February 27, 1994 – Sunday – 8:00 a.m.

Right now I’m in a little town called Mint Hill near Charlotte, NC.  Everyone is still asleep.

I’m lying on a fold out sofa bed.  Lying next to me is a 29-year-old guy named Dakota.  He is from Alaska.  Next to me on the floor is my brother Kevin.  Also on the floor is a guy named Robert and on the sofa next to him is Marcus.  Robert and I are the only one’s awake.  He is reading his Bible and I am writing.

Saturday morning, Marcus and I went to Band Practice.  I was in a good mood because it was going to be a great day.  Marcus was too, but Megan sure wasn’t.  One of her friends died of cancer last week and she was bummed, so she wanted to make sure everyone else was.  She told me off, because she interpreted my happiness as being obnoxious.  I was bummed afterward, but once we left and got away from her, we found our joy again.  I guess you can’t blame her though.

I had to go to Wal-Mart and pick up my contacts, but they hadn’t come in yet.

During Band Practice, Cheryl invited me to go Ice Skating with her, Ryan, and Amy.  They were going to go to Cary and Megan told me that it was 15 minutes away from Fayetteville.  I thought that was a little far-fetched.  When we got there, there was a long line (probably because everyone still had Olympic fever).  Well, once I found out that Fayetteville was much farther away, Marcus and I left in order to get to Fayetteville by one o’clock.  We found our way there by I-95.

It’s later.  11:34 p.m. on the same Sunday.

Let’s see, so Marcus and I got to Fayetteville by I-95 and we easily found Methodist College.  Once we got there we packed our stuff in this guy’s car and headed for Charlotte.  The two guys are in the FCA and Bible Study at Methodist College.  The guy driving was Robert.  He was brought up in a strong Christian environment.  He’s from the beach, he’s a Freshman and loves the Lord, but he is sometimes too serious.  Marcus and Kevin and I always joke around and he would look at us weird, but he is cool, friendly, and you’ve got to hand it to him, he’s got it together.

The older guy was Dakota.  He is really cool; more on our level.  He and I got along great.  By the way he talks, he is going to try and set me up with his 17-year-old sister.  He showed me a picture of her.  She is beautiful.

We were all going to meet these people in Charlotte that they know from NC State University.  One girl came from Charlotte, so we all stayed at her parents house after the concert.  It was awesome!  There were three groups: Out of Eden, Audio Adrenaline, and, of course, DC Talk.

Audio Adrenaline was an alternative Christian band.  They were great.  They sang a song called “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Bang Your Head!”  Then DC Talk came on.  Everything was perfect!  I can’t explain it.

These people from Raleigh that we met were rich.  The girl who lived in Raleigh was named Christine and her house was amazing!

After the concert we went to eat at IHOP.  I ate strawberry pancakes and afterward’s we went to Christine’s house.

I’m tired so I’ll tell you about Sunday later.

This was one of the best weekend’s of my life.  But it wouldn’t have been as good if I didn’t spend time with Jenna and Tenielle on Friday night.

October 11, 1993 – Monday – 6:05 p.m.

Today is Columbus Day!

Wup dee do!

About thirty minutes ago I returned from the mountains.  It was cold up there.  It is difficult to describe what I’m feeling now.

Today Jonathan and I took a college day.  We both went to visit Lees-McRae.  We left at about 4:15 this morning and he let me drive while he slept.  I drove about half way.  We ate at McDonald’s and then Jonathan drove the rest of the way.

We had an appointment to talk to the admissions counselor at 9:00 a.m.  We had about an hour and a half to kill when we got up there, so we drove around on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Jonathan hadn’t been to the mountains in about eight years.  He was amazed.  It was nice there, in the area they call the High Country, but nothing can beat the Smokies.

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In the Smokies, the main attraction is rafting and tubing.  Up there in Banner Elk, it is skiing.

Once we arrived at Lees-McRae, everyone at the admissions office treated us like royalty.  We felt so welcome there.  This absolutely beautiful young woman showed us a video and talked with us some.  Then another beautiful girl gave us a tour.  The college is simply amazing.  Nearly all of the buildings are built of stone and the fall colors were super bright.  It is a gorgeous campus.  I liked it a lot.  And everything in the town was in walking distance.  Pretty important since I’m sure I won’t have a car.

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We went back to the admissions office and talked with a guy named Robert who teaches in the Performing Arts Department.  He answered a lot of our questions.  Jonathan later told me that he was gay because of the way that he sat and crossed his legs, but a lot of straight guys do that.  Anyway, it was a nice visit and it looks like we will have to go back later to audition for a scholarship.

I’m excited!

Yesterday at church I was a little down because I knew the very next day I would be visiting the place where the next four years of my life would probably take place.  My excitement made me realize that I only have about ten months left and then I will be gone.

I’ve been attending my church for nearly six years.  It seems like I’ve been going there for ever.  It seems like I’ve known Ryan, Christi, Amy, Cheryl, Scott, and Marcus for ever.  That church is all I’ve known for so long.  These friends are all I’ve known for so long.  Ten months is not enough time to say goodbye.  I’m a little afraid.

Yesterday, I was playing the piano after the evening service and Cheryl and Ryan came in there.  I was alone in the children’s church room before that.  They came in and told me about the clown troupe they want to form to go to visit kids in the hospital.  I found out that Ryan’s name is not Sunshine, but it is Happy.  She is always both of them to me.

No telling what my name would be.

Cheryl and Amy were telling me that everyone is going off to college and youth group isn’t going to be the same anymore.

Daylight
See the dew on a sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses wither away
Like the sunflower, I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day

There is a city near Lees-McRae called Boone.  Jonathan and I drove through there.  It was much bigger than Banner Elk and felt a little like Sanford.  Sanford itself is not special to me; it is the people that live there.

Memory
Turn your face to the moonlight
Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is
Then a new life will begin

I’ll never forget September 14, 1991.  That was when we went to Carowinds and Hank was the youth pastor.  Brian rode with me and Ryan and a friend of hers were in front of us.  Brian kept messing with Ryan’s hair.  It’s been years since I’ve seen Brian.  For all I know he could be dead.

Memory
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember a time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again

There were rough and sad moments too.  Like Jonathan and Christi at San-Lee Park.  I don’t want to go through that again.

Burnt out ends of smokey days
The stale cold smell of morning
A streetlamp dies – another night is over
Another day is dawning

It was a blast last September when we went to see Carman in concert.  And Marcus and I selling doughnuts at Wal-Mart.  Simple things that mean so much.

Daylight
I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I mustn’t give in
When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

And look at me now.  Look at today.  I know I’m leaving, so why am I trying so desperately to hold on?

When the dawn comes, tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin

I wonder if there will be a girl up there at Lees-McRae whom I’ll think about like I think about Ryan.  In a way I don’t want it to happen, but I know that it will.

Sunlight through the trees in summer
Endless masquerading
Like a flower as the dawning is breaking
The memory is fading

Touch me
It’s so easy to leave me
All alone with a memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me, you’ll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun

This Happy Sunshine will set.  It won’t be around forever.

Another girl always comes along.