January 2, 1997 – Thursday – 4:05 p.m.

I woke up in a great mood, but they raised some of the prices at McDonald’s and it really ticked a few of the regular customers off.  Several of them come with exact change and they have been for years.  They got upset at me, but I tried not to let it bother me.  I just sang praises to my Jesus underneath my breath.

Today was my last day there for a while.  I stopped by the bank later on and when the teller saw my Banner Elk address she told me she had attended App. State.  We talked a little bit about the area.  I could tell she missed it.

Throughout the day, I kept bursting out with laughter.  I kept thinking about last night.  So many funny things were said.  Thank you God for laughter.

May 7, 1996 – Tuesday – 8:35 p.m.

Yesterday evening I rented two movies: Babe and The Cure.  Both were great.  I showered myself with tears during The Cure.

Mike and Marcus came over last night.  We played a quick game of Monopoly.

I find it so amazing how fast time passes.  A year ago tonight, I was being amazed by how much beautiful Syndi longed to be close to me.

McDonald’s was rather rough today.  Not many workers showed up.  I did it all alone with no help.  A lot of new people are there and a lot of old people are gone.

I’ll be home in 24 days.

August 3, 1995 – Thursday – 5:40 p.m.

Today was my last day at McDonald’s.  My collection has grown because of that place.  So many names, so many stories.

Betty, Cindy, Debbie, Toni, Danielle, Robert, Lynn, Carl, Travis, Ronnie, Louisa, Delores, Ola, Deborah, Tim, Tamika, Tonya, Amy, Shawn, Thomas, Julissa, Betty, Virginia, Josefina, Reggie, John, Kenesha, Beth, Natalie, Mike, LaQuisha, Phillip, Martha, Herbert, Avis, Jackie, Hershel, and, of course, Barbie.

Then there were people who came through the drive-thru everyday.

Jimmy

Butch

The Mayor

The Medium Coffee Girl

The Newspaper Man

And the beautiful woman with three little girls who either got a bacon biscuit or a plain biscuit with a buttered muffin, hash brown, and a small Diet Coke.

With the bacon biscuit, her price was $3.16.

With the plain biscuit, her total was $2.63.

She came through everyday for the past three months, but I only remember her looking me in the eye once.

. . .

I called Emily a little after 5 o’clock.  They are in the middle of a hurricane.  Everything is wet.

But I like water.

Especially when it is falling.

Marcus and I will leave around 3 o’clock tomorrow morning.

And I have absolutely no idea what will happen.

July 29, 1995 – Saturday – 9:50 a.m.

Barbie was at work yesterday.  We both ran the drive-thru.  We had a lot of fun.  I got one of the Barbie dolls McDonald’s has for the Happy Meals and had her autograph it.

She was flattered.

She gave me her address yesterday.  Perhaps we will keep in touch.

After work yesterday, Kevin, Wayne, and I went to see Waterworld.  I liked it.  It was funny.  But the ending was not very good and there were times when nothing was making sense.  The beginning was great, one of the greatest opening acts I’ve ever seen.  But, by the end of it, there wasn’t much depth to the film.  I got my money’s worth though.

Work was fun this morning as well.  Barbie was there.  Betty said that the two of us were flirting the whole time.  I guess we were, but so what.  Barbie is beautiful, funny, and we have fun together, but she is not for me.  I don’t want her.  There are so many girls that come into McDonald’s, I notice their beauty, but I don’t really desire to talk to them or anything.  I don’t know why, but I already have found what I’m looking for.

I’ve already found what I want.

I don’t know if Emily is the one for me, but I desire her greatly.

Everyone’s gone for the night.  They won’t be back until the next day.  I have the house to myself tonight.  It is still and quiet here.

I spent most of the evening just thinking about Emily.  I think about her all the time.  Five more days until I get to see her smile.

Right now, I feel like everything that I have ever seen or learned was to bring me to Emily five days from now.

God is amazing!

And tomorrow is only a peaceful night’s sleep away.

June 16, 1995 – Friday – 11:02 p.m.

Four days have faded away since my last journal entry.  If major things have happened; I have forgotten them.  I believe Tuesday Tenielle and Emily called me.  Emily was leaving for Michigan that night.  Protect her Lord.  That afternoon I went to visit Tenielle at her house down in Cameron.  We are friends again.  Her mom is seeing a guy who drinks a lot.  Tenielle hates him.  Things aren’t great and this sweet girl is only 13.

I told her I was sorry for not being there for her.  She was the only one there when I went to visit.  We had a good time.

I’ve been working all week.  Mike is quitting McDonald’s.  Tomorrow is his last day.  Sometimes my job gets rough, but I enjoy it.  I feel needed there.  Over the past two years in which I’ve worked there I’ve come across a lot of interesting people.  Remember Tina?  That was so long ago.

Church was fun Wednesday night.  Tenielle sat next to me.  We enjoyed praising the Lord together.

I rented The War tonight.  It made me cry.  I enjoyed it greatly.  Penny, the girl who played the prostitute in Joey’s Tommy & Jenny scene at Lees-McRae has a little brother named Adam who had a small part in the movie.  So, I’ve been kissed on the cheek by a girl whose little brother met Clint Eastwood!  What a small world.

Time is passing.

Less than two months.

Jonathan’s life is still fading towards his dark future of the unknown.

My life is fading into the future of the known and wonderful.

Life is simple and life is good.

At least for now.

June 2, 1995 – Friday – 10:20 p.m.

The Bridges of Madison County opened in theaters today.  After my hard day at work, I decided to go see it this evening.  Mom wanted to go with me, so I let her.  She was excited; she finally got the chance to do something.

It was a wonderful picture.  My mom cried.

As the credits rolled, we went out the exit near the screen, but then we took a wrong door and ended up on the other side of the mall.  We had to walk around

And there, in an isolated and empty parking lot, I walked with my mom, a woman a little over 40, and I asked, “Mom, has Kevin or Nate or I ever stopped you from being who you wanted to be?”

She said, “No, but your father did.”

She began to cry.

Painful memories I suppose.  But it was then that I realized that at one point in my mother’s life, she actually loved my father.  That was so long ago.

I watched her as she pulled her keys out of her purse to unlock the car door and begin her journey towards our home and her world of detail and procedures.

June 2, 1994…if only I knew…

June 2, 1993…I difficult night, but now I don’t know why…

June 2, 1995…my first grade teacher recognized me today at McDonald’s.  It had been 12 years since she last saw me.  How could she have even recognized me?  But to her, she said I hadn’t changed much.

I always hear older people reflecting upon their youth and telling wonderful little stories.

I learned today that all of my youthful little stories have already been conjured up and written down.  The story of how I grew up cannot be re-written.

And now I will lay my down to sleep.  Only to wake up to another day of fast food procedure.

Perhaps there are bridges in Crestview.

May 19, 1995 – Friday – 4:35 p.m.

I’ve worked hard today.  I’m tired.

For the past two days I have run the drive-thru at McDonald’s.  People come to the window.  Some smile at me.  Some do not. Some say ‘thank you.’  Some don’t say a word.  They come, stop for a little while and to be next to me, and then they leave and move on.  Some are grateful, but some do not even notice I am there.

How sad it is to see the similarities between fast food drive-thru service and life.

To them, I am not the Jacob that Emily loves.  To them I am not the Jacob who impressed the entire performing arts faculty at Lees-McRae.  To them, I am no one.  I am their servant.

But while at Lees-McRae, to everyone I served while working in the post office, I felt like they knew me, they valued me, they appreciated me.  To them I was the true Jacob.

Things are different around here.

I want something exciting to happen.

I want to truly love somebody.

I want this summer to contain more than just 45 hours a week at McDonald’s.

Please Lord, let something happen.

July 24, 1994 – Sunday – 11:40 p.m.

Yesterday I saw The Client in Asheboro. It was really good. I liked it very much.

Not many people were at youth group last night. Marcus was working. Jenna and Tenielle were there and we all talked with Shurby afterwards. It was nice.

After church, Mike came over and we spent the afternoon playing Super Street Fighter II. Tonight, Kevin and Scott and I went to McDonald’s and Scott took me to the place where he wrecked his motorcycle.

At McDonald’s I went to the rock that is next to it that overlooks HWY U.S. 1. Jenna and Tenielle and I sat out on that rock many times.

Tonight I stood there looking. I looked in the direction of Veronica’s house. Then I turned almost completely around and looked in the direction of Ryan’s house. Then I looked toward Christi’s, then toward Jenna’s. All four were in different directions.

Veronica, Ryan, Christi, Jenna.

Those are the four main girls of My Book of Days since I started writing on November 14, 1992.

All beautiful.

All younger than me.

If I had my choice of the four, I would choose no one. They are four girls of the past. Things do change, I’m afraid.

From a mountaintop in Banner Elk, their houses will all be in one direction.

They will be over three hours away, toward the southeast.

They will be in the past.

June 25, 1994 – Saturday – 9:50 p.m.

This isn’t supposed to be happening.  I should be getting further away.

Not closer.

Today was amazing!

Okay…I got up a little after five and I went to McDonald’s with Kevin and Marcus; Kevin had to work.  Marcus and I ate breakfast, waited around, talked to a girl who worked there, and went to band practice.  It was fun.  We had skit practice afterwards and Pastor Steve directed a great skit that we’ll do tomorrow.

Nana and Trish were there…I hadn’t seen them since May 26, about a month ago.  After skit practice, Nana and Trish and Marcus and I went Roller Skating.  Trish and I skated together.  A boy came up to me and said that there was a girl who liked me.  He pointed her out to me.  She had pretty eyes.  Then he said that I could “get some” from her.  I had to explain to him that I was a Christian and that I’m not like that and that I’m going to wait until I’m married to have sex.

He is only 12 and I got a chance to talk to him about Jesus some.

We stayed there for about three hours and then went to eat at Mr. Gatti’s.  We talked a lot and decided to go ice skating Monday night up in Cary.

After that we went to McDonald’s.  Trish drove me everywhere.  Nana let Marcus drive her car.

Kevin had already left and went to the Neals.  Trish made me play in the balls with her in the Playland thing.  We were throwing balls at each other; those things hurt.  Then the girl that Marcus and I talked to that morning came out there.  Her name is Danielle; she’s cool.

We got Kevin and went to youth group. Tonight’s message was nice.  I needed that.  Jenna talked to me though, she said I wasn’t the same person.  

But she doesn’t know that I am getting closer to who I am supposed to be.

I told her that my time here is almost over and that I’m moving on.

“Will you still be my friend?” she asked.

“Always,” and then I hugged her.

I talked to Tenielle on the phone from the Skating Ranch earlier.  She’s well.

The day contained more of course.  Trish was so easy to talk to.  After youth group she asked me for my phone number.

Scott did get off work to go to Deep Creek and he got a new Motorcycle which he’ll probably drive and I will probably ride on the back part of the way.

Today I got close to people.

That shouldn’t happen.

I laughed so much.

If the summer continues like today, everywhere I go, then leaving this place will be harder than I thought.

The fellowship is tomorrow.  It could all change then.

But I know I will just enjoy it and not let it go to my head.

Thank you Lord.

Thank you for the pink sunset you showed the world tonight.

But most of all, I thank you for showing me that another sun can easily rise again.  And it’ll always be different than the others before.

I felt it tonight…the love.  The world was in perfect harmony.  It was alright.

It was perfect.

I know that it probably won’t last.

But I’m having too much fun to care.

June 6, 1994 – Monday – 2:00 p.m.

Graduation night is in four days.

I’m at home alone.  I just got finished working out.  Cheryl called me this morning.  We had a nice talk.  Then I called Jenna and Tenielle.  They were both on the line since they have like three phones.  The last letter I wrote Tenielle was really sweet.  She let her mom read it and afterwards her mom said, “Well it looks like we have a reason to visit the mountains in the fall.”

When they told me that, I couldn’t believe it.

“You mean you guys are going to come visit me?”

“Of course!!” they both said.

I was so happy.

Tonight at 6:00 p.m. I have to be at Sir Pizza in Siler City.  My McDonald’s managers are taking all of the graduates out to eat and they’re going to give us gifts; probably just money.

By the way it looks, we’re going to Deep Creek around the second week in July.  Hopefully!

It doesn’t look like many people are going this time.

Speaking of Deep Creek, Emily has not written back to me in months.

I guess I’ll just add her to The Collection as well.