February 6, 1996 – Tuesday – 1:15 p.m.

I had a big American Literature test this morning.  I prayed like crazy and did a pretty good job.

Curtis and I went to Chapel.  Doc Speer led it.  It was nice.  I came back to my phone and heard my phone ring.  It was Sharon calling from her car phone.  She and her three girls were on their way to Boone to see a movie and they wanted to know if myself and others wanted to come along.

I have rehearsal at 2:30 though and everyone else is busy.  The girls are out of school thanks to the winter storm, but Lees-McRae isn’t.  So, we couldn’t make it.

Sharon cares so much for us here.  I love her so much.

It’s funny how I prayed like crazy today just to get an A.  I should pray like crazy just because I’m alive.

I love you Lord.  Thanks for bring Vince, Allen, Charlie, and Kate back safely.

They said they had a great time.  They went to universal studios and Charlie bought me an E.T. poster.

Vince and I watched it last night.

e.t.

I love the scene in which Elliot and E.T. are looking at each other.  They are both in need of a friend.  They are so longing and desperate to make a connection that the simple scratch of a nose means the world to them.  The touch of an ear; the wiggling of a finger.  They both instantly knew they were friends forever.

One day, I shall meet my wife, and both of us will see ourselves in each other’s eyes.

June 9, 1995 – Friday – 10:00 p.m.

Last night Jonathan and I went to Fayetteville.  He got his nose pierced.  It thrilled me to watch someone experience something I will never do.  I just observed, so thankful to not need anything like that to bring me a sense of identity.  While waiting, a friend of Jonathan’s named Tammy walked in.  They knew each other from Pembroke.  They ran to each other and hugged each other.  She is around 24 and seems fun.

Jonathan shaved Kevin’s head.  He has no hair.  In a way it’s ugly and in a way it’s cool.  I got a good laugh.

Work was very hard today.  Ruth is getting on my nerves.  She threw her keys at me today.  I was angry, but I tried not to show it.

However, when I came home, joy was found in my mailbox.  I received my ticket for The Secret Garden on August 14th, the day I head back home, and a beautiful letter from Emily.  I’ll write it in my journal:

“Jacob,

Well, I am sitting in the middle of Hurricane Allison.  It is a rather exciting experience.  It is common here.  Everyone is taping up windows and gassing up their cars.  You should have seen the sky.  It was pink everywhere, with a sort of orange tint.  The moon was a giant crescent.  It was amazing!  I could see both the sun and the moon at 7 o’clock.  Now it is almost midnight and the air is dead.  I’m sitting outside waiting for the rain to come.  I love rain…it makes everything clean and soft and smooth.  The smell is wild!!  It’s almost like the ocean missed with blood.  Death is in the forecast.  It’s really eerie, but much to my amusement.

School was over May 26.  I’ve been silently going crazy with boredom.  I’m going to Michigan on June 12 and will return June 22.  I really need this vacation.  My sister is getting married July 8.  I’m throwing her a bachelorette party.  The rest of July, all I’m doing is volleyball and lifeguard school.  August is open except for volleyball.  I will be home, but I have practice everyday besides Saturday and Sunday.  If you can come I would be more than happy to make sure you have the best time of your life.  You will probably only want to come for four or five days.  There’s not much to do here and I will be at practice six hours a day.  There is stuff for you to do while I’m at practice though and I have plenty of friends who would be more than willing to entertain you.  I would really love for you to come.

I’m very pleased to hear about Jonathan.  He sounds like a fantastic guy.  I want to meet him some day.  I hope everything at home and work is going well for you.  I pray that you are the happiest person in the world!

I have been doing absolutely wonderful.  My mom and I are great.  My sisters treat me like a normal person again, and my dad is so fun.  My friends are really great, too.  My eyes have been shining so bright lately.  I smile all the time.  I am so happy.  I know who I am, what I want, and how to get it.  It feels good to feel good.  I had a problem caring for a while, but I recognized my problem and now I’m Emily!  Thank God that trial is over.

Don’t you love to smile?  It can change everything between two people.  When you see a stranger and smile they have a better day than if you would have frowned.  Just a simple smile can warm the cruelest of hearts.  It can do so much.  A teacher told me how much my smile made him feel so much better every day, because I was never sad.  He admired my smile often.  He was a good man.  Anyone who flatters me is good!  Ha ha!

Jacob, I love you!  I’m so happy I can just write anything and you will know its who I am and take it for what it is and not try to analyze it to death.  I hate people who over-analyze things and have totally opinionated conversations.  You’ve never been like that.  Thank you so much.  Here comes the rain!!  I have to go dance in it…

Don’t forget to dream of me!

I love you!

Your Angel, xxoo”

I smiled.

Emily?

What will become of you and I?

Some nights when Jonathan is out and Mike is working, I think of who I can call, but I have hardly no other friends I can turn to.

This Sunday marks the 13th anniversary of when E.T. opened in theaters on June 11, 1982.  Spielberg wanted a friend, someone to talk to.  That is why he made E.T.  He made it for himself.  E.T. came to this world by accident and he was eager to leave.  I wonder if after he went back to his home, his planet, if he realized that Earth was the better place to be.

I need my E.T.

I need my friend.

They call me E.T. at work because of my long neck.  Perhaps I need my Elliot, a friend to help me along on this strange planet.  I have one, his name is Jesus.  I love him.

How lovely that Emily’s initials are E.T.  She doesn’t even have a middle name.  We are both aliens.  She is my other red light in outer space.

This E.T. needs to go home.  Siler City has nothing.  Banner Elk has everything.

But before I can return to Banner Elk, it is my turn to see Emily smile.  That is my goal, then I’m confident the rest of my life can continue.

January 21, 1995 – Saturday – 8:00 p.m.

sibling-rivalries-legends-of-the-fall

I saw a movie today.

It was one of the saddest movies I have ever seen.

Jeni began crying about five minutes after it started and she did not stop until the end.  But I did not cry until it was over.

Legends of the Fall was absolutely amazing.  It’s very hard to describe.  I don’t know where to begin, but in the movie Samuel Ludlow was killed in a battle during World War I.  It was a horrible death.  He was tangled up in barbed wire, blind, and blown to pieces by a machine gun, all before his brother’s eyes.  This happens pretty early in the movie and the main story is about how the surviving brother deals with all the trauma.

But after the movie was over, I was watching the credits and I saw a name:  Henry Thomas.

“Henry Thomas,” I said to Jeni.  “That’s Elliot in E.T.”

Jeni looked at me.

“I don’t remember seeing a little boy in this movie.”

Then I remembered a grin given by Samuel Ludlow.

Holy Cow.  E.T.’s little friend had grown up.  I instantly realized that it had been over 12 years since E.T. came out and that two soldiers had shot up innocent little Elliot!  I imagined E.T. seeing this horrific death and my eyes began to water.

Jeni was laughing at me, but I was balling like a baby.  The theater was empty.  The credits were rolling.  The lights had come on, and I was on the front row, crying my eyes out.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I cried the entire way home.

Jeni seemed a little embarrassed of me.

Every day I grow older.

And although I have my life planned out, I now see how it can easily change.

I am not my own.

Everything around me is covered with snow.  It is winter here and it can be seen.

But it is not winter in my heart.  It is springtime.  I am still young.  I am growing.

So little I have seen.

So much I never will.

Yet I continue to tell my small story.

I continue to tell my legend.

This young friend of E.T. is also growing older.

There are still some things to do and accomplish.

There is still a world he must save.