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.

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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.