June 17, 1998 – Wednesday – 4:30 p.m.

I turn 22 in two months.

The final pages of this Book of Days seem to be falling out.  I hope this journal stands the test of time and still has all it’s pages whenever I or someone else reads it.

I haven’t written since Saturday.  The weekend didn’t turn out that great, but all is well. Everyone seemed to understand while the visit was difficult for me.  I did get to see Sarah a little bit, but not much.  Nevertheless, I am home.  This place is home for ten more days.

When Lindy dropped me off on Sunday there was a strange car in the driveway.  I walked into the house and there stood a beautiful and curvy dark-haired girl.  She was looking at me.  I had never seen her before.

It turns out, she and her mom were looking at buying our house, or possibly renting it.  The girl is only 15, but she looks 18 or 20.  Her name is Shana and we talked the whole afternoon.  She’s pretty neat; she said she would call me.

Emily have talked an average of twice a week recently and I’ve been hanging out with Marcus and Peter quite a bit.  These days have been nice.

I bought Sarah a small Bible and had her name engraved on it.  I wrote a special goodbye in it and will give it to her on the last night I see her before I leave: June 26, 1998.  What a night that will be!  Will that be the end or just the beginning?

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

“Soon it will be time to go out to the places I will be from.”

I’ve learned a hard lesson these past few weeks:  all these people and places that I’ve loved for so long….none of them are really mine.

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June 9, 1998 – Tuesday – 2:00 p.m.

After church on Sunday I went to visit Jenna and Tenielle.  Jenna was at home, but Tenielle was at work.  Jenna was still beautiful and very nice to me.  Tenielle was rude and kept saying I never called or wrote to her.

“I’m here now,” I said, but she didn’t care.  I’ll try to see them again at least once before I leave.

I talked to Cheryl for a decent amount of time at church on Sunday night.  She is doing really well, and I’m super glad to see that.  However she said that Ryan and Amy weren’t doing really well spiritually.

Peter came over yesterday.  We played Nintendo, just like the good old days.  Sarah called that even saying that Jessi was going to come see her and they were driving up to the mountains to visit, which is exactly what I am doing with Lindy (as far as I know).

Marcus came to visit last night and stayed until midnight.  Right after he left, Emily called and we talked for exactly four hours straight.  Both of us laughed, and both of us cried.  We complemented each other.  She was so good to me.  I talked to her about Sarah and she talked to me about Brandon and how much she was hurting.  I tried to explain to her how I was trying to handle Sarah and I since I was leaving.  I told her how honest I was with her.

Emily said I was doing everything right.  She said she could just go on with her life, just knowing that I was alive.  She says I do so much for her, but all I do is exist.  I just exist, but that is all that she wants.  She only wants me to alive, healthy, and happy.  Is that the truest kind of love?

As I was talking to Emily, I accidentally called her Sarah.  Oops.  It seems Emily and I have a perfect relationship.  We stand in awe of how amazing it is.

Thank you God.

Why did you give me so many amazing relationships?

May 11, 1998 – Monday – 6:30 p.m.

I am here at my home in Siler City.  Graduation was nothing short of amazing.  Sarah was so beautiful.  We cried at our goodbyes.  It is very hard for me to believe that those four years of college are over.

Marcus and I rode home together.  We stopped to go to a new church he is attending in Greensboro and then we ate at IHOP.

The house is a bit empty, for mom and Henry recently had a yard sale.

My Teen-Mania missions trip acceptance package was here when I arrived.  I’m a little behind schedule, but I’m still definitely going to go.  I’m trusting God wants me in South Africa, so he will send me there.

In 15 days I will go to Virginia Beach and no telling what will happen there.

I miss Sarah.

I miss the guys.

There’s no way I can describe how amazing my final two days were on campus.  Sarah and I held tightly to each other each night, for we have no idea what the future holds for us.

I love her.

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.

 

September 20, 1997 – Saturday – 11:00 p.m.

I’m back home in Banner Elk.  Charlie and I stopped by my house in Mt. Vernon Springs.  I saw Nate, Marcus, and Peter.  We all went out to eat.  Peter is doing well; he just came home for the weekend.  Marcus seems to be himself, he’s losing his hair though.  But I guess that happens.

The house looked kinda different.  I felt distant, but also at home.  Hmm.  Memories flooded my mind, but that always happens.

Tons of people have come into my room right now.  It’s hard to write.  Since I’m the only one with an actual living room, it seems to be the hang out spot these days.  I’m gonna have to start getting up early just to have time to myself.

September 20, 1997 – Saturday – 10:00 a.m.

Man.

I’m in Carrboro, NC right now.  It’s right next to Chapel Hill.  I came with Charlie and Justin on Thursday night.  Justin met up with an uncle and went on to Virginia Beach.  Charlie and I are staying at Matt’s, an old friend of Charlie’s.  We went out to eat and to a movie last night.  Earlier in the day yesterday I stopped by Henry’s workplace. It tickled him to death to see me.  We are going to stop by the house before we head back.  Hopefully I can meet up with Marcus.

I wrote Jessica a little note on Thursday and gave it to her.  It simply said that I thought a lot about her and I was glad she was here.

My senior year is going by way too fast.

June 8, 1997 – Sunday – 5:23 p.m.

Yeah baby!  The weekend was so great!  I am a Promise Keeper!!  A stadium of 60,000 Christian men singing praises to one God!  A night spent in a beautiful Victorian Bed & Breakfast!  Charlie, Vince, and Allen right next to me, plus new friends I made from the trip!  Whew, walls were torn down.

Redemption!  I am free at last!

I will live in purity.  I will read, pray, and fellowship!  I am alive in Christ!!

When I returned home I read chapter 17 from Max Lucado’s God Came NearEternal Instants.  You know, the moments so perfect that the whole universe stands still to notice.  I can think of many right now, and I’ve only been alive for a little over 20 years.

Sitting in the treehouse on Hemlock Hill on a snowy night listening to Braveheart.

Crystal rubbing my neck at the drive-in in Tennessee.

Talking to Emily under the boardwalk in Ft. Walton Beach.

Touching Abigail’s face in McAlister room 206 on Lees-McRae’s campus.

Kissing Jeni in Cincinnati, Ohio while listening to The Wedding Song by Kenny G.

Playing underneath the full moon with Dan and Allen on the back side of Grandfather Mountain.

Holding a curled up Tenielle on her bathroom floor.

Performing “The Mask Skit” at Abundant Life Christian Center.

Eating Wheat Thins and slowly falling asleep next to Jessica under God’s open starry sky.

Playing water guns with Jonathan, Mike, Marcus, and Kevin.

Tubing down Deep Creek with Danny and Peter.

Holding Syndi under the waterfall.

Passing a car in the turning lane with Jonathan.

Helping a lost boy find his mother at Fishnet.

Playing Myst with Vince in New York.

Helping Ryan in and out of the corner tree.

Standing next to the Grand Canyon with Brandon.

Graduating high school and seeing Renee smile at me.

Signing my way through Children of A Lesser God.

Singing with 60,000 men in Knoxville.

And that eternal instant right before I fall asleep each night, when I reflect on the beauty of each amazing day!

Oh wait, and how could I forget, perhaps the most perfect moment of all, riding back from Tennessee with Sharon as Hannah fell asleep in my lap.