August 6, 1993 – Friday – 11:12 p.m.

I got paid yesterday.  Today, I cashed my check and went shopping: shoes, socks, underwear, pants, saline solution, etc.  I came home and got ready for work.

Mike’s sister Ruth works at McDonald’s and maybe it’s just a hunch but I think she likes me.  Or either she is just being very, very, very, very nice.

I was on fry duty tonight and she comes over there and practically does half the job for me.  I don’t need the help, but I don’t want to be rude and tell her I can handle it myself.  She is as sweet as she can be, a real soft-spoken person.  I’m nice to her and I know I can trust her.

Well, while she was helping me with the fries, I noticed she had been there for about five minutes.  So, I said, “What are you doing tonight?”

Now I meant, “What position are you working tonight at McDonald’s?” because I know they didn’t tell her to cover fries.

She said with a smile, “Well, nothing.  I just work until nine and then I’m free after that.”

Then it hit me.  It sounded like I was asking her out.  I said, “No, I mean what are you doing at McDonald’s?”  She looked down and said, “Oh, I’m just stocking up, they haven’t given me a register yet.”

She stayed there about a second longer and then went to the back.  I hope I didn’t hurt her.

We leave at the butt crack of dawn tomorrow.  I better get some sleep.

August 2, 1993 – Monday – 1:22 p.m.

Let’s start from the very beginning, shall we?

Saturday morning, I got up and Mom told me that if I mowed the grass she would give me some money to go to the movies.  So, I did.  That’s what I practically did all day.  Then later on Jonathan, Danny, Peter, Marcus, Kevin, and myself went to Asheboro.

Only Danny and I went to see a movie.  We saw Robin Hood: Men in Tights.  It was so stupid that you couldn’t help but laugh.  Then afterwards we went to eat at Burger King.

I rode with Jonathan and he lost his hat out the window, but he got it back.  Kevin and Marcus were mooning us from Danny’s car on the way home.  They call Marcus “THE BLACK HOLE,” and Kevin “THE FULL MOON.”

I would never moon anybody.  That’s just disgusting.

We stayed at Danny and Peter’s until about midnight.  Jonathan left early.  We basically just talked about funny stuff from our past.  Then I went out to the lobby and read some magazines.

At work there’s a teenage girl with short blonde hair and a pretty smile.  She just graduated from high school.  Her name is Tina.  She works mostly when I do and I talked to her a little bit.

She has a little girl named Ashley.  She just learned how to walk.  Tina’s not married.

She asked me the other night if I was at the motor lodge the other day.  The motor lodge is where Danny and Peter live.  Their father owns and runs it.

I said, “no, but Kevin probably was.”

She said that she saw the white car there.  She has told me stuff before about the motor lodge.  I just figured she lived across the street.

While I was looking through some magazines I saw a girl with blonde hair walk into the lobby.  She had on a McDonald’s uniform and held a wad of cash in her hand.  With the other hand she was supporting a mixed little girl on her skinny waist.

The little girl was Ashley, her daughter.

I was shocked to see her, especially that late at night.  I greeted her and asked if I could hold Ashley.  She let me.

I asked, “What are you doing here?”

She said, “I live here.”

Those words were like a dagger in me.

“How long?”

“Since December.”  She had come into the lobby to pay her month rent.  I can’t remember how much.

I talked to her a little bit.  She said she would be leaving for college soon and that she was just working weekends now.  She just bought a car.  She “sort of” lives with her boyfriend, but she is making it.

I don’t know her past, but she’s okay now.  My heart goes out to her.  Living in a motel room with her daughter and living off of a McDonald’s paycheck.

How did she end up there?  I probably will never know.

Sunday comes after a few hours of sleep.  Amy calls and tells me she is sick, so I had to cover for her in children’s church.  Ryan was sick too.  They weren’t at church.

But Christi was.

I asked her to come into children’s church because I would need her help.  She said she would.  I talked to her some more and while we were on stage, right before singing started, she told me she recorded CATS for me and while in Rocky Mount last weekend she met a guy.

Stunned and heartbroken as I was, I said, “Really?”

Then she said, “No, I’m just kidding.”

Strange thing to say.  A woman thing, I guess.

I don’t understand.

In children’s church I did an object lesson and part of it was I had to squirt Christi with a water gun.  I did and she got all wet.  Then one of the leaders made me get in the chair and I got squirted and Gloria poured a cup of water on my head.

Christi laughed.

I walked by her and patted her on the head.  Then I went to sit in the back of the room.

Shirley was in there and I told her I got a letter from Tammy.  They are going to visit her on Friday.  In the letter Tammy told me she wanted to come back.  I asked Shirley if she would accept her.

She doubted it.

Then Christi came and thumped me on my hand.  I reached over to pinch her, but she moved.  I tried two more times, but failed.  Then I got her on her leg, but her jeans were too tight.

Children’s church was over and after church  I stopped by her house to pick up my CATS tapes.  She wasn’t there, only Andy.

Ryan wasn’t there in the morning, and shocking to myself, I didn’t really miss her.  Ryan was at the evening service yesterday, but Christi wasn’t.  I missed Christi, but it was nice to talk to Ryan.

Christi’s dad, Hank, is the pastor at a church in Rocky Mount.  They are moving up there during Christi’s junior year.  She will be a sophomore in high school this year.

I’ll be in college somewhere then.