June 17, 1998 – Wednesday – 4:30 p.m.

I turn 22 in two months.

The final pages of this Book of Days seem to be falling out.  I hope this journal stands the test of time and still has all it’s pages whenever I or someone else reads it.

I haven’t written since Saturday.  The weekend didn’t turn out that great, but all is well. Everyone seemed to understand while the visit was difficult for me.  I did get to see Sarah a little bit, but not much.  Nevertheless, I am home.  This place is home for ten more days.

When Lindy dropped me off on Sunday there was a strange car in the driveway.  I walked into the house and there stood a beautiful and curvy dark-haired girl.  She was looking at me.  I had never seen her before.

It turns out, she and her mom were looking at buying our house, or possibly renting it.  The girl is only 15, but she looks 18 or 20.  Her name is Shana and we talked the whole afternoon.  She’s pretty neat; she said she would call me.

Emily have talked an average of twice a week recently and I’ve been hanging out with Marcus and Peter quite a bit.  These days have been nice.

I bought Sarah a small Bible and had her name engraved on it.  I wrote a special goodbye in it and will give it to her on the last night I see her before I leave: June 26, 1998.  What a night that will be!  Will that be the end or just the beginning?

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

“Soon it will be time to go out to the places I will be from.”

I’ve learned a hard lesson these past few weeks:  all these people and places that I’ve loved for so long….none of them are really mine.

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June 9, 1998 – Tuesday – 2:00 p.m.

After church on Sunday I went to visit Jenna and Tenielle.  Jenna was at home, but Tenielle was at work.  Jenna was still beautiful and very nice to me.  Tenielle was rude and kept saying I never called or wrote to her.

“I’m here now,” I said, but she didn’t care.  I’ll try to see them again at least once before I leave.

I talked to Cheryl for a decent amount of time at church on Sunday night.  She is doing really well, and I’m super glad to see that.  However she said that Ryan and Amy weren’t doing really well spiritually.

Peter came over yesterday.  We played Nintendo, just like the good old days.  Sarah called that even saying that Jessi was going to come see her and they were driving up to the mountains to visit, which is exactly what I am doing with Lindy (as far as I know).

Marcus came to visit last night and stayed until midnight.  Right after he left, Emily called and we talked for exactly four hours straight.  Both of us laughed, and both of us cried.  We complemented each other.  She was so good to me.  I talked to her about Sarah and she talked to me about Brandon and how much she was hurting.  I tried to explain to her how I was trying to handle Sarah and I since I was leaving.  I told her how honest I was with her.

Emily said I was doing everything right.  She said she could just go on with her life, just knowing that I was alive.  She says I do so much for her, but all I do is exist.  I just exist, but that is all that she wants.  She only wants me to alive, healthy, and happy.  Is that the truest kind of love?

As I was talking to Emily, I accidentally called her Sarah.  Oops.  It seems Emily and I have a perfect relationship.  We stand in awe of how amazing it is.

Thank you God.

Why did you give me so many amazing relationships?

May 27, 1998 – Wednesday – 11:30 a.m.

I received a letter from Emily yesterday.  It was very sad.  Her break up with Brandon has destroyed her.  She has been with him for as long as she has known me.  I talked with her over the phone for an hour and a half.  She cried the entire time.

She is such a beautiful girl with a very tender heart.  She doesn’t like the world and refuses to let her harden her.

I talked to Sarah yesterday too, and she isn’t enjoying her job.  She was down as well.

I’ve been praying for both of them.

I can’t believe this month is over.

Lees-McRae is over.

I feel my life drastically changing under my own feet.  What lies behind me was unbelievable, but I still feel there is more for me.

Oh God, you are doing this…not me.

I miss Sarah.  I miss the guys.  I miss me when I’m with them.

May 25, 1998 – Monday – 4:29 p.m.

My life has just begun, yet I already feel tired.  There are just so many people out there in the world.

Sarah and I had such an amazing weekend.  Our relationship has gotten so tight recently.  Saturday afternoon, wow!  She had my body on fire and shaking uncontrollably.  We are still virgins, of course, but I think we went too far.  We talked about it yesterday and while she was quiet she seem to agree that we shouldn’t go that far again.

I saw Christi and Jason yesterday.  I met her fiancé and Jason is getting married in three weeks and moving to Seattle.  Both Matt and Andy are going to move to Wilmington and try to get into the small film industry there.

My parents gave me $500 to help with the missions trip.  Thirty-six days remain until I leave for VA Beach, and then seven until I fly out to Dallas.  I’ve never been to Texas before.  And I found out Regent gave me a $2000 grant for next year, so that’s great news!

Here I am.

I’m almost 22-years-old, and I’ve had a steady girlfriend for half a year now, which is a record for me.  I’m going to leave the country for the first time since 1982.  I’m planning out which graduate courses I’ll take for the next two years at Regent.  And I’m currently paying rent for an apartment I have yet to see.  And I’ll soon be sharing that apartment with someone I’ve never met.

My parents are moving close to my long lost romantic pen pal.  My friends are getting married, even those younger than me.  No one truly close to me has yet to die, however, deep down, I have a feeling that I’m going to live a very long time and see experience many people die along the way.

And when I am old, gray, and wrinkled, I will be haunted by all the beautiful eyes and smiles I’ve seen along the way.

I’ll even be haunted by these pages I so diligently write in.

 

May 5, 1998 – Tuesday – 1:00 p.m.

Sarah and I spent some awesome time together last night.  I told her the stories of the two novels I wrote in high school.  Can you call them novels if they were never published?  Hmm.

And I called Emily today.  I hadn’t seen or spoken to my beautiful pen pal in a year.  I woke her up.  She sounded so much older and so much more experienced.  She just got back from her first year at FSU in Tallahassee.  I told her my parents are moving down close to her and she couldn’t believe it.  I asked her about her first year at school and she just sighed.

She and Brandon got back together after he beat her up.  She said they had an amazing relationship for a while, but then it fell apart because they had sex.  They both felt guilty for that, but then she got pregnant.  A month or so later, she had a miscarriage.  Brandon then felt like he was off the hook and left her.  She was alone for a semester in her apartment, dealing with all of that by herself, and I started to feel guilty because I didn’t keep in touch with her when she needed me the most.

I told Emily about Sarah and how we both read her letters together the other night.  She said she wanted to meet Sarah.  I told her I may be in Pensacola for a little while and that we have to hang out.  She agreed.

This is unbelievable.

Emily.

We can never say goodbye it seems.  She messed up, but she is forgiven.  She explained to me how she was getting her life back in order.  I want to go down with my parents just so I can spend time with her.

It’s been nearly five years now since we first met on that summer night at Deep Creek.

My how we both have changed.

May 4, 1998 – Monday – 4:40 p.m.

I talked to my mom over the phone today.  She told me some wild news.  She, Henry, and nate may move to Florida this month.  They are selling the house.  I had planned to live at home this summer, visiting Sarah and raising money for South Africa.  Now I don’t know what I’m going to do.  I can try to move early to Virginia Beach, or I can move to Pensacola with them.  That means I would be away from Sarah, but would be less than 30 minutes away from Emily, for Crestview is in the neighboring county.

AHHHHH!!!

This is crazy!

May 1, 1998 – Friday – 11:00 p.m.

This month has finally arrived.  Sarah and I have been doing really well these past couple of days.  I only have one final exam on Tuesday and then my Gus, the Theater Cat scene goes up on Sunday.  My beautiful Sarah is in it as well as Timothy.

This afternoon I finally heard back from Teen Mania.  They are sending me to South Africa to serve as a Team Leader for a full month!  South Africa!!  You are amazing God!

I’ve been rummaging through my boxes of stuff from Lees-McRae.  I found all the letters that Emily ever wrote to me.  What a story!  What a collection of words!

Sarah was in here the other night when I came across them, and, forgetting a lot of what Emily had written, I let Sarah read some.  She was amazed and speechless.  She did not leave my room until five in the morning.

I just got back from the spaghetti dinner tonight.  She and I went together, and just like last time, we all talked about the old ’80s TV shows we grew up on.  It was kinda weird.

Many memories have been triggered thanks to my rummaging through ancient papers of the past.  What a life I have lived here!

And in nine days, all of it will be a memory.

This room and these walls will be mine no longer.

My ending here has been a nice one so far.  At Bible Study they had me sit in the middle of the group and everyone said something nice to me.  Many just looked at me and cried. My friends said the nicest things.  Last weekend we all went up to Table Rock and experienced a perfect night together.  The city lights surrounded us in endless beauty.  I will miss this land.

I spoke at chapel on Tuesday and Allen and Abigail were in tears.  I speak at Heaton on Sunday and there I will say my goodbyes.

Sarah and I are going to have dinner at Sharon’s house on Wednesday.

I went with Jeni today to see the little cottage that her and David are moving into.  It was small and cute.

Carla will not be able to make the drive up from Atlanta to attend graduation.

In case you haven’t noticed, I really don’t know what to say except that I know I am changing.

South Africa will change me.

Regent University will change me.

But if there is one thing that is constant, it is change.  I can always count on God and I can always count on him bringing change.

God, I give you all the glory for these four years of beautiful moments.  I will follow you.  You are bigger than Lees-McRae.  You are bigger than the people I love here.  Holy Spirit, help me keep my eyes on you.

. . .

Sarah just stopped in.  She left to go to bed.  She said that I had spoiled her.  I asked in what way.  She said that I was perfect to her.

. . .

I guess I’ve been doing a pretty good job then.  She has defined my senior year.  We have had five special months together here at this beautiful campus in the mountains.  And we have decided to continue our relationship over the summer.

I’m not sure if she is perfect for me, but I sure do want her to be.