tuesday – 4:19 p.m.

I can’t believe this!  MY DAD!!!  NO!!!!

MY DAD DOES NOT DO STUFF LIKE THAT!

NOT MY DAD!!!  This can’t be happening!!!!

Let me calm down and tell you since I probably can’t tell anyone else.

We rented two movies this morning after dad and I went fishing.  My Life and The Man Without a Face.  I watched them both while dad went to work and my grandparents were at a funeral.  I liked both the movies.  After I watched them both I went into my dad’s room just looking for something to do.  I don’t know why, but I picked up his briefcase next to his bed…

Before I go any into any more detail I guess I should say that there is always something I suspected of my dad; several years ago I was looking for some chess pieces in his closet and I found a game for his computer.  It was strip poker.  It was in a box under some towels.  I was a little startled, but thought nothing of it and tried to forget about it.  Ever since then, I thought that maybe my dad was a little, well, for lack of a better word, perverted and that maybe he liked looking at dirty pictures.  Over the years I guess I occasionally went through his stuff just to prove myself wrong.  I figured if I never found anything like that game again, then he wasn’t perverted, but that he was “clean.”

But today, when I when I glanced inside his briefcase I found dozens and dozens of dirty pictures and papers and magazines and brochures and just junk.  JUNK!!!  I couldn’t believe it.  There were pictures of women sucking men’s you know whats and pictures of chains of people having sex.

I seriously got sick to my stomach.  I put it all back and cried my eyes out.

My dad was no longer a wonderful person.  “You idiot!  What are you doing?!”  I cried over and over.

What do I do?  Do I say something?  I don’t ever want to stay here.  

I wanted to run.  

I want to keep myself pure.

What do I do?  What do I say?  I hate this!!

He won’t change unless he has something to lose.  Or should I just love him and encourage him to believe that he doesn’t need that stuff.

I want to go home.

I don’t want to see him again.

I want to leave and live in my innocence and bliss.  I want to go back to my church and my Jenna and my everyone.  

My life.  

My clean life.

I don’t know what to do.  Please God.  Please give me the answer.

June 11, 1994 – Saturday – 11:21 p.m.

I’m in Virginia.  I’ve had a good time so far.  Dad and I went to the mall.  I bought Sunset Blvd., the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical soundtrack, and Schindler’s List, the book.  Then we went to see Maverick, a western with Mel Gibson.  That was a great movie.

Otherwise I’m a little bored and I hope something more interesting will happen while I’m up here.  The last time I was up here was Christmas.  A lot has happened in the past six months.

Christmas of 1994 will be the next time I’m up here.

And, whew, the next six months will bring all the change in the world.

February 13, 1994 – 11:30 p.m.

Oh my gosh!!!

This can’t be happening!  There is no way!  I must be dreaming.  Somebody pinch me.

First of all let me say that Jenna and Tenielle didn’t go to youth group Saturday night for the same reason I didn’t.  Jenna gave me a letter today in church.  It was sweet.  I wrote her a letter back but she wasn’t at church tonight so I didn’t give it to her.

Now let me tell you what I am excited about.  But before I do, go back and read a few entries of my Book of Days.  Read August 2, 1993, and August 11, 1993, and November 8, 1993, and December 1, 1993.  And then there’s December 23, 1993 and finally Feb. 8, 1994.

Did you read them all of them?

Now what do all of these entries have in common?  Sure, a few of them are just a few lines here and there, but all of them have only one person in common.

One girl.

Christi.

When the day began, I didn’t know it would end this way.

Mom let me drive to church.  Very shocking.  Scott asked us to go to McDonald’s with him.  We did.  But afterwards, for some odd reason, Marcus and I decided to go visit Christi.  We did exactly that.

Christi answered the door.  She hugged the two of us.  We went in; the Olympics were on.  I hugged everyone else.  It had been two months since I’d seen Christi.  But I did send Christi a Christmas card.  I can’t remember exactly what I wrote word for word, but I believe it went something like this:

Christi,

I’m wishing you a merry Christmas.  Everything is changing and nothing is like it used to be.  I don’t see you as much as I’d like to now, but things happen.  Christi, through everyone I’ve ever known you have always stood out.  I feel like I could trust you with anything.  And Christi, when I say this, I’m not asking you to marry me or anything, but I love you Christi.  And Jesus loves you too.  Merry Christmas.

Jacob

Tonight I had forgotten that I had written her this letter.  But we talked about stuff, about theatre, about music, about church, about the past, and then we had to leave.  It was getting late.  As I was leaving, Hank, Christi’s dad, pulled me off to the side.  This was our conversation:

“Jacob,” he said.  “Let’s talk man to man.  To this day, Christi has never dated a guy.  She has always gone out with her girlfriends.  And she knows that each guy that comes along has to answer to us.  But if you are willing, I will let you take Christi’s hand and you can go out with her with our permission.  Her mom and I will not say no.  I have never given my permission to a young man until now.  We feel we can trust you Jacob, so all you have to do is ask her.”

Needless to say, I laughed and my whole body got really hot.

“Jacob, this no laughing matter.  Her mom and I both agree.”

What he said did not hit me just then.  I told everyone goodbye and left.  Once Marcus and I got in the car, I couldn’t help myself, I just screamed as loud as I could!  That was when it hit me.  You would have to know Hank to know how amazing this is.

Christi.

I have her dad’s permission.

I didn’t even ask.

He gave it to me.

Oh my gosh!

CHRISTI!!!!

Christi and I have practically grown up together.  We have never had anything not to talk about.

I told Hank thank you and that I would think about it.  I mean, you just read how I used to feel, right?  On the way home, I just prayed and prayed.  My whole body was shaking and every fiber in my being, my soul, my spirit, my flesh, wanted to say yes.

Then I began thinking.  The first person to come to mind was Jenna.

Christi is 16.

Jenna is 13.  Then I thought about how everyone got into our business at the Skating Ranch on Monday night.

I compared that to Christi and I.

I don’t go to her church.  She doesn’t come to mine.  I don’t go to her school.  She doesn’t go to mine.  The only people she sees that perhaps I see is her family.

No one could get in the way.  Just me and her.

Guys, her dad practically asked me to!

DANG!!!

I don’t know what to do.

I don’t know what to say.

I don’t know what to think.

Dear God!  You always told me that I would never have to do anything.  It would just happen.

Lord, I didn’t even ask.  It just happened.

Seeing her tonight brought back so much.  I didn’t want to leave.

When I got home, I called Jason, her brother and my old youth pastor, now away at college.  I just called to say hi.  He is wonderful.  And he told me, “Jacob, when I was down for Christmas, you sent Christi a Christmas card.  And I want you to know that that really touched her.  She said that she felt like crying and it was so sweet.”

I never thought I would see her again.

For some reason I did not see it there before, but in time’s bitter garden there is one flower that did not fade away.  And still it stands, growing slowly while another begins to bloom.