February 11, 1995 – Saturday – 1:15 a.m.

This Friday has been awesome!

Today I called a few people from High School.  I talked to Wynne and Grant.  They’re great and I got their email addresses.

It was nice talking about those good ole days.

Then tonight, Charlie’s roommate from last year, Steven, came to visit him for the weekend.  The three of us went over to Sharon’s.  We ate dinner there and then Steven, Charlie, and Laura and I went sledding down this huge hill through their Christmas tree farm.

It was magical.  They had made a ramp and I jumped it backwards on my first time down and landed on my neck.  It scared me a bit so I took it easy.  Laura and I didn’t go down as much as Steven and Charlie did.

Laura is the middle of Sharon’s three daughters.  She is 15, I believe, and really beautiful; I mean insanely beautiful.

We talked for a while.  She is really awesome.  After sledding we played Taboo and then we all just talked for the longest time.

We stayed there for over six hours.  That home is becoming my safe haven.  Thank you Lord.

Sharon was shocked to hear about Jeni and I, but I told her why and she understood.

Laura had also just recently broke up with her boyfriend.  We both talked about that and seemed to understand each other.

She is interested in being a part of the drama ministry at church.  She does theater in high school.

It’s early Saturday, but before we know it…even this day will be over.

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December 30, 1994 – Friday – 4:50 p.m.

Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Four will be over in 31 hours and ten minutes.

1994!

It is hard to sum it all up.  But we all know what basically happened.  Jenna and Tenielle came.  Ryan and Christi left.  I found Ryan and Christi at the last moment once more, but then I left all four of them plus many more.  I left them during the summer.  An amazing summer filled with Fishnet and Deep Creek.  I left them to meet many others, one in particular…Jeni.

We have been together for over three months.  And together we will go into 1995!

Much more happened, many small intangible moments, but nevertheless, it is all over now.

And it is time for me to finally say goodbye.

I need to.  I need to realize that I cannot go back.  It is my home, and yes, part of me is still there, but I do believe that no one can have more than one home at one time.

Thank you everyone for making me smile.  And thank you so much for making me laugh.  Thank you Grant and Wynne.  You guys were so funny during high school.

In a way I wish I could stay forever young.  Those were some fun days.

I believe I can stay forever young, but not there at Chatham Central High School.

And I give a special thank you to everyone at Abundant Life Christian Center.  I adored that place and the people there.  You all treated me with so much love and respect.  You made me laugh as well.  I know that there must have been some bad times, but at this moment, I can’t recall anything that destroyed our lives.

However, more than my goodbye, there are good memories.  Good memories that will stay with me for a long time.

As 1994 comes to a close, so does my will to return.

I can’t return, therefore I wish to go into the future.  And Lees-McRae College is my immediate future.  One semester down and seven more to go.

So goodbye.  I accept the fact that it never again can be.

1995 will arrive and I will live in 1994 and not in 1994 or 1993.

What will 1995 bring?

I couldn’t tell you.

By the time 1996 rolls around I will have learned a lot and experienced so much.  I can guarantee that.

Tomorrow, I will meet Jeni in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and ride with her family back to Ohio.  We will spend a week together then return to Lees-McRae and unite with our great Christian friends and travel to Albany, Georgia to spend another week helping in the flood relief work there.

Then, together we experience the spring semester at Lees-McRae College.  Hopefully the campus will be covered in snow for the entire semester, summer will roll around, and then God will paint the leaves again during the fall semester.  Christmas will come again, etc., etc….

So there it is.

Thank you Lord for 1994 and thanks for 1995.

Thank you for Jeni.

And thank you for you.

You Lord are what brings the true joy.  You are what gives all of this meaning.

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.