January 1, 2001 – Monday – 8:15 p.m.

Two nights ago, on December 30th, I asked Anna to marry me.

She said ‘yes.’

I hid the ring in an empty container of her favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream. I had filled it with small weights and stored it in the fridge to make it look and feel like a cold container full of ice-cream. She opened it and stopped breathing. She wasn’t expecting it so soon. I cried. What a wonderful little story.

I am changing.

Every day I am losing a little bit more of me.

We are planning a July 7th wedding. Over the next six months I will slowly move my stuff into her studio apartment in the historic Ghent neighborhood in Norfolk. I’m sure I’ll give or throw away many items I’ll no longer need.

I can’t believe what is happening. I’m marrying an amazing woman, a good, Godly woman. So many of my single-person perspectives just have no meaning any more.

So it is 2001.

When the ball dropped in New York, I was kissing Anna in Virginia Beach.

March 30, 1997 – Sunday – 10:25 p.m.

It’s been a slow day.  Church at Hickory Free Will Baptist, lunch with Tracey and her 20 other family members, a long nap, and an even longer walk.

My walk was nice.  I went into the open plains behind Tracey’s house.  It was very flat, but very beautiful.  Geese were all around.  The sun was setting and I was perfectly happy in my solitude.  I thought a lot while I was walking.  Jeni tries to control me.  She tells me what to do, what to wear, how to act.  She tries to be my mother.  I can’t stand it.  She really annoyed me today.  She kept coming up to me and putting her arms around me.  I wish she would leave me alone.  She’s been making me feel really uncomfortable.  I feel bad for kissing her the other night.

This evening, I just rested because my stomach was bothering me.  I listened to music in Tracey’s room.  I listened to Michael W. Smith’s “Emily.”  While listening to it, I pulled Emily’s picture out of my wallet and looked at it.  Jeni barged into the room and saw me looking at Emily’s picture.  She got a weird look on her face and left.

Jeni is wonderful, but not for me and I find comfort in her graduating.

Please send her on her way Lord, and take care of her.

March 27, 1997 – Thursday – 11:30 p.m.

Oh boy.  That was weird.  Jeni came over tonight.  We just sort of cuddled and talked.  Then, well… after a while… uh, we kissed.  Then we really kissed.  And then we really kissed some more.

I wasn’t sure what I was feeling.  I just knew I was kissing Jeni and I was okay with it.

Some people came over and we just talked the whole night.

Oh God.  Please let your will happen.

I am yours.

This is weird.

August 7, 1994 – Sunday – 9:53 p.m.

We didn’t have youth group last night, so I stayed home.  Marcus did too.  But Kevin and Jonathan went to Jenna and Tenielle’s.  Jonathan is trying to tell me that he really doesn’t like Jenna, but he does.  It’s obvious.  He likes her a lot.

Jonathan told me earlier today what happened last night.  It was dark and Jenna licked Jonathan’s cheek like she does to a lot of people.  She was chewing gum and the gum stuck to Jonathan’s cheek.  Then he took it off, popped it in his mouth and began chewing it.  She said she wanted it back.  So Jonathan had it half out of his mouth and was going to stick it back on her cheek, but Jenna just leaned over and took it from his mouth with her mouth and then kissed him.

On the mouth!

Jenna’s lips!

Jonathan’s lips!

Kissing!

Touching!

IN THE DARK!

JENNA!!

But I’m not getting hurt this time.  It’s Marcus.  I’ve slowly gotten away from Jenna and Tenielle.  I’m saving myself the pain.  But I’ve been watching Marcus and my heart goes out to him.  He knows.

This morning in church I said very little to both Jenna and Tenielle.  It’s not that I’m mad, I just feel uncomfortable.

Veronica was there this morning.  I went up to her and hugged her.  She looked absolutely gorgeous.  And she has grown so much.  I couldn’t believe how tall she was.  She’s still my girl.  I’ll always cherish the time we spent together.

This afternoon I was at Henry’s parent’s place for a little family reunion on his side.  And after that I went to High Falls youth group.  I had a great time and I met someone whom I hadn’t seen in over two years.  Her name is Jessica.  During my sophomore year she was a foreign exchange student from Sweden.  Her and Lisa became good friends, so she is visiting her.  She told me to give her a call tomorrow and that maybe we could do something together.  She knows Jonathan too and she told me to tell him that she was here in town.

Hopefully Jonathan is working tomorrow night so her and I can go out alone.  We can’t have him taking all the girls.

December 31, 1993 – Friday – 3:40 p.m.

Hi!  Last night I had a dream.

But first, welcome to my 5th Book of Days!  It’s almost 1994!

Okay, the dream I had last night was so real, I’ll try to explain it the best I can:

I was at church.  I was with someone.  A girl.  I don’t know how she got there, but the girl was Emily.  We were outside preparing to go home.  I said something like, “Well, either Henry lets us drive the other car or we have to ride home with him.”  Next thing I know, Henry is telling Kevin that he has to ride home with him so Emily and I can drive home together and be alone.  Kevin questions him, but Henry says thats just the way things are.  But suddenly Emily shows up standing next to her own car and says, “We can take mine.”  I repeat what she says and Clay agrees.

At first, it seemed like Emily was driving and we were having a conversation.  We said about four or five sentences to each other, I can’t remember what, but the next thing I know, I’m driving, but I’m still in the passenger seat and the steering wheel is on my side.  Emily is lying down in the seat and her head is lying in my lap.  With one hand I am driving and I ask her something along the lines of, “What do you want?”

She kisses me and says, “That’s what I want.”

Don’t laugh, but for the next five minutes we are kissing while I’m driving and keeping one eye on the road.

Suddenly we are in the parking lot of the Siler City Motor Lodge and my Dad and Kevin and Grandma are there to pick me up.  Isn’t that weird?

So it seems that Emily is gone and we are all getting into my Dad’s car.  Then Emily comes back with gifts and says, “I just want to say that it was great meeting all of you.”  The gift for my Dad was an application to fill out so she could write my Dad.  Grandma got a lot of famous newspaper articles.  I don’t know what Kevin got, but I received three tapes and three CDs of Broadway musicals.  I don’t even own a CD player.  I also got newspaper articles about the musicals.  

We said goodbye.  And the rest of us got into the car.  Emily came back again and gave me a picture of a key that she had cross-stitched.  There was a poem on it as well, relating to it being the key to her heart.

Then we promised we would call the other person soon and it was over.  She was gone.

When I woke up, I was so happy and I was wondering where my tapes were.  It took me forever to figure out it had all been a dream.

I was so disappointed.  What did all that crazy stuff mean?

I wonder if I’ll see Emily again.  Hopefully we’ll plan our Deep Creek trips to be at the same time this summer.

This past summer, when we played card for three hours, was so wonderful.  We started out playing spades; I think I didn’t know how to play, so she said she would teach me.  I sat next to her and she explained everything.  I watched her play as she told me what she needed and why.  One time she said that she needed an eight and then it showed up on the table.  She laid her forehead against the side of my head and whispered, “Whomp, there it is,” as she giggled.  I was so shocked.  She touched me.  She whispered to me and me alone.  It was like she was there with me and completely ignoring the other seven handsome young men surrounding her.  I wish I could make you understand how beautiful this girl was.  Girls this beautiful aren’t supposed to show guys like me that much attention.  It’s just not how I’ve come to see the way the world works.

Later on, she needed a partner in a card trick she wanted to show us.  All the other guys immediately raised their hands and volunteered, but she picked me.  By the end of those three hours, we had an entire system of nonverbal communication going.  In order to make the trick work, I would tap her underneath the table on her knee to let her know which side of the card I was going to point to; it was a complicated card trick.

Anyway, 1993 is almost over.  Here I am at the end of the year, with it’s last hours fading away, and I’m not thinking about Veronica, or Ryan, or Christi, or even Jenna or Tenielle; but about Emily, a girl I saw for only three hours, half a year ago.  

Almost a year ago, God told me that it would all begin in 1993.  Was he referring to Emily?  I don’t know.  But either way, He was right.  It did begin.  So much happened that will lead me into the years to come.

November 8, 1993 – Monday – 9:53 p.m.

I got a letter from Emily today.  She’s doing great!

In Art we are beginning a new project.  We’re supposed to write and illustrate a children’s book.  I already have my idea.  I’ll keep you informed.

Yesterday, when I was at Christi’s, the two of us went into her room to listen to Miss Saigon and Les Miserables (by the way, it’s in ten days).  Christi was going to go with her school, but she has a Sound of Music rehearsal, so she gave her ticket to Andy, her brother.  Bummer.

Well, we were just talking and then she began telling me about how in The Sound of Music she has to kiss this guy.  She said she always wanted a boyfriend so she could tell him that the stage kiss means nothing to her, but that if he (her boyfriend) was up there acting with her, then it would mean something.

I was happy.  She was telling me something that she would want to say to her boyfriend.

The subject of church came up.  I never asked her about it; she just began talking.  She said things weren’t the same.  The love of the fellowship just wasn’t there anymore.

I agreed.  The church has gone through a rough period, but it’s getting back up on its feet.

She also said its because she’s moving next year and wants to get use to the church in Rocky Mount.

I’m moving next year, too.

I think Christi is scared.

I know I am.

I learned what life was this past weekend.

Life is simply a collection of greetings and farewells, and the love you share in between.

You may not be coming to church anymore Christi, but I’m not going to say goodbye to you unless I have to.