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.

November 4, 1993 – Wednesday – 12:38 a.m.

Tonight will be a night to remember for the rest of my life.

The only problem is…I don’t want to remember it.

Tonight Marcus and I went to Lee Senior High School, where all of the people from the youth group go to school, but I do not.  Tonight Christi was performing in a One Act play, as was Ryan.  Marcus and I went to see them both:  Graceland and Flowers for Algernon.

Christi was in Graceland.  It was short and funny and then it was over.  I saw Christi for a few minutes after it.  She had to leave to go to Temple Theater to rehearse for her part in Sound of Music.  She did have time to ask me how I liked Miss Saigon.  I told her I loved it and we agreed that it was the saddest story.  Then boom!  She had to leave.

Next came Flowers for Algernon.  Ryan played a girl named Alice.  The guy Ryan likes, Kevin, was in the play.  He played a doctor and he also directed it.

In the play, Ryan was a girl who liked a retarded guy.  I didn’t know much about it.  There was one scene in which they hugged and then right after the two of them kissed each other.

Yes, on the lips!

On Ryan’s lips.

Ryan’s beautiful luscious lips.

Her lips.  His lips.  Kissing.

Don’t ask how I felt.  I don’t know.  After the play, Ryan came out into the audience.  Some girl called her name and ran up to her and gave her a hug.  I saw her.  There was something different.  There was something different in Ryan’s eyes.  Light seemed to shine from them.  They were so bright.  She was glowing.

I approached her and said she did a good job, then she smiled and turned back around to talk to her friends.

I wanted to leave.

Marcus and I left.

Everyone was already asleep when I got home.  I went outside and walked across the road to the field.  I stood there in the middle and stared at the moon, suspended in the sky, surrounded by millions of gorgeous stars, partially covered by the clouds passing between us.

Ryan.

In the shambles of my life, I found what I was looking for in her.

She was real.

For the first time I could feel.

I saw a world I never knew.

I saw her eyes and felt her love too.

I believed in her.

The story of my life began with her.

In this journal, these Books of Days, she is the first female name to appear.

As I stood there in the cold November air, staring at the moon, I sang the following words:

“Say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime

Let me lead you from your solitude

Say you need me with you here, beside you

Anywhere you go, let me go too

Ryan, that’s all I ask of you.”

Then I turned and through the darkness I saw my home.

I saw it in a way I’ve never seen in before.  My home.

I saw it as if I didn’t live there anymore and I was returning to it to visit my childhood.

I walked across the street through the silence, onto the property I grew up on.  I entered my house.

For seven years I have lived here.  For five years I lived in our old house about eight miles away.

Twelve years.  This is all I’ve known.  My youth.

Tonight I saw myself living here after I had already left home.  I saw myself growing up as a little boy.

In nine months I will leave this place.  My body is shaking right now.

I’m leaving soon.  And I must leave by not having something here that I wanted to return to.  There sure is nothing I can take with me.

As I was standing outside, I thought of another song that perfectly described my situation:

And now I’m all alone again nowhere to turn, no one to go to
Without a home without a friend without a face to say hello to
And now the night is near
Now I can make believe she’s here

Sometimes I walk alone at night
When everybody else is sleeping
I think of her and then I’m happy
With the company I’m keeping
The city goes to bed
And I can live inside my head

On my own
Pretending she’s beside me
All alone
I walk with her till morning
Without her
I feel her arms around me
And when I lose my way I close my eyes
And she has found me

In the rain the pavement shines like silver
All the lights are misty in the river
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight
And all I see is her and me forever and forever
And I know it’s only in my mind
That I’m talking to myself and not to her
And although I know that she is blind
Still I say, there’s a way for us

But when the night is over
She is gone
The river’s just a river
Without her
The world around me changes
The trees are bare and everywhere
The streets are full of strangers

But every day I’m learning
All my life
I’ve only been pretending
Without me
Her world would go on turning
A world that’s full of happiness
That I have never known

But I’m only on my own

Moonlight!

That’s all I saw.  The sun has gone down.  The sun has set.  The sun is no more.

Why God?

Why such beauty?

Why her?

Why today?

Do I even know who she is?

Why does her voice ring in my head?

Why can’t I understand.

Why me?

I can’t help it?

WHY GOD?!

Is it because I’m preparing to leave?

It’s been the fourth of November for nearly an hour.  And I’m sitting in my chair saying goodbye to the Sun and hello to the Moon.

The Moon is the light of night.  The Moon and the Sun share the same sky.

The only see each other once and a while.

You are sunlight and I moon, joined here, brightening the sky with the flame of love.

But only for others; not for each other.

October 30, 1993 – Saturday – 8:10 p.m.

Yesterday at school there was a memorial service for Mrs. Nance.  The whole school was almost in tears.  I was one of the students who was not.

Christi bought a new Broadway Musical Soundtrack and she recorded a copy for me.  It’s called Miss Saigon.

I thought Les Miserables was sad, and I thought Phantom of the Opera was sad, but Miss Saigon tops them both.

I’ve listened to it almost six times and I’ve gotten chocked up each time.  I balled like a baby the first three times.

I will cry when someone dies in a movie or a play, but I have never cried over a person who has died in real life.  Jonathan said it is because in real life we don’t accept it.

At the wake, or the viewing, whatever you call it, Mrs. Nance didn’t look like Mrs. Nance.  She just wasn’t there.  She wasn’t moving.  She wasn’t breathing.  It looked like someone else’s body.

Afterwards, we went to the lock-in for the youth group.  Kevin came back from college for it and to go to a cross country meet he and Jonathan were going to early Saturday morning.

Ryan and Christi weren’t at the lock-in, but mostly everyone else was.  We watched videos and talked and ate.

Amy and Cheryl told me that Christi wasn’t a part of the church or the youth group anymore.  I’m not sure what that is about.  I haven’t talked to Christi yet.  I have no idea what happened.

Ryan simply had to babysit. 

I slept almost two hours this morning while some people watched Return to Snowy River.  I had an eye appointment at 11:30 a.m. at Wal-Mart.  I went to that and then Marcus and I went to a place called Britt’s in Sanford and boy does that place have one fine waitress.

We ate there because I talked to Hank and Patti earlier and they said they were going to take Christi out to lunch there between her rehearsals for The Sound of Music.  They showed up, but without Christi.  She didn’t have enough time so they grabbed her a burger instead.  

I wanted to talk to her, but I couldn’t.

We came home after that and Henry felt the need to lecture us again.  This time is was on “conversing.”  Yeah, I don’t know either.

At the lock-in there were a lot of junior-high kids there.  Only about half of the original Endtime Warriors were there.  Cheryl said that everyone is leaving and new kids are coming in.  Cheryl is a freshman; she’ll be here for a while.

But she was right.  I received my acceptance letter from Lees-McRae today.  I will be there in less than ten months.

And in 20 days I will see Les Miserables.