June 21, 1998 – Sunday – 3:04 p.m.

It’s officially the first day of summer!

Friday night I went to Asheboro and ran into Wynne and Grant from high school.  We went to see X-Files together.  It was nice to be near them.  I rode around in the back of Grant’s truck for a bit as he cruised downtown.  It was a nice moment of wind and freedom.

On Saturday I spent the day with Sarah at Pilot Mountain on the other side of Winston-Salem.  What a magical place.  We saw Hope Floats that evening and ate dinner with her dad.  We had some difficult hikes during our hike.  I’m glad I’m leaving.  Sarah and I feel a bit stuck.  I’m sure if I were three years younger, our relationship would play out differently.  I love her, but it is closing time for us now.  I need to go away and have time with God.

Mom and Henry have given me a car.  It is a 1989 Dodge Aires, something Henry used to drive.

I have five full days left here.  I am in the process of registering for my fall graduate classes. All of that will begin in about two months, and one of those months will be spent in Africa.

I’m yours God.

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June 3, 1998 – Wednesday – 10:00 p.m.

I just got back from church.  You know, I’m really beginning to miss Lees-McRae.  It can never again be like it was.  Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Charlie, Justin, Josh, etc.; I don’t think I’ve ever had better friends.  Lindy, Tracey, Jeni, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Jessica, Ashley, Ellen, Jessi, Sherlive; I don’t think I’ve ever known sweeter girls.

Except for Sarah, of course.

And I know the God who designed their souls, who drew out the patterns in their eyes, who knew those very eyes would one day shoot daggers through my own soul.

A week from tomorrow I will be leaving to visit them all again with Lindy.

I feel Sarah has changed since she has returned home and taken her job at YMCA.  She seems more mature.  I like it.  I think about her constantly.  I want her forever; to grow old with her.  To simply experience everything by her side.

I will soon go a long time without seeing her, but I will never go a long time without loving her.

I’ve been thinking and I believe that my life has stages.  God plans on using me in different places, different areas, and in each area, in each place, he just wants to watch me interact with and love the other people he has made.  He wants me to experience his creation.  He made me to show me off, and he made others to show them off.

But each stage will eventually come to an end, and the love between us will be all that will live on.

Nothing truly dies.

The Emmanuel Players skit group was a time.

Chatham Central High School was a time.

Lees-McRae College was a time.

Heaton Christian Church was a time.

South Africa will be a time.

Regent University will be a time.

And possibly, some day, I will satisfy these desires in me to make movies, to make theater, to write, and I will move on to what’s next.

It’s funny though, because through all of these stages, I feel they came to a peak when God showed me Sarah.  Or perhaps it feels that way because I’m currently in this moment.  Perhaps she is just here to aid in the transition to the next stage.

If I never see Sarah again after South Africa, all will still be well for the rest of my life, for I know I at least had seven great months by her side.

And even an hour is way more than I deserve.

May 17, 1998 – Sunday – 6:00 p.m.

A very wonderful weekend.  I spent Friday with Sarah and friends.  We had a picnic in Reynolds Gardens.  It was so beautiful!  I swung on a swing so high that I kept hitting my head on tree branch.  Sarah and KT showed me the Stevens Center, a beautiful theater in downtown Winston-Salem where she ushered.

We hung out with her friend Madelene for a while, then Sarah went to train for her summer job at the YMCA.  I ate dinner with KT and her family, took a nap, then picked Sarah up and went to her father’s house to watch Conspiracy Theory.  I spent the night at KT’s house, ate breakfast there, then drove to Banner Elk where I met up with Allen.  We drove up Beech Mountain to the house where the girls were staying.  Lindy, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Tracey, and Abigail’s parents were there.

Allen stayed up there the whole week and I later found out through Lindy that they would stay up late every night and make out together.  Wow!  Lindy feels great about it, but Allen doesn’t.

It was nice to see everyone.  We went to Jeni’s wedding.  She was absolutely beautiful.  I was very thankful that our relationship ended when it did, that we never went too far physically, and that I wasn’t the one marrying her.  I hugged her and said congratulations.  Then, surprisingly, she kissed me on my mouth.  It was just a little tap, but it was a nice moment, a nice goodbye, and I greatly enjoyed seeing her getting married.

Thank you God!

I drove to Winston-Salem that night and met up with Sarah at Madelene’s house.  Sarah and I went for a late night walk on those city streets.  The sky was purple, and it felt more like summer than any moment thus far; a very peaceful walk.

This past week I have been working on a book for Sarah that is basically just a collection of poems for her.  I let her read the thirteen poems I’ve written for her so far.  She has been doing a similar thing for me.  I love her so much.  It scares me, because I know I would do anything for her.

I came back that night, slept, then went to church this morning.  Cheryl was there.  She seems to be doing really well.  We talked a little and plan on doing something later.

And I just now returned from visiting Wynne, a guy a graduated high school with.  He caught me up on how all the old high school folks were doing.  Apparently, many are totally messed up.  One guy died, others are already divorced, but a few did finish college on time just like me.

It’s time to go to church again.

December 19, 1997 – Friday – 2:00 p.m.

I took the GRE yesterday morning.  It went okay.  Mom and I talked a lot on the way home.  The Neals are getting divorced.  Sad, sad story.

Last night I called up Mike.  He’s doing well.  He said he might call me today.  And then, realizing it’s been two years since I have seen or talked to Jonathan, I decided to call his old house to see if his dad knew where he was.  And guess what…Jonathan was there.

He drove over to visit.  His hair was green and he had two tongue rings and a nose ring.  He hasn’t grown and he looks like he’s only changed for the worse.  He looked scared and worried and stressed.

I hugged my lost friend and everything became okay.  He is still alive.  Thank God for that.

Danny flies in from California today.  Marcus and Peter came over last night.  Marcus said that more than half of our graduating class has a kid now.  Most dropped out of college.  Some are already divorced.

Kevin says he’s moving to Texas to transfer to a school there.  He will transfer in as a sophomore after five years at Methodist College in Fayetteville.  He turns 23 in less than a month and he is only going to be a sophomore.  I’m 21 and just took the GRE for graduate school.  I just don’t understand what my brother has been doing.

Nate has begun shaving at 12.  He will be hairy like Henry.

I called Sarah today.  She was baking cookies and listening to Christmas music.    She says that she misses me and its only been one day.  That is good.  I will call her again on Monday and we will go see Titanic.  Hmm.  Sarah actually looks a little bit like Kate Winslet.

 

May 31, 1996 – Friday – 11:20 p.m.

An amazing day.  A remarkable day.  The greatest of them all, because it is now.

My last day at McDonald’s!  Omneya and I had a lot of fun today.  Every time we would pass by each other to get food she would find some way to tap me or punch me.  We said goodbye.  She seemed sad.  Perhaps I’ll see her again at Christmas.

Marcus and I went to the Lee Senior Graduation.  After the ceremony full of well-written, but poorly-delivered speeches, we got onto the field and tried to find Christi and Ryan.  It was crowded, and I couldn’t find either one.  Several minutes passed.  I told Marcus we should leave, and I turned around to go to the car and return to college without seeing my first major crush again…but then I saw a face.  A girl’s face who had turned to look at me.  It was a face I knew well, but her smile was different.  She had gotten her braces taken off.  I saw her last August when her card had broken down on HWY 421.  Her eyes brightened.  I knew she saw me.  Her smile grew bright and she said “hey.”

We hugged each other.

And those are the moments I think I live for.  All I need is for a pretty girl to see me, smile, and say “hello.”  I could get through life on that alone.

I asked her if she was still going to App. State.  She said yes.  I told her I would look her up.  She said “Yes, please do, that would be great.”

Then we said goodbye and I walked away.  She looked a little more grown up.  A very pretty smile.

Ryan, you have become so beautiful.  I will see you in the mountains my friend.

And I even saw Christi on the way back to the car, plus Jonathan’s old girlfriend Mandy.

A perfect night to close everything up until next time.

In the midst of it all, I turned and saw the full moon rising above the trees, feathering down on me.

Tomorrow…I go home!

June 26, 1995 – Monday – 8:30 p.m.

Work was fun today.

This evening I read a lot out of my screenwriting book.  It made me want to begin to write my own screenplay.  So, I got out all of my old Books of Days and began to look for simple ideas.  What I found were my days with the Emmanuel Players.  It is hard to believe that chapter of my life began to fade away over two years ago.  It was during my junior year at Chatham Central High School.  Remember when I said that if God would let me, I would relive my Junior year over and over and never move on?  I wonder if I still find that true?

I read about Ryan.  I read about Christi.  I even read about Lees-McRae in the Fall of ’93.  That is so hard to believe.  I also read about Veronica.  I remember how close we had gotten right before I left for college on August 27, 1994.  There is a chance I might see her next month.  Tim says they are coming to visit.  Veronica is the same age as Tenielle.  Those days still affect me.

Jason, the director of Emmanuel Players, still inspires me.  I try to believe that it isn’t over, but it is.  I showed Jonathan the picture of all of us taken on taken back in 1992.  Over half of that group I hardly see anymore.

“Isn’t that sad…” I said.

His reply was, “No Jacob, poetically put, that is life.”

And it was then that I realized I would go through the pains of goodbye throughout my whole life.

May 8, 1995 – Monday – 9:45 a.m.

Oh boy!!

It’s Monday morning.  I am in the post office…yesterday was amazing.

Heaton Christian Church has begun two different morning services now.  One before Sunday School and the traditional one after Sunday School.  Charlie and I went to the early service; amazing!

Psalm 15!  Read it!

I talked to Clifton and Crystal and Molly and they wanted me to come see the play they were in at the high school today.  So, I went home with Clifton and Crystal.  I watched some of Benny & Joon.  Then we went to the show.  Molly and Clifton were actors and Crystal ran the sound.

The show was okay, but you could tell it was high school.

We went to church that night and afterwards we all got pizza from The Villa, then ate it at the park.  We played all kinds of little games.  It was me, Dan, Crystal, Clifton, Caroline, Jason, Sean, Meredith, and Trey.  There was this neat jungle gym thing that we played frisbee tag on.  That was the last night I will spend with those kids for a long time.  I will miss them; they are wonderful.

I got back to my room around 9:30 p.m.  I went to the computer lab to print something out.  James was in there.  He said hey.

I went back to my room and called Syndi.  She wasn’t in.  I left her a message saying something like, “I just wanted to see what you were up to and find out what time you were leaving tomorrow.”

I met Syndi on April 22, 1995.  That was just a little over two weeks ago.  So, I turned on the TV and smiled when I saw that Jurassic Park was on.  I watched about about fifteen minutes of it before I got a call back from Syndi.  We talked for a while and I told her about my day and that I went to see a high school play that afternoon.

She responded with, “Well, why didn’t you invite me?”

I then told her that I went to the park and she again asked why I didn’t invite her.

So I said, “Well, do you want to go now?”

“Sure!”

So…we went.

Her car was already packed and I had no leg room whatsoever.  We drove to the park and played hide and go seek.  We swung on the swings.

And then this stranger said, “You know, you never taken me to meet your mom.”

I looked at her.  I wasn’t sure what was going on.  She then said, “Well, we could leave now, stop and say hi, then drive back and be here in time for my exams.”

“We could.”  I said.

I was getting a little worried.  She sounded serious.  So, I said, “Lets go somewhere a little closer where neither of us have never been before.”

“I know a place that I’ve been before, but you haven’t.”

It turns out she was talking about a beautiful waterfall around Elk Park.  So, we went.  It took forever to get there.  It was 11:00 p.m., only a quarter moon was out, so it was very dark and we couldn’t see.

We found a fence and followed that.  She took hold of my hand and we walked to the waterfall.  We stood there at the top above it.  It was very huge.  The stars were out.  We were in the middle of nowhere.  I felt free.

We found our way to the bottom and sat there.  Everything around me was beautiful…including her.  We sat there and talked about everything.

Then, I said “Could you imagine seeing the sunrise from up here?”

“We could stay if you want.”

“That would be cool.”

So, we went back up to her car and, since she was already packed up to go home, we got two pillows and two blankets out of her trunk.  We found our way back down through the dark and made ourselves a bed.

We laid there and stared up at the stars, and whatever thought was on our mind and in our hearts simply poured from our lips.  As we talked, she kept saying she was cold.  I told her to come closer to me.  She did and I put my arm around her.

We continued to talk and as we talked we got closer.  As time passed, the only sound that could be heard was the sound of the rushing waterfall and the sound of her breath as it ran across the rim of my ear.  Both of my arms were holding her.  One of her arms was around me.  She told me that she could feel my heart beating.

As I was staring at the universe above me, and holding a beautiful girl next to me, three falling stars shot across the sky.

Syndi is sweet, but she drinks a lot.  She curses a lot as well.  She is not a Christian.  I began to wonder how I got to that position.  I met this girl two weeks ago and now she is falling asleep in my arms below a gorgeous waterfall.

The subject of my faith came up.  She knew I was different.  I told her what I believed and I told her that Jesus loved her.  She said that she knew that.

Time passed, and we fell asleep in each other’s arms.

She woke me up sometime after one o’clock in the morning and said she was too cold to stay.  We gathered our bed and found our way back through the night.

As we were driving back by the college, she did not stop.  She kept going.

“Let’s go to Taco Bell!” she said.

In Boone, Taco Bell doesn’t close until two in the morning; or so we thought.  We were wrong.  It was closed, so we went to The Pantry and bought some food.  And then we drove back.

It was 3:30 in the morning when I finally got into my bed.

I woke up at seven and this day began.

I woke up happy.

I woke up free.

Syndi.  For some odd reason I care about her; a girl I hardly know.  And I thought of Jeni.  I thought of how she always wanted me to touch her body.

Then, Syndi, a girl whose body I held when it was cold, and a soul and a spirit whom I shared the love of Christ with.

I had finished the circle.  I felt pure again.

Jeni made me feel dirty.

Syndi let me keep her warm.

Jeni said that she loved me.

Syndi said that I was the most committed person to the lord she has ever met.

I feel like me again.

Thank you Syndi.

Thank you Lord.

Thank you for your waterfall.