August 8, 1999 – Sunday – 8:43 a.m.

I got home yesterday around one in the afternoon.  The ten hour drive from Vermont was a completely wonderful thing.  In fact part of me still feels like I’m there under that early morning star-filled sky.  It was nearly as vast as the sky I saw over Africa a year ago.

About 30 minutes after I got home, I got a call from Dayton asking if I was able to go to one final Master’s Commission service.  The service will be later on today, right down the street at Centerville Fellowship.  It’s been about three weeks since I’ve last saw everyone.

Last night I hung out over at Kimberly’s and then met up Sterling and family at Upton’s.  They went home, and I went to see The Blair Witch Project.  I had heard the whole thing was made up, but that didn’t keep me from being scared.  My knees were knocking against each other.  The theater was packed and some people clearly believed all the marketing and thought it was really found footage.  I saw a group of girls so terrified they ended up sitting in the same seat holding each other.  It was pretty cool.

Mary called me last night and we talked for about three hours.  She’s so funny.  She’s so weird.  I’m glad we’re good friends.  I’m glad me being myself seems to bless her.

Throughout our conversation I kept talking about Lindy since I had just recently seen her and her parents.  I was just talking about what a wonderful friendship we had, and then after a while Mary said, “Jacob, you’re in love with her!”

Uh…

I just kept talking.  Part of me was thinking “Duh! Like I don’t know that.”  But the other part of me was thinking, “Are you crazy, she’s like my sister!”

But this isn’t a new thought.  I’ve always battled those two thoughts.  Lindy is my friend, one of the best I’ve ever known.  We seem to never run out of things to tell each other.  Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up next to someone and have everything in the world to talk about?  What a beautiful miracle that would be.

 

March 5, 1999 – Friday – 1:05 p.m.

See, I hardly have the time to write, it’s already March 5th!

It’s been a hard week.  Thursday night was nice.  I went over to Kimberly’s and Marion, Michelle, and Rebekah came to watch Sense & Sensibility with us.

But yesterday was horrible.  Outside of beautiful girls who are much younger than me, I have no one to hang out with.  No guy my age seems to care around here.  No one seems to know how to love and I fear it is happening to me.  I fear the busyness of this place is causing me to forget how to make time for people.  No one knows me well enough to trust their life and heart in my hands.  I try to give my time, but no one wants it.  No one wants my heart either.  I have beautiful girls to laugh with, but I have no truly close friend my age to cry with.

What I need now is someone to cry with.  I need Vince, Curtis, Dan, Allen, Charlie, Jeni, Tracey, Josh, Abigail, and Lindy.

Could the season of truly close friendships be over?  Does it only happen in the college dorm lifestyle when you share a bathroom and share a cafeteria?  Is it true that it can never happen again?

I’ve been sitting here for a minute.  I think I’m just angry because Amy rejected me and my roommate Matt and I don’t really get along.  I tried to befriend him, but he no longer talks to me.  I don’t even think he’s attending class anymore.

I need a friend God.

A true close friend.

Will all my friends remain in the mountains?  I hope they come see me soon.  There is talk of a few coming to visit over their spring break.

I hope, I hope.

November 1, 1998 – Sunday – 4:20 p.m.

November began today.  I awoke in my room and Justin, Vince, and Dan were asleep on the floor beside me.  Dan called me Friday and said they were coming and come they did.  They spent the night at the beach on Friday and arrived at my apartment early Saturday morning.  It was so great to see them.  They came to drama practice with me and we spent Halloween night between Justin’s church and my church.

They came to church with me this morning and we went to the beach together this afternoon.  And just now we all prayed together before they drove off and left me here to continue my life without them by my side every day.

Every minute with them was perfect.  Nothing was different between us.  Time does not harm true friends.  I got to give them a brief taste of my life here, as well as my new friends, and it became very clear to all of us that this was my home and not theirs.

They home they have is mine no longer.

They were the same, and we were the same together, but life will take us to different corners of the earth.  But no matter how far we travel, I would give my life for them.

True perfect friends.

October 17, 1998 – Saturday – 3:24 p.m.

We went to Portsmouth First Pentecostal Holiness church last night.  I rode in the van next to Kimberly.  Then sun was setting as we drove over the water and the skyscrapers of downtown Norfolk were silhouetted by a perfect sky.  It was a beautiful drive, both inside the car and out.  Laughter filled the air as a Down Syndrome kid expressed his love for the Children’s church leader.

I saw Rachel, the red-head I met at Bethel Temple, at the church.

Tonight is the going-away party for Tammie and Jose.  Justin is going to go with me.  He’s in town for Fall Break.

I love my youth group.

It’s such a divine appointment for all of us to be together right now.  Like it was always meant to be.

Just like Lees-McRae, it was all always supposed to happen just like it did.

May 14, 1997 – Wednesday – 8:49 a.m.

Our meeting was good.

She had a meeting at 5:00 p.m., so we went to the beach and talked for nearly four hours.  She looked great.  She told me about her world and her problems.  She told me how much she hates her dad, how her and Brandon are back together, and how much he wanted to meet me.  Perhaps he doesn’t remember me from before.  We had a good talk.  Talking and writing is all we know how to do.  We have given up the romance and focused on our needed friendship.

I told her about Abigail, Jeni, and Jessica.  She told me about this world and I’m very glad that I live in a secluded little village in the mountains.  Emily has changed over the years.  Her focus on life is different.  All of the death around her has changed her.  I liked her better three years ago, but I love her so much more now.

This story of mine.

And Emily is another girl.

Just one of the many.

But I could not exist without her.

And I don’t know why.

June 6, 1996 – Thursday – 11:20 a.m.

I talked to Emily for about 45 minutes on Monday night.  So good to hear her voice and have her back in my life.

I painted and cleaned up the Box Office on Tuesday afternoon.  Charlie came back from Florida on that day.  He stopped by to see me.  Alison and Craig came over as well.  Such wonderful people here.

At church, Laura, Molly, Clifton and a few of the other youth group members and I are working on a new skit.  We perform it on the 30th of this month.

I believe Vince should get into town tonight.  He might spend the night here.

It just feels so good to be away from home; to be a vital part of my own land, my own church, my own community, and to be a good friend to everyone around me.

It feels good to be alive for Jesus!

April 25, 1996 – Thursday – 10:10 a.m.

Tuesday night I received the Gary Juhan Leadership Award for being an amazing Resident Assistant.  It was almost like the Oscars.  Wednesday evening at the Performing Arts Banquet, I received a certificate for my special achievement and commitment to the department.  The banquet was a really special time.  We watched a video with dozens of clips from the seniors.  I will miss them.

After the banquet and after the team meetings, we went to church.  There we watched a slide show of old beach trips that happened before I got there.  I talked to Laura afterwards, she may be working at Bamboo Gardens, across the street from LMC, during the summer.  I told her I would visit her.

FCA was meeting at the Holston Camp about a mile away.  Vince and Ellen and I went early just to walk around.  We took a short trail to a neat rock and screamed and shouted and heard our echoes.

The sun was setting.  It was a beautiful time.

We had a camp fire for the meeting; we sang songs and ate smores.

I took a moment and stepped away and walked down toward the lake.  I stood and looked up at the moon.  It was not a full moon, it was a half moon.  I realized I’m not looking for the sun, but instead for the other half of the moon.  The other side of me.

I prayed and committed my life to the Lord, and then I asked him for a special friendship with Laura.

This morning I had an appointment with Dr. Ellis in Boone.  He wanted to look at my mouth.  I’m healing, but slowly.  Sharon took me.  As always, we had a great conversation. I can tell her so much and she understands.  She’s a friend, a mother, she’s everything.  I love her greatly.

Tomorrow is the last day of classes.  Exams end on Tuesday for me.

And five days after that, Charlie will graduate and I’ll return to my old home, only to miss this place and wish to return.

January 25, 1996 – Thursday – 2:45 p.m.

Yesterday was dull.  I was down.  Then I got a call from Brandon and he asked me when my Spring Break was.  I said the week of March 11th.  We made some small talk about me coming out there to visit like we always do.  It’s been three years since he moved to Arizona.  Every time we talk on the phone, we always talk about seeing each other somehow.  But we were simply dreaming a winter dream.

However, yesterday as we spoke, he said very plainly:  “You need to come out here man, because I need a best man.”

At first I didn’t catch what he said, but then it hit me.

“A best man!  What are you talking about?”

This went on for a few minutes, but I eventually realized my best friend who moved away is now getting married.  Well, to make a long story short, I went to Noah’s Ark travel in town and right now next to me is my dresser is a round trip ticket to Arizona during Spring Break.

Little me is going out west on a plane.

I got a cheap ticket for only $200.  The Lord has blessed me.  The plane leaves from Atlanta.  Curtis will take me since he lives in Atlanta.

I’m finally doing it.

I don’t really have the money, but Brandon is getting married.  I’m going to go meet his future wife.

June 20, 1995 – Tuesday – 10:02 p.m.

Today was my day off.

Jonathan was going to New Bern today to visit his grandmother, so I went with him.  It was three hours away towards the coast.  We had a wonderful time.

Jonathan was born there and grew up there until the 6th grade.  He then moved to Greensboro to stay with his father.  Their house burned down and they moved to Bonlee.  He went to the seventh grade there.  We met and now both of our lives are better.

We did some crazy things.  I bought some shorts, and then we found these “Home Boy 25 cents Bumpin’ Snack Sticks” that we just had to buy.  Who calls beef jerky a “Home Boy 25 cents Bumpin’ Snack Stick?”  I guess it worked though.  The name was so crazy we had to buy it.

I saw the place where Jonathan grew up.  We took some pictures.

And it was a peaceful, simple day.

I had never been to New Bern before.  But, as I looked into the lives of some of the people there, I realized that it was just as great as any other place in the world.

I met new people today.  Relatives of Jonathan who said that he talked about me every time he came home.

He is a faithful friend.

For the past month and a half our family has given him a place he can call home.

This wandering soul with a pierced nose and dyed hair is my best friend.  That is something that takes time.  Something one can’t find just around the corner.

We’ve cried.  We’ve laughed.  We’ve shared.  He brings out parts of me that no one else can.

If I had to…I’d give up my life for that boy.

February 12, 1995 – Sunday – 11:59 p.m.

Nate was born ten years ago today.  Happy birthday little brother.

Today was 100% wonderful.  After getting ready for church I ate breakfast down in the cafeteria.  Richard was down there, but he left and then Jeni came.  She sat at the same table and we said a little bit to each other.  I had to go because I was going to church with Charlie and Steven.

Church was wonderful.  I am starting to enjoy hymns now.  We never sang them at my old church.

Laura was there.  We said nothing to each other.  Her hair was curled and she was wearing white.  Jeni noticed me looking at her.

After church Charlie and Dan and I went to eat at the school cafeteria and then we went to see Steven off.  He headed back to Savannah, Georgia.  I’m sure I will see him again.  He’s a funny guy and one of Charlie’s best friends.  The night we all went sledding was a wonderful night.

After Steven left, Charlie and Dan and I went to this girl’s house in Elk Park.  Her name is Molly.  She goes to Heaton and the youth group.  She is 15-years-old.  We went over there to watch videos of beach trips the youth group took two to three years ago.

I had a lot of fun.  Molly’s boyfriend was there and we played Rook.  Molly plays the piano and she showed me some of her music.  She is a nice girl and she is also interested in the skit group/drama ministry thing we hope to begin.  We talked about it some.

We stayed there all afternoon; until church that night.  This church is so wonderful.  Just simple mountain people loving God and loving people.

Laura was there as well.  She looked at me twice.  I looked at her dozens of times.

As before, we said nothing to each other.

Isn’t that great!  There is a mystery here.  And I hope the answer is not discovered for a very long time.

After the evening service Charlie and Dan and I, plus Jason, Carolina, Molly and her boyfriend and Crystal and Clifton went to Peggy’s, this country restaurant place.

Caroline is a girl from church and Crystal and Clifton are brother and sister.  They go to Heaton and are greatly interested in the skit group.  Crystal wants to be either an actor or a director.  She does theater in high school.

The two of us talked for a while.  We had a lot of fun.  Everyone there loves to laugh.

After we left from there Crystal and Clifton invited whoever wanted to to come over to their house and watch a movie.

Only Dan and I went.  Dan is from Oregon.  He goes to Emmanuel College in Johnson City, Tennessee.  We get along great.

At their house we watched Batman Returns.

Crystal and Clifton are really great.  Clifton is a freshman in high school and Crystal is a junior.  She is a pretty girl.

They want me to come back over again sometime.

It has begun.  I realize now that it was hard for me.  Back home, I had Ryan, Amy, Cheryl, Christi, Jenna, and Tenielle as close friends.  Here, I only had Jeni as a close friend.

I need this youth group.  I need a lot of close friends.  I need new memories.  I need this church.

What happened today could not have happened if I were still with Jeni.

Although I have been me, I am becoming more of me everyday.

I thank you Lord.

This is the new beginning of so many new stories.  Some will end in four years.  Some will end before that.  And some will never end.

Just like many from Sanford and Siler City, they will never end.