June 28, 1998 – Sunday – 5:11 p.m.

And now the world is different again.

I went to see Sarah Friday night.  We spent three hours together from 7pm to 10pm.  We ate out at the Rockola Cafe, had some ice cream, took a walk, and then said goodbye to each other in her driveway.

It was a very nice time.  She said she loved me after I said my last goodbye.

I miss her now.  I have so much more in my heart to say, but I would rather put it in letters to her.  Find those letters if you can, for not every thought or every emotion from my life can be found in these books.

So now…

Now.

Now I sit in my new, very clean, apartment in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  My roommate’s name is Matt, and we went out to eat with his parents last night.  They prayed for us.

I went to a huge church this morning called the Rock Church.  I had a good time for being a stranger.  I also drove around this afternoon and did some shopping.  I got lost.  This area is huge and the roads just change their name out of the blue.  I never made a turn, but discovered I was on a completely different road.  Justin came to visit last night as well.  It’s nice there is one Lees-McRae friend who will be here in the summers at least.

Regent is a beautiful campus.  I can’t wait until classes start.

It feels as though I’ve grown up quite a bit in just two day’s time.  It is strange to have a kitchen to take care of.  My neighbors, who are less than 10 feet away, have children.  Matt and I are very young compared to everyone around us; very young.  Most of them have been married for a while, had a career, a couple of kids, and now they are going back to school.  I’m 21.  It feels like everyone around me is 35.

But here I am…in this new place, and I don’t think I’ve fully realized it yet.

Sarah is far away.

I love her so much.

This is crazy, and I haven’t even left for Africa yet.

God is with me, and he takes care of all my needs.

Since he is so close, I am always home.

June 26, 1998 – Friday – 8:45 a.m.

My final day is here.

I talked to Sarah last night. We are to see each other tonight to say goodbye.  She admitted the problem was not me, that I had everything figured out and in order.  She simply said she can’t handle her own self.  She doesn’t see it now, but who can handle themselves if Jesus isn’t there?  She doesn’t tell me she loves me any more.  She just sees me going away from her.

Tonight will be a night to remember.

August 14, 1995 – Monday – 12:47 a.m.

A lot has happened.

I am now in the community of Heaton near Banner Elk, NC.  I am in Clifton’s bedroom, he’s sleeping downstairs on the couch.  Crystal and I just got finished watching Sommersby.  My eyes were not dry.  Wonderful!

To me, today is still Sunday.  Yesterday’s wedding of Kathy and Henry was amazing.  They had never kissed each other until that moment there at the altar when they became husband and wife.

Kevin had secretly planned me a going-away/birthday party that night.  Marcus, Mike, Tim, John, Jenna, and Tenielle were all over there.  It was special to me.  It’s always good to know people are going to miss you.

Earlier that day though, I went to see Christi, but she was out, so Andy, Marcus, Kevin, and I watched the skit group video.  Such beautiful memories.  My eyes were not dry then either.  Simply wonderful!

So, to me the summer ended the school year began.  Everyone hugged me at church!  Charlie lost 20 pounds and this evening, Clifton and Crystal threw me a welcome back party.  Everyone from the youth group was here.  I mean everyone!

Just when I thought no one was noticing me, everyone from both of my church families came to see me come and go.

I love you Lord!  You are the giver of families.

August 10, 1995 – Thursday – 12:05 p.m.

As you can tell by yesterday’s entry…I am okay.

In retrospect, those four days in Crestview were wonderful.  Everything that I wanted to happen, happened.  Emily and I just felt a little uncomfortable.  For the first time in my life, I knew someone 100% by the spirit.  Our relationship will continue.  Emily will write me. We will keep in touch.  I need her.  And she knows that.

Tuesday night, Mike and I went to Asheboro.  I did some shopping and we played some video games.  Mike is a good friend.  I will miss him.

Jonathan is gone.  I think he is in Raleigh.  I’m not sure.  He lived here for a big part of the summer.  He slept in my closet.  But my closet is pretty big.  All of that seems so long ago.

I went to church last night.  Cheryl was there.  She is back, but that is all.  I hugged Jenna and Tenielle goodbye.

Saturday, I have to go to Sanford to get my eyes examined.  There is a wedding that afternoon at the church.  And Kevin and I plan on doing something that night.

Then Sunday will arrive and I will return to my home.

August 3, 1995 – Thursday – 5:40 p.m.

Today was my last day at McDonald’s.  My collection has grown because of that place.  So many names, so many stories.

Betty, Cindy, Debbie, Toni, Danielle, Robert, Lynn, Carl, Travis, Ronnie, Louisa, Delores, Ola, Deborah, Tim, Tamika, Tonya, Amy, Shawn, Thomas, Julissa, Betty, Virginia, Josefina, Reggie, John, Kenesha, Beth, Natalie, Mike, LaQuisha, Phillip, Martha, Herbert, Avis, Jackie, Hershel, and, of course, Barbie.

Then there were people who came through the drive-thru everyday.

Jimmy

Butch

The Mayor

The Medium Coffee Girl

The Newspaper Man

And the beautiful woman with three little girls who either got a bacon biscuit or a plain biscuit with a buttered muffin, hash brown, and a small Diet Coke.

With the bacon biscuit, her price was $3.16.

With the plain biscuit, her total was $2.63.

She came through everyday for the past three months, but I only remember her looking me in the eye once.

. . .

I called Emily a little after 5 o’clock.  They are in the middle of a hurricane.  Everything is wet.

But I like water.

Especially when it is falling.

Marcus and I will leave around 3 o’clock tomorrow morning.

And I have absolutely no idea what will happen.

June 28, 1995 – Wednesday – 10:10 p.m.

I forgot to tell you that I talked to Syndi Monday night over the phone.  She is doing okay and she can’t decide whether or not she is going to stay at home or return to Lees-McRae.  I have a hunch though that she will come back to school.  I need her there.  May 7, 1995 was simply too wonderful of a night to never see her again.

I also talked to James over the phone and I called Crystal, Clifton, and Leslie.  I miss them all.  James was as funny as ever.

Forty-seven more days.

I sat next to Tenielle at church tonight.  She is the greatest!  She smiles at me all the time.

I pray we never say goodbye.

If I could keep her by my side at all times, I would.

Goodnight Tenielle.

. . .

I came up with an idea for a screenplay today.  I will try to begin working on it.

I believe it would be titled Stranger Unaware.

I’ll keep you posted.

September 10, 1994 – Saturday – 12:20 a.m.

I haven’t written in a while.  A lot has happened.  Mattress rehearsals are going great.  It is so much more work than I thought though.  I obviously didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  

I didn’t hear one bit of honesty today in my religion class.  So I called Pastor Steve, but he wasn’t in, so I talked to Kathy, the secretary.  She encouraged me a lot.  She later hooked me up with Shurby.  He prayed for me.  I cried.  I miss their instruction so much.

Charlie took me down to Asheville this afternoon.  It was only a couple hours away.  We went to a Christian bookstore and I bought the new Amy Grant tape.  I like it.  We went out to eat then came back here and went to the high school football game.  There I met a woman I actually met my first day up here when I went to Heaton Christian Church with my mom, Sharon is her name.  She has three daughters.  Two are in high school.  One was a cheerleader there at the football game.  We went over to their house afterwards and talked until midnight.

Last night Charlie and I talked until one in the morning.  He is the only person I can talk to here.

Tomorrow morning I am helping clean a house with FCA.  I hope it will be fun.

Cheris is supposed to cut my hair tomorrow, or I guess technically today.

By the way, the Christy up here spells her name Kristi.  Oops.

This weekend I hope to write letters to a lot of people.  That will be hard.  It’s been two long weeks since I said goodbye.  And as each day passes I realize that I really did say goodbye.

My place is here now.

August 28, 1994 – Sunday – 1:55 p.m.

I have landed.

God, where am I?  Tenielle, Jenna, Veronica, Cheryl, Ryan, Amy, Christi!!  Where are you?

I’ve ended up with a roommate who smokes and drinks.  Everyone here is looking for a party

I met one Christian guy and I went to his church this morning.  It was different, but nice.

So much is happening.

But my life is here now.  The other one is over.  I have said goodbye.  All those days in the sun are gone.  VIP and Christian Skate nights no longer exist.

Skit group.  Youth group.  They are gone.

I have to start all over.  I don’t want to though, my life was so good.

This is my adventure.  My journey.  My story.

The story which I will write in my Seventh Book of Days.  Perfect timing to arrive on the last page of this book when all else is over.  I loved so many people and I still do, but it hurts to not be near them.

It’s time to go out and begin.  I want to act.  I want to make movies.  I have landed here.  To learn.  To experience.

But I have decided, I’m not going to sit on a branch and sing.

I’m going to fly this time.

August 27, 1994 – Saturday – 11:30 p.m.

Everything lasted!

A happy ending!

Band practice was fun this morning.  Everyone prayed for us.  Elliot gave us a little sermon about living for Christ!  It was awesome!  Then John told me something that stabbed me like a dagger.  He said, “I envy you man.  You’re adventure is just beginning and mine is already half over.”

I never thought about it that way.

Marcus and I went to Jenna and Tenielle’s.  Ginger cut my hair again.  She just shaved the sides closer.  Jenna and I had a good talk alone.  As did Tenielle and I.  Jenna made me a necklace.  It’s green!  I love it!  

Marcus stayed with Jenna and Tenielle while I went to visit with Veronica’s family.  Marcus let me drive his car.  While there, we watched Beethoven’s 2nd, which was actually pretty good.  I was surprised.  When it was time for youth group, Veronica decided to come with me.  Her and I got surprisingly close this evening.  It was very special.  She means a lot to me.  She is growing up to be more beautiful each day.

Youth group really helped me a lot today.  I believe the Lord is doing a great work in me.  We all threw a surprise birthday party for Shurby’s wife after youth group.  Veronica stayed for that and Jenna and Tenielle were there.

We all got along.  My goodbye’s to everyone were hard but sweet.  It was weird knowing that Ryan and Cheryl were at the beach.  I wished they were there.

Everything is packed.  All except for this Sixth Book of Days.  My paintings are off the wall.

If these walls could speak, I wonder what story would be their favorite.  They have seen so much.

But more than these walls, there are my friends.  They look out the window and they know I will be there, on the branch, singing.  But I see a storm, it is right above me.  I’m fighting it, but it hurts to hold on.  I must let go.  It’s much more powerful than me.  So I let go.  I’m waiting to land.  The wind carries me.

Another tree.

Someone else to sing for.

I’m waiting to land.

No more days.

The wind carries me.

I’m waiting to land.

 

August 21, 1994 – Sunday – 5:05 p.m.

Since Kevin is going to college tonight, both cars are needed and I won’t be able to attend the High Falls youth group tonight.  This morning however, Kristen showed up at church.  She enjoyed the service, but she had to leave early so I didn’t really get a chance to talk to her.

Jonathan’s car is broken some how.  When Kevin drove it back he accidentally did something to the ignition and it won’t turn, therefore it won’t start.  So Jonathan’s mom came to his house and picked him up.  His car stayed here.  

I took him home this morning.  It was time to say goodbye.  Instead I said “See ya,” and I beeped my horn as I drove off.

He told me how much positive influence I had been on his life.  And then he said, “Jacob, any good thing I do in this life, all the credit should come right back to you.”

One more person.

After hearing those words, I believe I can do almost anything in this life.

I will see you again my friend.

The church fellowship at Kiwanis Park was today.  Overall I had a good time.  Shar was there and she gave me a letter, which didn’t really surprise me since I had run into her mother yesterday and she told me that her daughter really liked me, but she never said anything because she didn’t want to scare me away.  I’ve known Shar for a long time.  She has grown up to be a pretty girl.

The letter she gave me said that she’s been praying for me as I prepare to leave for college and that she is going to get me a going away/birthday present.  I saw Shar differently today.  I told her I would write her while I was at college and we would see what might happen from there.

I do like her I guess, but I don’t Iike her like her.

Now that Jonathan is away, Jenna and Marcus finally spent some quality time together.  It’s good to see him smile again.

Tenielle drew me a pretty bald eagle and gave it to me today.

Today was my last Sunday.  Someone shared with me their infatuation with me and my best friend is hours away.  I can see his car outside my window and it looks like he is here, but he is not.  

All is coming to an end.

I saw the corner tree today while at Kiwanis Park, but I chose to not walk over to it.

Andy is in Wilmington and I believe Jason is back, so I’m going to try and see him during this final week.

Dreams are all I’ve ever known, but now in a week’s time I will begin making those dreams come true.

Next Sunday is coming closer.  I can feel my heart closing in.

I can’t breathe.

I can’t win.