September 5, 1994 – Monday – 9:25 p.m.

My mom just called me.  She was bored.  They are going to come see me next Monday.  Actually they are doing some sort of romantic trip and decided to kill two birds with one stone and see me as well.

She says Marcus seems lonely now that everyone is gone.

I’m going to try and call Jonathan, then I’ll write some more.

He wasn’t in.  I guess I’ll write him.

Mom tells me that Tenielle made me a bald eagle sculpture.  She will give it to me when they come up a week from today.

Rehearsals begin tomorrow.

I’ve been practicing with my keyboard since I’m in a piano class.  It’s coming along.

Here’s my schedule:

World Civilization – MWF – 8:00 a.m.

Acting I – MWF – 9:00 a.m.

Intro. to the Bible – MWF – 10:00 a.m.

Intermediate Algebra – MWF – 1:00 p.m.

Alpha Class – W – 2:00 p.m.

Intermediate Spanish – TT – 8:00 a.m.

Piano I – TT – 9:30 a.m.

Intermediate Spanish Lab – TT – 10:30 a.m.

Expository Writing – TT – 11:00 a.m.

And rehearsals are every night except for Friday and Saturday for all of September.  So that’s my schedule.  That is life for a while.

I love it!!

I miss Nate.  I miss him making me laugh.

I miss Mr. Benton and Mrs. Gray.

My God!  I can’t go back.

Jenna!  Touch my cheek once more.

May 13th?

That was so long ago.  It’s September!!

I know I’ve asked this before, but what was it all for?

Perhaps it all happened just to be an inspiration.  Whatever the reason, I won’t let it go to waste.  My Books of Days will keep it alive.

August 3, 1994 – Wednesday – 11:30 p.m.

Jenna read Jonathan’s letter tonight at church, but she must have thought it was funny because she didn’t seem to take it too seriously.

We went to Christi’s tonight.  Christi and I played cards and we all ate while watching some musical.  I had fun.  And Christi and Amy made up.  Don’t worry about why they were at odds, it’s over now.

Well, it’s set.  Everything is clear with everyone.  I just have to say goodbye.  I have 24 days remaining.  The 27th of August is actually my last day because I leave real early on the 28th.

It seems like I’m just waiting.  There isn’t much for me to do.

Joel wants Marcus and I to spend the night with him Saturday night.  Hopefully we’ll have a good time.  Cheryl is in Ohio, but she should be back within a week.  Jason will be back in two weeks.  Jonathan leaves for college on the 21st, a whole week before me.

I can’t believe we haven’t gone swimming at Megan and Shelly’s yet.  I hope to get to see Nana, Trish, and Brian at least once more.  The same with Kristen, Hannah, Bradley, Glenn, Lisa, Tony, Leslie, Kim, and Kenny.

Misty was staring at me in church tonight.

I haven’t seen Scott in a while.

The Neals are in Tennessee.

Jenna and Tenielle are themselves.  I still hug them.

Ryan and Amy?  Well, I know where they live.

Veronica?  I will stop by and give her one last hug.

And I will drive by my High School one last time.  I might even call a few people from there.

I’ll go to Kiwanis Park and San Lee Park.  I’ll look in th window at Mr. Gatti’s, and remember the Valentine’s dance that Jenna and Tenielle went to, as well as the one I went to with Veronica.

I’ll listen to some of our old skit music once again and I may even try on my old uniform.

I’ll walk the railroad tracks again and I’ll serve more people at McDonald’s while everyone calls me “Fry Guy!”

I’ll go skating one last time this Monday, I hope.  And I just might borrow the roller blades, again.

I will sing background vocals in front of my church, and play my different mime character in Faith Street.

And I will remember how long I’ve been here and all of the things I’ve seen.  I’ll remember Freeze and Justify.  I’ll remember all of my Carowinds trips.  I’ll remember Brandon.

Endtime Warriors.

Emmanuel Players.

The best days of my life.

U & I.

V.

The Collection.

Objects in the rear view mirror.

Inseparable friends!!

Perhaps I was right.

July 3, 1994 – Sunday – 10:30 p.m.

Can you believe it?  Today was actually a great day!

After church we went to Jenna and Tenielle’s to swim.  Rebecca was over there too.  And even though Kevin and Marcus were around everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Today, while I was changing in the bathroom I saw a diary of Jenna’s.  There were only two entries written in it, June 3rd and June 4th.  I’m sorry to say, but I read them both.  I was mentioned in both and in the second entry she said that Marcus gave her a yellow rose, but she didn’t accept it.

I’ve been around Jenna and Tenielle for five days in a row.  I’ve been over at their house for four days in a row.  If things go how I want them to, then I’ll see them tomorrow as well.  And as you know, tomorrow is the 4th of July.

Something is up with Scott.  Before youth group started last night, he said he was going to get his Bible, since he had some time.  But he never came back and he wasn’t at church today either.  Earlier that day, he called me at Jenna and Tenielle’s.  He said he was trying to get a hold of me all day.  Then, when we before youth group started he sat alone while Tenielle was off talking to Kevin and Marcus was talking to Jenna.

Scott has no one special in his life.  Cheryl is the only girlfriend he’s had in the past two years and she is now dating the very handsome Joel, who is super muscular and Scott is totally overweight.  It has to hurt.  He doesn’t even have friends to talk to like I have in Jenna and Tenielle.  He thinks that Kevin and Tenielle and Jenna and Marcus are couples.

But they are only friends, just like I’m their friend.

Anyway, he never came back and I’m worried about him.

I have about 55 days until my departure.  And each day as I get closer and closer to the 28th of August, I get closer and closer to the people around me.

Deep Creek is almost here and soon I will stand over the creek that runs next to the Pizza Hut in Bryson City, NC.  There I will think of how the past year has gone since I last stood on that ledge.

My Senior year.

Remember when I shed a lightning tear?

It was over Ryan.

Now I hardly know who she is.

Then I wrecked my stepfather’s car.

Objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.

Inseparable friends I thought we were.

Now I’m not so sure.

Then Jonathan and I took a College Day

To a place so far away.

Then the sun went down and by the moon two birds did fly

Now, as they circle me, I don’t want to say goodbye.

I seem close to all of this; not far.

But objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are.

I have a gift of 55 days.  I wish I could take the flowers with me, but they must grow in the Son’s rays.

Some things just cannot be.

My winter dream did change.

And they will probably change again.

I’ll soon have a new room to rearrange.

All around will be be beautiful women.

But now I will continue to drive my car,

Until I cross the bar.

From time to time I will look back far, 

And objects in the rearview mirror will appear closer than they are.

June 16, 1994 – Thursday – 8:28 p.m.

Dad hasn’t said anything.  I’m pretending like nothing has happened.

For Deep Creek this summer it doesn’t look like many people are going.  Everyone is busy and working.  We’ll see.

Tomorrow Dad and I are going to King’s Dominion.  I’m disgusted with him, but life goes on.  It is his problem, not mine.

I miss home.  I miss church.  I wonder if Jenna and Tenielle have continued on without even noticing that I’m not there to hug them.  I know Tenielle probably has; she has Kevin.

I hope Jenna is missing me and thinking of me.

Since I’ve been up here, I’ve realized that I can make it away from home.  It’ve got everything settled for college, I believe.

When I signed Jenna’s yearbook last Thursday I wrote something along these lines:

“As you know…in the past I had strong feelings for you, but through it all I’m glad we remained friends.  Although I wanted more, I knew it could never be more wonderful than each time I saw you smile.  abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz.  U and I were both happy with the alphabet just like this.  Elephant Shoe!”

She didn’t read it until after I left.  When I hugged her Friday night after graduation, I could tell that she had read it.  She seemed to appreciate it.

Then Renee smiled at me.  It’s so true.  Another girl always comes along.

Up in Banner Elk, I can assure you that another girl will catch my eye and perhaps even my heart.  It will happen.  I am human.  I desire to love and be loved.

But that story hasn’t begun yet.  It’ll begin in a few months.

June 10, 1994 – Friday – 11:58 p.m.

As I am writing this it is becoming the 11th day of June, 1994.  Today dad and I saw City Slickers II and tonight I received my high school diploma.

It happened.  I graduated from high school.  Jenna and Tenielle were there.  They seemed to enjoy it.  I gave them a big hug!

I can’t believe it’s over.  All those people.

There was one thing that happened tonight.  It happened twice.  I can’t get it out of my mind.  A girl was near me while I was in the midst of the crowd after graduation.  I was talking to someone happily and then turned and I saw her and she smiled at me.  Then later, while talking to Jenna and Tenielle, I saw her looking at me.  I looked at her and she smiled like she had known me forever.

But this sophomore girl has only said four words to me since she came to high school.  Once, in the sight and sound section of Wal-Mart in Sanford, she said “hey.”  The other three words she spoke to me during switch day of my senior year.  She said, “Turn around Jacob” because she wanted to see how I had stuffed my butt to look more like a girl.

This girl is Renee and it is very unlikely that my eyes will ever see her smile again.  I thought of her the rest of the night.

I am leaving tomorrow to go to Virginia.  Everyone else from my graduating class is going to the beach, but that’s just not me.

My collection has grown.  My collection of farewells.

I will miss it.  I will miss them greatly.  It’s hard to know what to say, but all good things must come to an end.

I have a list.

A list of my own.

Schindler had his and I have mine.

His was a list of lives he’d saved.  Mine is simply a list of people I’ve shared existence with.  And I say goodbye to you.

We are the class of 1994.  You have shaped me.  And even those at Chatham Central who are not in the class of 1994, you have shaped me as well.  

Thank you Renee.  

Thank you for smiling at me.  

You made this graduation so wonderful.

June 9, 1994 – Thursday – 11:59 p.m.

This day will be over in one minute.  Oh God, please let a new day begin so this one will only be in the past.  Then I can begin to forget this day and have my whole life ahead of me.

Never before have I not wanted to write about a day’s events.  But that is not fair to you, even though at the moment even thinking about the day feels like its killing me.  But I will write and I’m sure I’ll learn from it later.  I have to.  This couldn’t have happened for nothing.

It began on December 8, 1993.

Why?

For God to teach me something.

Today at Graduation practice I sat next to Deanna because her last name is after mine in alphabetical order.  Earlier, Marcus came up to her and was just messing with her.  She told him to get the blankety-blank away from him.  While we were seated, she told me that she couldn’t stand Marcus at all.  They used to be good friends, but Deanna said it stopped after he asked her if she would be his first and when would that be?  And then Dawn said that he said the same thing to this little Freshman girl.

I couldn’t believe it.  Deanna doesn’t lie.  She might curse, but she doesn’t lie.  I tried to forget about it.  Marcus does flirt and he does joke around.  Perhaps they just took it the wrong way.

Anyway, the Senior Picnic was cancelled, so we went straight to McDonald’s to get Kevin.  He wasn’t ready to get off yet, so we went to Jenna and Tenielle’s house.  Cheryl showed up.  Wayne and Misty were already there, but even more people were coming later.  

After a while, Kevin called and I went to get him and then we came back.  He and Tenielle spent the whole time together.

In one of Tenielle’s letters to me, she said that since I was leaving for college she should talk to me more.  But today, anything she said to me was just a nosy question.

Jenna and I were okay for a while.  We were okay the whole time.  I guess it was just me.  I say we’re just friends, but I keep wanting more in my heart.  Stop it Jacob!  You’re only hurting yourself!

Joel came.  Then Scott.  Then Tim.

Joel does like Jenna.  As does Marcus.  And then there’s little me.

This was supposed to be a party for Marcus and I, but when we got there everything was normal.

Cheryl and Jenna and I went for a walk and they told me that it was all set up just to play a trick on me; a trick to make me think that they were throwing us a party.  And Jenna gave me that direction page on purpose.

I felt so terrible.  And there they were laughing about it.  I felt stupid, uncared for and unloved.  After our walk, I took my poor little body and fell down on Tenielle’s bed and tried to sleep next to Tyler, one of the little babies their mother babysits.

It felt good to get away.

When I woke up, they had a cake out and cards from everyone; some even with money.  I still felt mad and I still felt stupid.  I saw then that they just really wanted it to be a surprise, but did they have to make me feel like an idiot just to have their surprise?  The cake made everything a little bit better.

We went swimming.  I guess it was fun.  But near the end of the day, I would look around and see Tenielle with Kevin, Jenna with Marcus, and myself alone.  That evening we played Monopoly and there were seven other guys there in Jenna and Tenielle’s house.  

SEVEN!  

It used to just be me.  It started out with only me, but now I am leaving the picture.  On the way home, Kevin and Marcus were talking in code to each other, but I figured out what they were saying.  Marcus did ask Jenna out, but she said no.

I guess that’s good for me.  Not that I want to go out with Jenna, but if she would have said yes, it would have really hurt.

Anyway, out of all the mess of the day, I did have a good talk with Jenna.  I asked her if she felt like she was in the wrong place and that there was more waiting on her?  And then for one day, all of that perfection seems to find you and everything comes together, but then the next day it’s all a big mess again and nothing makes sense?

She didn’t know what I was talking about.  I told her that this is not me.  The Right Now is not me.  This is not who I am suppose to be.  There is more.  And I haven’t found it yet.

Before we left, I was on the trampoline alone.  Jenna and Marcus were together and Kevin and Tenielle were together.  I looked up at the stars and I sung a song from The Lion King:

“Can you feel the love tonight?  The peace the evening brings?”

No, I couldn’t.  But I felt it when it used to be just the three of us on that trampoline.

It is, however, now 12:40 a.m.

It is Friday!  Another day!

Yesterday is in the past.

I will find myself one day soon.  The sad thing is, I want it to happen here.  Here is my home where I’ve lived for 12 years.  I want it to happen here so everyone can see me grow, but it doesn’t look like it will happen here.

But hey, it’s the law of undulation right?  We will still have fun and we’ll still have sorrow.  

I’m just sick of letting it all go to my head.

June 8, 1994 – Wednesday – 11:55 p.m.

It was a good night.  Joel is over here right now.  We’ve been playing Monopoly.  Marcus won.

Joel is leaving now.

Before I tell you about tonight, I must say that tomorrow, the 9th of June, will be a wonderful day.  First is graduation practice, then the senior picnic.  Afterwards, we’ll go to Jenna and Tenielle’s for the pool party and I’ll have to tell you something about that later.

As for tonight…Anne is singing with us up on stage again.  Megan gave me a graduation card; it was really funny.  After church I talked to Jenna.  She was so funny tonight as well.  We were all talking about the pool party and giving everyone this photocopied page with directions on it.

Not thinking, Jenna handed it to me to see if she had the directions right, but on the top of the paper was written: “Surprise Pool Party for Marcus and Jacob’s Graduation!”  Then realizing what she was showing me, she snatched the paper back out of my hand.

Can you believe it?  They are throwing us a party!  No one has ever thrown me a party before.  But my beloved Jenna and Tenielle are.

It feels so good to have them care for me like they do.  I thank you for them Jesus!  I praise your Holy Name!  May we continue to grow closer and be friends forever!

June 7, 1994 – Tuesday – 3:10 p.m.

Last night while watching the kids in Bonlee, I called Jenna and Tenielle.  I asked them if they wanted to come to my graduation.  They do and their mom is coming too.

Then this morning my dad calls and said that Grandma and Grandpa have decided to come.  I told them that I didn’t have enough tickets.  They said it was okay.  They just wanted an excuse to get away, they didn’t really want to come to my graduation.  My mom tells me that I should tell Jenna and Tenielle to not come and let Grandma and Grandpa have their tickets, but there is no way.  Tenielle cancelled a beach trip with a  friend so she could come and at the moment, they are much more important in my life.

Cheryl also called me this morning and told me that Jenna called her and wanted her to call me.  Since their phone bill was so high that can’t afford to call long distance.

Anyway, they are planning a pool party for Thursday and they, of course, want me to come.  It starts at 11:00 a.m. but I called them up and told them I couldn’t get there until the afternoon since the senior picnic is also that morning.

Tomorrow is Wednesday.  That means church and then the pool party and then graduation.  I’ll be in Virginia for seven days.  Those seven days will be over before I know it and then I’ll have 70 days left.

Seventy days!

Ten weeks.

Two and a half months.

June, July, August!

Where did November, December, January, February, March, April, and May go?

I know where they went.  They went into My Book of Days.  Anything in My Book of Days means it has come and gone and a totally new day is about to begin.

Here’s to tomorrow…

June 5, 1994 – Sunday – 11:45 p.m.

I hugged Jenna twice today.  That makes it another best day of my life.

This morning I played both of my characters in Children’s Church.  It was fun.  Afterwards when I had all my make up on I gave Jenna and Tenielle a hug and rubbed my white face makeup all over their faces.  This evening while Marcus and I were getting ready to go to Baccalaureate, he gave me a big hug and said all this weird stuff.  He said he felt like he had been played as a fool.

I think I know what happened, but I can’t prove that this is the truth.

This morning Jenna gave me a letter; it was short and sweet.  I put that letter in my drawer and then later I found it on the floor.  Marcus must have found it and read it; I’m not entirely sure though.

This is what Jenna’s letter said:

“I wish you would hug me like that more often.  You can really hug when you try.  I love you.”

Marcus likes Jenna but I’m not sure how she feels about him.  She tells me that she love me often, but she means it in a friendly way.  At least that’s the way I take it.  Oh well.  Tonight was the Baccalaureate Service.  I had a good time.  It was good to see everyone.  I’ll see them at our final graduation practice and then the Senior picnic and then graduation night.  And several names will be added to My Collection, those greetings and farewells.

We drove to church after the service and caught the tail end of it.  Jenna and Tenielle gave Marcus and I a little teddy bear wearing a gap and gown and a mug as graduation presents.

Jenna looked so pretty tonight.  She gave me another hug and said, “Yep, there it is.”

I said, “What?”

“That pelvis bone digging into my hip,” she said.

“It’s not my fault I’m so skinny.”

“No, I love it,” she replied.

Anyway, it was a good day.  Another day has passed and it sadly passed too quickly.

This time next week, I’ll be in Virginia with my dad.  Out of the 84 days of summer, I can give him at least seven.  I figured the beginning of the summer was the best time for me to visit before everything gets really deep and emotional.   

I wonder if everyone will miss me for a week?  I’ll know I’ll miss them.

June 2, 1994 – Thursday – 11:20 p.m.

Today was my first real day of summer.

Only 87 more of them.

Here’s what I did:

After I woke up real early I took Kevin to the McDonald’s in Sanford where he is working now.  I came back and took mom to work and drove home.  At home I laid out in the sun and lifted weights, but obviously I didn’t do both at the same time.

At 1:00 p.m. I went to graduation practice and saw everyone for one last time.  After it was over I went straight to Jenna and Tenielle’s so their mom could cut my hair.  Since Shar wanted everyone to go skating tonight, Jenna and Tenielle came back with me to pick up Nate at the babysitter’s and then to pick Mom up in Pittsboro.  She drove us back and dropped us off at Mike’s.  We then rode with him to the Skating Ranch.

It was Country Music Night, but I had a good time, nonetheless.  

Jenna and I talked a lot.  Kevin and Wayne showed up later and he and Tenielle talked the whole night.

But as for Jenna and I, we laughed the whole night.  Then one of Jenna’s friends, a little boy from school, came up to me and asked me if I wanted to go out with her.

“I’m her friend.” I said.

“Yeah, but would you go out with her?” he asked.

“Why do we always have to be going out with someone?  Don’t you understand that we are friends?”

“But would you?”

“No, I wouldn’t.”

“Why?”

“Because she wouldn’t be the same person if we were supposed to be in a romantic relationship.  Neither would I.  It’s better this way.”

This little kid looked at me so strangely and then said, “You know her that well?”

I said, “Yes.  Yes I do.”

He shrugged and walked away.

Although Jenna and I are only friends, she is a special friend that I often think about romantically, but that doesn’t mean I have to act on those thoughts.  Remember when I wrote in my journal that I wonder if I’ll ever think about another girl up at Lees-McRae as much as I thought about Ryan?

If only I knew that it would happen before I even got up there.