March 19, 1995 – Sunday – 10:30 p.m.

I am back in my room at Lees-McRae College.

My first ever college spring break is over.

Let’s talk about Saturday first.  I worked from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  I had never worked a Saturday morning before.  It was rough.  I ran the front counter and served every kind of person imaginable, including a person who complained because I accidentally touched the top of her cup, a guy who couldn’t speak and could only point and mumble inarticulate words that I couldn’t understand to save my life, and one of the prettiest girls I have ever seen.

The whole time I looked forward to going over to Jenna and Tenielle’s.  After I got off work, I took a shower and then arrived at their house around 3:30 p.m.  The little sleep-over party was continuing.  The guys didn’t sleep over though.  One guy named Moises had come over earlier that morning.  He is a Hispanic guy, really dark and handsome.  Tenielle likes him.  I can tell.

Other girls left and it was just myself, Jenna, Tenielle, Sunny, and a friend of their’s named Brandy.  Brandy is a beautiful 14-year-old girl.  We both got along with each other.  Hopefully I will see her again in the future.

We messed around for a while, then we decided to go to the skating ranch.

I had called Christi while I was there, just to see if she was going to be home that day.  She was, so I told her I was going to come and see her later in the evening.  I also wanted to borrow the roller blades.  So, I took the four girls to Wal-Mart because they didn’t want to go with me.  Then I drove over to Christi’s and she was out on the porch with her mom and dad.  They were scraping old paint off of the front door so they could repaint it.

A few minutes after I arrived, Hank and Patti went in and it was just Christi and I.  We talked for 30 minutes.  I can’t remember exactly what we talked about, but we generally talked about the past, the future, her brothers, our friends, and ourselves.  I got the roller blades and told her that I would be back tonight to drop them off.

So, I picked up the girls; they were happy to see me.  We soon learned, once we got to the skating ranch, that each of us was a dollar short, so we went back to Jenna and Tenielle’s house.  We ate ice cream, played Nintendo, and talked.  Some boy kept calling Jenna, so I got on the phone and said, “This is the operator, deposit 50 cents or hang up in three minutes!”

He hung up.  We all got a good laugh.  Sunny had to leave, so for the last hour, it was just myself, plus Jenna and Tenielle and Brandy.

They are so wonderful!  We always have the greatest time together.  Nothing can separate us.  Not even a three and a half hour drive.

At 9:45 p.m., I gave them all hugs and said a short goodbye, thinking I would see them again in the morning.

When I got to Christi’s, they were watching The Client.  Two older guys were in the living room with Christi and Hank.  Christi introduced me to them and I took a seat.  Once the movie was over, the guys said goodbye and left.  I was 11 o’clock, so I figured I would do the same.  I stood up and Hank said, “Where are you going?” and he pushed me back down in the chair.  And then he left!

Christi asked if I had fun skating and I told her we didn’t go and why.  She asked about how I know Jenna and Tenielle and also how old they were.  She had known them two years ago, but I had never met them then.  I told her about how wonderful our friendship is.  Then we started talking about movies and college.  She talked about her brothers some more.  I told her about myself and the way I thought.  She told me that I was scaring her because she thought and did things the exact same way I did.  She told me about some of her views.  We talked about the past and the churches we attend now.  I told her that her dad had once encouraged me to ask her out.  She was shocked.  We then talked about the jobs we had had in the past.  I told her about Charlie and she told me about how her and Ryan used to be and how they are now; not as close it seems.

All in all, we talked about change.  That one constant element that floods our lives:  change.

After what felt like only a few brief moments, I asked her what time it was.  She said, “1:20 a.m.”

I got home at 2:00 in the morning.  In fact it was this morning.

Earlier today at church, I talked to Marcus and Cheryl a little bit.  I said a few words to Pastor Steve.  And I waited patiently for Jenna and Tenielle to show up, but they never did.  When I got back to the house I called them and they said they simply didn’t wake up in time.  So I said my goodbyes, but with Jenna and Tenielle, I am always certain that I will see them again.

Henry, Mom, and Nate brought me here and we all went to church together at Heaton tonight.  It was nice to see Charlie and Dan and Clifton and Molly and Crystal and everybody else.

After my parents left, Charlie and Dan and I watched an old Andy Griffith movie called, No Time for Sergeants.

And now I am in my room.

Saturday, March 18th, 1995 was a wonderful day!

Christi and I are so much alike, but as I talked to her for over two hours last night I didn’t think of her as someone I liked, but instead I thought of her as a friend I needed.

But all of this I know I will appreciate more in two years.

March 18th, 1995 will do what all the days do.  It will fade away out of my reality and into my memory.

Everything fades away.

Fades away….

June 25, 1994 – Saturday – 9:50 p.m.

This isn’t supposed to be happening.  I should be getting further away.

Not closer.

Today was amazing!

Okay…I got up a little after five and I went to McDonald’s with Kevin and Marcus; Kevin had to work.  Marcus and I ate breakfast, waited around, talked to a girl who worked there, and went to band practice.  It was fun.  We had skit practice afterwards and Pastor Steve directed a great skit that we’ll do tomorrow.

Nana and Trish were there…I hadn’t seen them since May 26, about a month ago.  After skit practice, Nana and Trish and Marcus and I went Roller Skating.  Trish and I skated together.  A boy came up to me and said that there was a girl who liked me.  He pointed her out to me.  She had pretty eyes.  Then he said that I could “get some” from her.  I had to explain to him that I was a Christian and that I’m not like that and that I’m going to wait until I’m married to have sex.

He is only 12 and I got a chance to talk to him about Jesus some.

We stayed there for about three hours and then went to eat at Mr. Gatti’s.  We talked a lot and decided to go ice skating Monday night up in Cary.

After that we went to McDonald’s.  Trish drove me everywhere.  Nana let Marcus drive her car.

Kevin had already left and went to the Neals.  Trish made me play in the balls with her in the Playland thing.  We were throwing balls at each other; those things hurt.  Then the girl that Marcus and I talked to that morning came out there.  Her name is Danielle; she’s cool.

We got Kevin and went to youth group. Tonight’s message was nice.  I needed that.  Jenna talked to me though, she said I wasn’t the same person.  

But she doesn’t know that I am getting closer to who I am supposed to be.

I told her that my time here is almost over and that I’m moving on.

“Will you still be my friend?” she asked.

“Always,” and then I hugged her.

I talked to Tenielle on the phone from the Skating Ranch earlier.  She’s well.

The day contained more of course.  Trish was so easy to talk to.  After youth group she asked me for my phone number.

Scott did get off work to go to Deep Creek and he got a new Motorcycle which he’ll probably drive and I will probably ride on the back part of the way.

Today I got close to people.

That shouldn’t happen.

I laughed so much.

If the summer continues like today, everywhere I go, then leaving this place will be harder than I thought.

The fellowship is tomorrow.  It could all change then.

But I know I will just enjoy it and not let it go to my head.

Thank you Lord.

Thank you for the pink sunset you showed the world tonight.

But most of all, I thank you for showing me that another sun can easily rise again.  And it’ll always be different than the others before.

I felt it tonight…the love.  The world was in perfect harmony.  It was alright.

It was perfect.

I know that it probably won’t last.

But I’m having too much fun to care.

February 8, 1994 – Tuesday – 4:35 p.m.

A year ago, I got a ticket for running a stop sign.  I went to Veronica’s house a year ago.  I thought I was in love with Veronica a year ago.  I felt like I hated her a day ago.

Monday, Feb. 7, 1994.

What a day.

I will explain yesterday to you in its most minute detail.

On the first Monday of every month the Skating Ranch in Sanford has a Christian music night.  Jenna called me after I got home from school to make sure I would be there.  I told her I would.  Mom wanted me to run some errands so I couldn’t talk to her long.  One of those errands was to get gas.  When I got gas, I bought two candy bars.  I ate them both on the way home.  When I got home, I took the key out of the ignition and grabbed the candy bar wrappers.  I went inside and threw the wrappers away and then I went into my room and did what not until about 5:30 p.m.  That is when I began to get ready.  I got ready and was waiting for Marcus to call.  He was at basketball practice and he wanted to go skating.  I had planned on leaving for Sanford a lot earlier because I wanted to stop and see Christi and Ryan and Amy, but since Marcus wanted to go I decided to do that some other time.

A little after 5:30 I went to get my wallet and my Chapstick and my keys.  But my keys weren’t where I thought they were, so I looked in the dirty clothes and in the pockets of the pants I had on.  But I could not find my keys.  So, I went back in my room and looked.  Nothing.  I went out to the car, nothing.  I checked the dirty clothes, and my room, the bathroom, upstairs, and the whole house.

Nothing.

I began to pray.  I checked everything again but I found nothing.  Where were my keys?  It was nearing 6:00 p.m.  I checked the ground outside and the laundry room.  I searched throughout the whole house with absolute eagerness not even realizing what I was doing.  Then, in the midst of everything, I remembered the candy bar wrappers.  I must have thrown my keys away.  I checked the trashcan.  I moved the wrappers around and searched through the top of the trash, but I found nothing.  I searched the house again, but after finding nothing I knew that the only place my keys could be was in the trash.  So, I dug and I dug and I dug through the trash.

What was I looking for?

I was looking for the key.

The key to what?

The key to seeing Jenna.

Then I saw something down in the bottom of the trash, covered with old mushy broccoli.  I reached and picked it up and sure enough, it was the key.  I placed it on the counter.  It was dirty.  I did not move; I just looked at it.  I dug through the smelly broccoli and filthy trash just so I could go see Jenna.  While I was looking for my key, I knew it could mean only one of two reasons why.

  1. I wasn’t suppose to go.
  2. I needed to see how bad I wanted to go.

So I found my key.  Marcus called and I went to pick him up.  We got there a little after 7:00 p.m.  I walked in the door and I saw Sunny, then I saw Tenielle, and then I saw Jenna.  We said a few words.  Carmen was playing over the speakers.  I got my skates and then Jenna went out onto the floor with me and we skated together.  I was still a little rusty.  She helped me out.  We talked, laughed, almost fell on each other, etc.  She held onto my arm and my back so I wouldn’t fall.  I held onto hers for the same reason.

I enjoyed myself greatly, and this went on for about 45 minutes.  But something happened.  Jenna was next to me skating and I felt two sharp pains dig into each of my sides.  They came from someone’s fingers.  Someone was tickling me.  The person laughed and skated around in front of me.  She smiled.  It was Veronica.

I looked at Jenna.  Her expression cannot be explained in words.  Veronica got out of the way.  Jenna and I continued to skate.  Then Veronica got in the way again.  Jenna backed away.  Veronica asked me if I liked that tall blonde girl I was skating with.  I didn’t answer.  I looked in front of me and saw Tenielle and Jenna looking toward us and talking.  I told Veronica to leave me alone.  Tenielle came up to me and asked me if Veronica asked me to couple skate.  I said no, then she wanted to know what Veronica asked so she just went and asked Veronica herself.  Of course, Veronica told her.

Tenielle came back up to me and demanded to know the answer.  Jenna skated ahead.  Tenielle wouldn’t leave me alone.  So, I said, “Yes, I do.  What do you think all of the alphabet stuff means?”

“That’s what the alphabet thing means?”  Her eyes were really wide.  “How?!”

I didn’t tell her because I wanted to tell Jenna.  No one would leave Jenna alone.  They kept asking her questions.  For almost the first hour we skated together joyfully, then, thanks to Veronica, for the next hour I skated alone.

Jenna backed away from me.  We know the reason why.  I explained that on Jan. 24, 1994.  I tried to go up and talk to her.  I did a few times but not that long.  I wanted to tell her what the alphabet thing meant, but she said she didn’t want to hear it from me.  So I told Tenielle.  She begged and begged. 

Finally, I said, “If I had my way I would change the letters to where U and I could be together.”

Tenielle’s beautiful face lit up.  “Jacob!” she said and she laid her head on my shoulders.  “That’s so simple.  Why didn’t I see it before.”  She went and she told Jenna.

The night went on.  I saw Jenna very little.  Veronica got in the way.  She even asked me to couple skate with her.  I said, “No. Please go on your way.”  And she told me that Jenna was bad for me.  I thought to myself, “No, Veronica, you are bad for me.  Leave me alone.

That night Veronica seemed evil to me.  She asked me so many questions and told me so many things that weren’t true because I made her mad since I didn’t want to be around her.

I talked to Jenna a little off and on, but not as much as I would have liked.

The time came for the place to close.  Everyone was getting ready to leave and Jenna came up to me and asked me if I was mad at her.  I said, “No, are you mad at me?”  She mumbled, “No” under her breath.  I told her that I was sorry if I hurt her or made her feel uncomfortable.  She didn’t say anything.  When everyone was outside, I went up to her and said, “Listen, I would really like to talk to you, but I know I can’t talk to you here, so can I call you when I get home?”

She smiled and said, “Yes.”

I told her goodbye and Marcus and I left.

The first thing I did when I got home was pick up the phone.  Tenielle answered the phone and said, “Good.  Because Jenna wasn’t going to bed until you called.”

Jenna got on the phone and I told her no matter what happened tonight, what I was trying to say through the alphabet thing was that she is very special to me, and although I see her as more than a friend, I want her to know that she is special to me while simply being my friend.

I told her that she didn’t have to say anything.  We talked some more.  She said that she wishes Veronica would keep to herself.  I agreed.  We tried to start up a conversation, but my mom came down and told me to get off the phone.  I told her I would talk to her Wednesday.  And the second after I hung up, I wanted to call her right back and hear her voice again.  But when I’m talking to her, I don’t know what to say.  Before we hung up, I asked her if everything was back to normal.  She said, “yes.”  I believe Jenna likes me, but I don’t think she knows what to do; she’s just too shy.

So there you have it.  Would it have been better if I never found the key?  Would it have been better if I never tried to change the order of the alphabet?

But all of that doesn’t matter.  I see that Jenna and I will turn out like all the rest.  We will go our separate ways in the end, and just spend a short time together, which will only be something for me to read out of my journal when I grow older.

The bird has flown towards the moon and it is now passing.

I suppose that I have been hurt again.

It is nothing new.

If I do have a relationship with Jenna, she will not be the same person I began to like in the first place.  She still has so much growing up to do.

I wish I could be the one who would love her forever.  But that task belongs to someone else.  Some other lucky person.  Not me.  Instead, I will move on.  I will go to college, I will do what I was placed on this earth to do.

And throughout all of it I will have my Book of Days, which I will read and reflect upon my youth.  I wonder what that experience will be like; ten, twenty, or thirty years from now?

I already have a taste of what that will be like.  Yesterday I meant to see Christi and Ryan, but I didn’t and now I think it would be better if I didn’t see them at all.  Are they just girls I will now only read about in my Book of Days?

“I” must go back between the “H” and the “J,” even though I don’t really want to.  Valentine’s Day is Monday.  Why does it have to come now.

The world won’t let me change the alphabet.

But everything else in my world is changing.

On September 26, 1993 I sensed that things would change.  My old youth group.  Inseparable Friends!  Yet only four of the original 15 are still in the youth group.  It appears as though I was wrong.

The weather is getting warmer.

The days are getting longer.

I’m scared.  Where am I to go?

The flowers are fading in Time’s bitter garden.  And if they are, God then I pray, help Jenna and Tenielle begin to bloom.  I need their encouragement and friendship to get me through this.

I can’t make it without them.