December 26, 1994 – Monday – 7:40 a.m.

It is the 26th of December in the year 1994.

Did you hear me?

December 26, 1994.

I have been alive on this earth for 18 years, four months, nine days, two hours, and 40 minutes.

That’s a long time.

But then again…what is time?

I feel empty.

Arms.  My arms.  They hurt.  They ache.

And I know why.  They are not holding the one I love.

Jeni.

Just writing her name gives me the chills.

She called last night around 11 o’clock.  We talked four hours.

She is in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I am in Lanexa, Virginia.

For the summer of 1995 it looks like I will be where she is now.  She wants me to go home with her and find a job in Cincinnati. Then maybe just visit my family in North Carolina around the 4th of July.

Do you remember when Jenna and I bought Grey Poupon on the 4th of July?

So many smiles, so many moments of laughter, not just from Jenna, but from every person I’ve encountered; every person I’ve spent at least a few fleeting moments with these past 18 years.  Yet I’m sure there are some I have forgotten.

Is my past truly behind me?

Will I allow myself to spend a summer in Cincinnati?  Will my heart?  Will my arms?  Will my eyes?

What is there in Sanford?

What is there to hold in Sanford?

What is there to look upon in Sanford?

Today, Dad and I went to see two movies:  Star Trek: Generations and Forrest Gump.  Star Trek was cool, but will there ever be another movie as amazing as Forrest Gump?

As I left the theater I looked at the different human beings around me.  Some had tears in their eyes.  Some were holding the hand of a loved one.  That certain individual had found that other person they were created to love.

What an adventure!

What a discovery!

What a miracle!

The miracle of another human being.  How Jeni and I ever came to know each other is beyond me.

Beyond me.

There is much beyond me.

But my savior, very close to me, has taught me to love and value another one of his beautiful creations.

Time does not exist.  Days may pass.  Years may pass.  But my past will grow.  My collections will grow.  My love for Jeni will grow.

The end will draw close, but it will not be over.

And in the meantime, I will enjoy my time here on earth.

I will enjoy my time with Jeni.

I will enjoy Lees-McRae College.

I will enjoy the summer of 1995.

I will enjoy the future.

For surely the best days of my life are not the ones you’ve already read about, but the ones I have yet to write.

November 25, 1994 – Friday – 10:20 p.m.

Last night we went to go see a movie but the time was different than what the paper said, so we came back home.

Tonight we simply rented two movies, The Power of One and Shadowlands.  Jeni liked them both.  She cried during both.

Today, we had a talk.  We were a bit concerned because we had gotten very close physically.  We have done nothing wrong, she just doesn’t want it to go any further.  Neither do I.  Sometimes that gets in the way of why I really love her.

Tonight we talked about a few things.  She told me how much she looks forward to spending the rest of my life with me.  Sometimes I get scared because I’m not sure if that’s God’s will.  We might get separated with my desire to be a filmmaker, but she said she knows it is God’s will.

I wonder… if God is love, and people grow to love each other, does it become harder to hear God’s will because they are mistaking their own experiences of love for His voice?

Nevertheless, it is obvious to both of us that He brought us together.  We are from two different worlds, yet now we are together.

So, I too, will not worry about it.  And I will look forward to the rest of my life with her.  But tonight I told her no matter what happens, my dreams have come true, I have loved.  God has not only allowed me to love, but He has allowed me to be loved.

Jeni, that’s all I will ever need to know.

November 24, 1994 – Thursday – 8:17 a.m.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last year I was in Virginia.  Now I am in Ohio.  The Lord is good to me.  I love Jeni so much.  I hear talk of their family and then I think of my family.  It is so amazing how Jeni and I are together.

Last night I dreamed of Christi.  I simply dreamed that her and Andy came to visit me at college.  It was good to see her, but then I woke up.

I’m already in the third section of my 7th Book of Days.  Seven books already!  Wow!

Jeni’s brother Chuck is coming over for Thanksgiving today!  He is married and has three little daughters named Rachel, Jordan, and Olivia.  I can’t wait to meet them all.  I want to be a part of this big family.  They already treat me as if I am.

One day my brothers Kevin and Nate will be uncles.  Weird.  I don’t know why I’m thinking along these lines.

I’m just so happy here.  Every night I hold Jeni in her bed before she falls asleep and I go off to the sewing room.  I love holding her.  She says she wants me to hold her forever.  I tell her not to worry; I will.

I believe tonight we’re going to see The War with Kevin Costner and Elijah Wood.  Missy and Paul are going to go with us.

Mom was supposed to put $50 in my bank account yesterday.  Hopefully she did.  I won’t be able to buy many Christmas presents this year, but I’m going to get Jeni something nice.  I have no idea what though.

I wish I could be with her for Christmas, but I must go see my dad.  It would break his heart if I didn’t go.

It’s probably breaking his heart that I’m not there now.

October 22, 1994 – Saturday – 9:45 a.m.

Its only a little later than my last entry.  A lot is on my mind and I must write about it.

Jeni and I have only been together for one month, but our relationship is so close.  This morning, while I was still in bed, she came in and gave me a kiss.

Just now I was looking at the pictures in my wallet.  Most of the pictures were of girls.  Jeni gave me a picture of her and it is the picture on top now.  I care for her so much.  I want nothing to happen to us.  I want to be with her forever.  She has so many dreams and I want to be a part of those dreams.

Everything has happened so fast.  I feel like this house here in Cincinnati is my home, and I like it!

October 22, 1994 – Saturday – 7:30 a.m.

I’m still in Cincinnati, Ohio, and boy have I got a lot to tell.

After meeting Kenny, Jeni’s dad, Missy, Jeni’s sister, Paul, Missy’s boyfriend, and one of Jeni’s grandmothers on Wednesday night, I went to bed.

Kenny is really funny and neat.  I like him and he seems to like me.  Missy is around 23 I think.  She lives at home and commutes to a university nearby.  Her boyfriend Paul was visiting and he seemed like a great guy as well.

Oh Thursday morning I met one of the neighbors.  She is an old lady named Skip and her husband is Gill.  She is so sweet.  She told us about her grandsons Chip and Joey.  Chip is diabetic and Joey is, well, he wasn’t formed completely when he was born.  Chip wrote a paper about his brother for school.  Skip showed it to us and Jeni and I read it together.  I have so much to be thankful for and yet I still sometimes complain.  It really hurts me knowing that I do that.

A little later Jeni and I went for a walk to her church.  It’s a Presbyterian Church.  It looks very modern.  I met her youth pastor, Craig.  He’s really cool and you can see Jesus in his face.  I can see now why Jeni always talks about him.  Tonight, Saturday, we are going to go visit them at their house.  We spent about two hours talking to Craig, he’s only 23 and yet it seems like he’s been everywhere.  He plays the guitar and writes songs.  He was in a band, but not anymore.

I met the pastor of her church as well.  I also met Jeni’s old dance teacher Candice.  She is really tiny and she has played about three different cats in the musical CATS over in Germany.  She was so wonderful and easy to get along with.  But she is not a Christian and it hurts Jeni very much because she can’t imagine heaven without her.  She was crying about it on our way home.  I held her hand.

Last night we rented Last of the Mohicans and Searching for Bobby Fisher.  They were both great!

Each night Jeni would come into my room (the guest room) and we would cuddle for a while.  Last night she was in here until about 3 or 4 in the morning.  She was in her pajamas and she was cold so I let her get under the covers and I stayed on top of the covers next to her.  We just held each other, kissed each other, and complemented each other.

Last night however I also met three of her guy friends: Joe, John, and Shawn.  We went out to downtown Cincinnati.

I have never been so amazed about anything in my life.  I have been so isolated.  This city is so huge.  There are so many people here.  There are around 100 high schools just in the Cincinnati area.  And there were only three in the county I grew up in.  They took me to rich parts of town and bad parts as well.  I saw homeless people and 4-year-olds walking around by themselves.  I thought I had seen so much in life.  But last night as we were on top of a lookout, I could see so far.  I saw city lights go forever and it seemed as though I was looking down upon the stars.  The moon was full and the color of blood.  As I stood there next to Jeni, it all hit me:

Throughout my life I will go many new places and different people and different things will take me there.

Jeni is one of those persons.  As we held each other last night for so long, a few words poured helplessly out of my mouth, “I’m falling in love with you Jeni.”

And she simply said, “Thank you.”

October 19, 1994 – Wednesday – 11:55 p.m.

At this very moment I am in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I have been here for a little while.  We watched Edward Scissorhands tonight with Jeni’s sister and her boyfriend.

This city is so beautiful.  I’ve never been in a city this big before.  It is so wild seeing the place where Jeni has lived for the past 18 years.  I’m so excited to be here.  I will be here for four more days.  I’m not sure what we are going to do, but I now I’ll have a great time as long as Jeni is with me.

She showed me her school and her church and other little things that are so important to her.  One year ago, I could never have imagined this would happen.  We are sharing our past and sharing our dreams.

Something is happening inside of me.

I would do anything for her.

October 18, 1994 – Tuesday – 11:56 p.m.

Tonight Jeni and I plus Tracey and Jackie went to Sharon’s house for a Bible Study.  I can tell you now that that family will have a great effect on my life.  Sharon’s little girl Hannah is so adorable.  And the middle child Laura is so sweet.  She is a freshman in high school.  We all just talked about everything under the sun.

Thank you for them Lord.

Tomorrow I will go to Ohio.  Two other guys are driving with us.  We will drop them off somewhere near Cincinnati.

Hopefully I’ll get to know Jeni a lot better during these next few days.

Keep us safe Lord.

October 8, 1994 – Saturday – 9:35 a.m.

Guess what…Cheryl, Ryan, Christi and Amy didn’t come last night.  I called them and they said that Ryan’s dad wouldn’t let her drive three hours there and three hours back just to see a play.  Oh well.

Last night was our best performance so far.  After the performance, Jeni and I, plus Rachel, Mary, Tracey, and Lu Lu watched The Little Mermaid in Mary’s room.  You know, I just realized that I don’t really hang around with guys that much.  Charlie is the only one.  I only see James at performances.  It was the same way back home in a way.

. . .

I just called Jonathan.  I finally got in touch with him.  His fall break is next week.  He says he might come see me.  He says he is having bad luck with girls.  I told him about Jeni and he couldn’t believe it.  No one can.

Jeni’s mom, sister, nephew, and niece are coming today.  She is so excited.  I am too.

I am so happy here.  The praise goes to God!

Cheryl seems upset that I’m not coming home for fall break.  I’m not sure why.

Jeni and I are getting so close.  I can really trust her with things.

I remember this summer when Jonathan and I went to Deep Creek.  I feel like crying.  I can’t have everything at once.  All of my joys are spread throughout my entire life.  And the new joy of Jeni’s family will begin today.  And then my family and friends come tomorrow.  I might see Jonathan in a week, and then Ohio.

I’m on this great adventure that will take me so many places.  It will also take me to my only destination.  We will all gather at the crystal throne.  And Veronica, Jonathan, Kevin, Marcus, Charlie, Jenna, Tenielle, Amy, Ryan, Christi, Cheryl, Scott, Tracey, Kristi, Glenda, and Jeni will be there with me.

October 3, 1994 – Monday – 2:03 p.m.

We went to church yesterday.  I enjoyed it.  Jeni was dressed so beautifully.  We did some homework together and then we both took a nap in her bed.  Tracey was above us on the top bunk taking a nap.  It was so nice to sleep so close to Jeni.

Last night after rehearsal we went to Subway and after we got back Jeni and I went for a walk.  We prayed together.  Then she sat on my lap and we began kissing each other.  That went on for a while.  Then she leaned forward and had me lying down the stone bench with her on top of me, kissing me.  After a few moments she got up and said, “I think we better go.”

I agreed.

We have been a couple for 11 days.

I only met her about 20 days ago.

Look how far we have come.

Physically we cannot get any closer without sinning.  And that will not happen.  We can only get closer emotionally and spiritually.  We have moved fast, but it bothers neither of us.  It feels natural.

I might go home with her for fall break.  It depends on what her mother says.  If I do then I will be in Cincinnati, Ohio.  I was born in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1976 on August 17th I was born in Columbus.

In 1976 on September 10th she was born in Cincinnati.

Five weeks later, two hours away.

It’s funny because although I’ve only known her for 20 days, it feels like I’ve known her for much longer.

Why is that?