August 7, 1995 – Monday – 11:58 p.m.

Unspoken words cannot be taken back.

I am now in Siler City, NC.

But earlier today I was in Crestview, FL.

I don’t know what to think.

I don’t know how to feel.

I can’t find my heart.

Emily hugged me this morning.  Things are so weird.  I thought our love would be big and wonderful.  So huge the whole world would stop, see us, and cry out of happiness because we finally found each other.

But this morning, after she said goodbye and left for volleyball practice, I placed a note in her room:

“When I was a thousand miles away, I felt close to you.

When I was close to you, I felt a thousand miles away.

Nevertheless Emily, I remain your Pen Pal

Box #3179 – LMC, Banner Elk, NC 28604″

I should have known looking into an eclipse would blind me.

But the more I watched Emily this weekend, the more I learned.  She is still just a little girl who has been given a woman’s body.  I got to know the wonderful little girl, but it seems everyone else only sees and reacts to the woman’s body, to her curvy figure, huge breasts, and long blonde hair.

Perhaps she knew that I only saw the wonderful little girl and she didn’t know how to react.

This is story is not over.

God is in control.

I saw her smile.

I held her for a few seconds.

I looked into her eyes.

I am sure there is a boy far away, sort of like me, who was never lucky enough to meet Emily, but I’m also sure he knows a special girl whom I have never been lucky enough to meet.

I guess those who try to forget are destined to remember.

Sun and moon.

July 16, 1995 – Sunday – 11:06 p.m.

I’m back home from Fishnet.

Friday was a good day.  I went to most of the programs and heard many great speakers like Winkie Pratney and Josh McDowell.  Steve Camp was in concert that night.

We met two guys in their early 20s.  They were from North Carolina and their names were James and Jonathan.  They fit right in with us and we had so many laughs.

Then Saturday came!  Another great day!  Rebecca St. James sang that night.  I got her autograph for Kevin on a huge poster.

I let it all go that night.  I ran and jumped around on that Virginian hillside cathedral.  I shouted Hallelujah so loud!  I sang so many songs.  I smiled at the Lord and felt him smiling at me.

That night, last night, would be my last night for a while at Fishnet.  And I realized that, sadly.  But so many new and different things occurred after the service on that wonderful night.  We got a visit from a woman named Rhonda with two small children named Skinard, age 6, and Andrew, age 4.  They came over because lightning was in the sky and the wind was all of a sudden on a move.

Skinard fell asleep while we were all sharing what Fishnet meant to us.  Then he woke up crying.  His stomach hurt.  It turns out that he hadn’t used the bathroom in the past four days because he was scared to use the Port-O-Let.

Well, the wind blew harder and we had to take the tarp down.  I was trapped under it with the two kids.  They were scared and crying.  Everyone was outside and trying to hold the tarp down.  Skinard got so scared from the wind and the thunder that he finally relaxed his bowels and let the poop flow.

There I was, under a blue tarp with white lightning all around, holding two extremely tanned kids, one whose white butt was now covered with smelly brown crap.  A colorful evening.

I tried my best to comfort those two scared kids while their mom took down their tent so they could leave that night and return to their safe and warm Richmond home.  I tried to tell the kids some funny stories and jokes, but they just really wanted me to pray.  After I finished one prayer, Andrew immediately asked me to pray again.  I stayed with them for 30 minutes before their mom returned and ran them down to her packed car.

The rest of us piled into the van so we wouldn’t get struck by lightning.  The storm passed and some went to sleep in their tents, but others, like myself, slept in the van.

Morning came and we sadly packed everything up and left one of the most wonderful places on this planet.

Now, let me take the time here to continue the story of some of these individuals.

Lisa and I got along pretty well.  She is my high school buddy; one of the two or three that lasted.  There was a moment where Lisa and I hugged, our cheeks pressed tightly together, and I became very thankful for this girl whom I’ve known for the past five years.  You are a special friend to me, Lisa.

Kristen, my new-found-Fishnet-friend, my Forrest Gump-puke-attack-helper, and my dear friend for life, grew more this Fishnet.  She tries so hard to do what is right.  She is a good wife.  She has a good husband.  Her husband calls me her boyfriend.  She doesn’t understand though that life is a collection.  She loves Fishnet and wishes it would never end.  I am her buddy.  In her words, she would point to me and say, “Dag, I love that mug!”

Dana and I grew closer.  She is a very funny person and I hope that we can see each other more at school this next year.  Bradley, Dana’s brother, will be a freshman at ASU in the fall.  He wants me to come see him.

While at Fishnet, Bradley came up with some small poems I thought were hilarious.  I’ll write them in here to amuse myself later:

Wind blow

Wind blow

Sally Smith

And Joe Blow

What do you know?

Not much

Why?

Belly button

Belly button

That’s what I’ve been huntin’

I found it in my tummy

So now I feel like a dummy

I searched all my life

And it caused me so much strife

Oh my

Why?

He’s a funny guy and I’m proud to call him my friend.

Tony and Leslie, as well as Jonathan and James are some of the most unique individuals I know.  These past five days were the greatest and they helped make them that way.

Thank you everyone.

There were two others with me at Fishnet, but I’ll explain them to you in a minute.

Kevin picked me up from High Falls and I gave him the Rebecca St. James autographed poster.  He seemed to like it.  He actually hasn’t said much to me.

I came home to my Visa bill and a clean bathroom, but I prefer the dirty ones at Fishnet.  Jonathan is not here.  He has moved out.

Veronica and her family were at church tonight.  She doesn’t like my haircut and she let me know that.  I talked to her mom for the longest time tonight.  After youth group, there was a party for Pastor Steve and Nancy’s 15th wedding anniversary.

Shirley is the greatest.  She loves her family so much yet she is so concerned with my life; the way I wish my own mom would be.  I told her that it is sad that my home church feels like a different world.  In my world I only have two special faithful friends.  And they are not Jenna and Tenielle.  Of course, they will always be great, but Jenna only sees Sam these days and Tenielle, well, she is just too young to know.

Shirley said she was sorry that I was lonely and to keep my chin up.  I sure have missed Shirley this past year.

Veronica has grown up in body.  She was holding Jasmine and when she handed her to me, her breast ran down my hand.  That part of her sure has grown as fast as puppies grow.  And it hit me.  This little girl is less than a year younger than Emily when I first met her.  Emily has seen a different slice of life than Veronica has.  In talking to Veronica I discovered her maturity has grown as fast as rocks grow, which is to say not much at all.

I told Shirley that all of my true friends were not of this world.  These two friends are not of this world, but they were with me at Fishnet.

The first one’s name is Emily.  She seemed to be constantly with me.  It really felt like I could see her and talk to her.  And I did.  I whispered little things to her.  Every time I thought of her, a smile filled my face.

The second and greater one’s name is Jesus.  Not only did I talk to him, but I worshipped, praised, and adored him.  I told him so many things.  I was smiling every minute.

So there it is.

Fishnet is gone, but with me.

Deep Creek may not even happen after all, at least not this year.

And an eclipse will occur in 17 days.

I showed Emily’s “big smile” picture to Nate earlier today.  He said, “Wow, she’s beautiful.”

“Yeah Nate.  She is.” I replied.

“I mean really beautiful.”

“Yeah, I know.”

Then he said, “She looks like you.”

I laughed, but he repeated himself and was serious.

I looked at her picture again and saw it in a way, but I also didn’t see it.  Then I remembered that saying that I’ve heard people say my entire life, “People, especially couples, who spend a lot of time together, begin looking like each other.”

Are Emily and I already becoming one?

And how will we look as we begin to spend more time with Jesus?

July 11, 1995 – Tuesday – 6:45 p.m.

I have worked these past two days.  Both days were fun.  Yesterday was interesting because Toni was having a bad day. It dealt with her husband.  She doesn’t love him.  She doesn’t even like him.  She stays with him for the money.  It’s sad.  She deserves better.  She is a good girl.

I came home yesterday to find a letter from Emily.  It was a wonderful letter.  The last paragraph was:

You are right about the Sun and Moon.  We exist together, but we can never touch.  I think it’s time for an eclipse, bright eyes.”

She was right.

An eclipse.

It is time for the sun to touch the moon.

I called her last night.  We talked for an hour.  We set plans for my visit in August.  She gave me basic directions to her house, but she said she would mail me a map.  I get off the Interstate, turn right to get to the city limit, go all the way through town, and then turn past the Wal-Mart and past Wendy’s… I predict that map will be one of the most important sheets of paper in my life.

Emily was taking a bath while we talked.  We had the greatest conversation.

She also sent a picture of her with her letter.  It is next to my bed.  She is smiling, very big.  Which is what I needed to see.

The picture is beautiful.  She is beautiful.  I find myself staring at it.  I find myself staring at her.  I try to look away, but I can’t.  Her whole face shines like the sun.

Emily says she’s been asked by people in New York, Houston, Miami, and other places to be a model.  They got a picture of her from Glamour Shots.  She is not sure if she wants to do it though.  She is only 16.

Who is this girl?

She is so amazing!

Her life is so big, yet she tells me that she needs little me.  I don’t understand.  Why was I chosen to be the distant pen pal of Emily?  Why me?  She is insanely beautiful both inside and out.  I feel like we are the only two red lights in the sky.

This must all be a dream.

Please don’t let me wake up Lord!

May 10, 1994 – Tuesday – 10:50 p.m.

There was an eclipse today, but it wasn’t big where I am.

There are 18 days of school left.  It’s hard to believe!

Today I got my pre-registration form from Lees-McRae College.  The Freshman arrive on August 28th.  That’s eight more days than I previously thought.

Another eight days!

Thank you Lord!

Tonight I went to the Skating Ranch because I heard Sharlene say she was going.  Sometimes Jenna and Tenielle go with her, but not tonight.  I tried to call them and find out, but they weren’t in.

I stayed there almost an hour, and then I left.  It wasn’t much fun without them.  I called them from the pay phone there and talked to them for a while.

Afterwards I went to the small park near where Veronica lives.  I took the trail to Jack Edwards School.  I sat there on the swing tire looking into the sky.  Veronica and I spent a special moment of our lives there on March 21, 1993.  I thought of her.

Veronica, no matter what I have said in the past, no matter what I’ve written down in these Books of Days, through out all of our experience together I do believe that I did love you just a little bit.  But a little bit was all the two of us needed.

You’re welcome, thank you, and goodbye.

After that I saw Scott at Food Lion then returned the Rollerblades to Christi’s house.

Hank and I watched a documentary on the war between the Serbs and the Muslims.  It was so hard to believe.

God, what is happening?

How can it be stopped?

I write about my world, my small small world full of my tiny thoughts about girls and about God and then I learn that something like that is happening on the other side of the globe.  

What is it like to be God?  To see my story and then to see war and every story in between?