May 5, 1998 – Tuesday – 1:00 p.m.

Sarah and I spent some awesome time together last night.  I told her the stories of the two novels I wrote in high school.  Can you call them novels if they were never published?  Hmm.

And I called Emily today.  I hadn’t seen or spoken to my beautiful pen pal in a year.  I woke her up.  She sounded so much older and so much more experienced.  She just got back from her first year at FSU in Tallahassee.  I told her my parents are moving down close to her and she couldn’t believe it.  I asked her about her first year at school and she just sighed.

She and Brandon got back together after he beat her up.  She said they had an amazing relationship for a while, but then it fell apart because they had sex.  They both felt guilty for that, but then she got pregnant.  A month or so later, she had a miscarriage.  Brandon then felt like he was off the hook and left her.  She was alone for a semester in her apartment, dealing with all of that by herself, and I started to feel guilty because I didn’t keep in touch with her when she needed me the most.

I told Emily about Sarah and how we both read her letters together the other night.  She said she wanted to meet Sarah.  I told her I may be in Pensacola for a little while and that we have to hang out.  She agreed.

This is unbelievable.

Emily.

We can never say goodbye it seems.  She messed up, but she is forgiven.  She explained to me how she was getting her life back in order.  I want to go down with my parents just so I can spend time with her.

It’s been nearly five years now since we first met on that summer night at Deep Creek.

My how we both have changed.

December 11, 1995 – Monday – 1:30 p.m.

Jacob

What a price we paid for experience

For we lost our touch

To buy it.

I miss you.  Maybe I represented someone to end your loneliness, but how can I accompany you when all we have is ink?  Jacob, if you have never listened to me, hear me now…

You are beautiful,

Everything about you is…

beautiful.

You have no reason to be sad.  Pick up your life.  Remember that when the frost comes and you look out your window, that you are on a journey.  Your prize will be at the end and you have only begun.  Don’t worry about the little things.  God has a plan for you.  The other things will come.  Just trust him and yourself.

It sounds to me like you need to do some soul searching.  Remember that you are loved.  If I disappointed you, I am sorry.

But I miss you.

Jacob, you are beautiful in every way.

 

This is what I received in the mail today.  There was a beautiful named signed at the bottom, but there is no need to write it here.  If you are reading these collections of hearts and thoughts, then you already know whose hand wrote these beautiful words.

Life has been rough for me recently.  But this letter has helped.  She is so right.  I do need to do some soul searching.

Finally, I have been held tighter than I was on March 26, 1995.  And it was by the same girl.

What a price we have paid to try and find something more solid than paper, more readable than ink.

Will I ever find anything more valuable than a piece of paper we have both touched?  That is who we truly are to each other.  It is who we will continue to be.

Her written and spoken words over the past two and a half years have changed me.

Am I really beautiful?

Could I be?

Frost was on my window this morning.  It is so cold outside.

What prize will be at the end?  I do this; I play this game…but why?

Lonely

Reaching

Searching

Knowing

Loving

Caring

Somewhere

Lonely

Reaching

Searching

Knowing

Loving

Caring

Soaring Somewhere

October 25, 1995 – Wednesday – 11:45 p.m.

I am so happy!

First let me tell you that I got a letter from Emily.  Hurricane Opal destroyed Crestview.  Her house is okay, but some of her friends are homeless.  She is still here with me on this planet and that alone makes everything okay.  She is special.  She is my pen pal.

Her last line read like this, “After all, what good we do for each other, will reward our paper hearts.”

I called Kristen tonight, she is Erica’s friend, whom I met at the concert this past summer.  We are going to try and meet sometime soon.

FCA was so wonderful tonight.  The Lord gave me a wonderful devotion.  Jars of Clay sings a song called World’s Apart.  I used it tonight along with Matthew 7: 21-24.  I can’t repeat everything I said, but everyone was so still and silent as I spoke.  So many people talked to me afterwards.  Allen accepted Jesus as his savior.  I’m so excited!  You just don’t know!

Thanks God!  Thanks for these dear friends.  And for this beautiful place where we get to share our friendship.

I simply can’t believe how wonderful everything is!

September 20, 1995 – Wednesday – 12:30 p.m.

Something has happened.

My brother Kevin called me yesterday.  He told me something very disturbing.  Something that brought tears to my eyes.  Something that broke my heart.  But I have my lighting class at one o’clock.  I will have to go into detail later.

However, on Monday night I called my mom and I told her to open the package from Emily.  There were clothes for Marcus in there that he had left in Florida.  And there was also a letter for me.  I was nervous, but I asked my mom to open it and she did.

I can’t remember exactly what she read to me, but Emily essentially said that she was at a loss for words and felt a little confused, but still wanted me to write her.

I already have and I’m going to mail it off today.

I have my pen pal again.

That is a good thing.

But I also have brother who is not doing  so well.  But I will begin to tell that sad story when I have more time.

August 20, 1995 – Sunday – 5:55 p.m.

Most of the new students checked in today.  I am on duty, but my radio doesn’t work, so I’m just sitting here.  It’s weird being here on duty.  It’s like being forced to stay in your room, but I’ll try not to look at it that way.

Not much is to tell.  Derek and I hung out yesterday.  Whatever wall there was between us has been torn down.

James is here.  It was good to see him.

Things are slow, but I am sure they will get fast.

I have not received a letter from Emily.  She knew my birthday was Thursday.  I miss her.  Those days when I was close to her seem so special now.

Emily.

I don’t want to lose you.

Please stay with me.

Please be here for me.

I’m sorry.

August 10, 1995 – Thursday – 12:05 p.m.

As you can tell by yesterday’s entry…I am okay.

In retrospect, those four days in Crestview were wonderful.  Everything that I wanted to happen, happened.  Emily and I just felt a little uncomfortable.  For the first time in my life, I knew someone 100% by the spirit.  Our relationship will continue.  Emily will write me. We will keep in touch.  I need her.  And she knows that.

Tuesday night, Mike and I went to Asheboro.  I did some shopping and we played some video games.  Mike is a good friend.  I will miss him.

Jonathan is gone.  I think he is in Raleigh.  I’m not sure.  He lived here for a big part of the summer.  He slept in my closet.  But my closet is pretty big.  All of that seems so long ago.

I went to church last night.  Cheryl was there.  She is back, but that is all.  I hugged Jenna and Tenielle goodbye.

Saturday, I have to go to Sanford to get my eyes examined.  There is a wedding that afternoon at the church.  And Kevin and I plan on doing something that night.

Then Sunday will arrive and I will return to my home.

August 7, 1995 – Monday – 11:58 p.m.

Unspoken words cannot be taken back.

I am now in Siler City, NC.

But earlier today I was in Crestview, FL.

I don’t know what to think.

I don’t know how to feel.

I can’t find my heart.

Emily hugged me this morning.  Things are so weird.  I thought our love would be big and wonderful.  So huge the whole world would stop, see us, and cry out of happiness because we finally found each other.

But this morning, after she said goodbye and left for volleyball practice, I placed a note in her room:

“When I was a thousand miles away, I felt close to you.

When I was close to you, I felt a thousand miles away.

Nevertheless Emily, I remain your Pen Pal

Box #3179 – LMC, Banner Elk, NC 28604″

I should have known looking into an eclipse would blind me.

But the more I watched Emily this weekend, the more I learned.  She is still just a little girl who has been given a woman’s body.  I got to know the wonderful little girl, but it seems everyone else only sees and reacts to the woman’s body, to her curvy figure, huge breasts, and long blonde hair.

Perhaps she knew that I only saw the wonderful little girl and she didn’t know how to react.

This is story is not over.

God is in control.

I saw her smile.

I held her for a few seconds.

I looked into her eyes.

I am sure there is a boy far away, sort of like me, who was never lucky enough to meet Emily, but I’m also sure he knows a special girl whom I have never been lucky enough to meet.

I guess those who try to forget are destined to remember.

Sun and moon.

August 6, 1995 – Sunday – 11:56 p.m.

I met her by accident two years ago.  And whether it was by chance or that thing called fate, we began to write.

We became pen pals.

Something happened though.  We both lost our “special someone” around the same time, so we clung to the most perfect and faultless person we could find.

We both needed to love and we both turned to our mysterious pen pal.

We opened up our hearts not realizing that we were only stuffing them with ink and paper.  There was a time when we would tell each other over the phone that we loved each other, and I began to believe this stranger, angel, and best friend of mine could be the perfect one for me.  I played that scenario over in my mind every day.

I told the world about her.

Yesterday.

Saturday.

Was a very difficult day.

Pen pals aren’t supposed to look each other in the eye.

Our ink and paper hearts didn’t know how to use verbal words.

But conversation was made

A walk on the beach.

Sitting on the board walk.

Eating in Taco Bell.

We found small words to say.

And on Saturday night, I asked her to take a walk with me….

Emily hurts.  I see it in her eyes.  I see it on her face.  And although I tried, I couldn’t take the pain away.  She doesn’t see me here the way she sees me with her pen.

We can tell each other so much more when we are staring at a blank sheet of paper.

We went bowling Saturday night.  Ashley, Brandon, Brandon, Mom, Ed, Amy, Rhonda, Brit, all new names to add.

I smiled.  She smiled.  And even today, smiles were made.  But she has blocked herself out to me.  She wants to know what I am thinking and how I feel, but she will not let me know her own hearts and thoughts.

We talked about all of these things as we walked along the Crestview roads near her house.  She shared so much with me, but we were staring out in front of us and rarely looked at each other.  It was just as if we were on the phone.  She showed me a little nook in the woods where she would run and hide and cry as a little girl.

I have seen Emily’s crying place.  And I felt all my dreams fade away.

I told her how beautiful she was and I hugged her when we got back to her house, but I held her tighter on March 26th.

I feel foolish.

I feel broken.

When we were hundreds of miles away, we were close.

When we were a breath away, we were distant.

I am sure this story is not finished and I am sure the name of Emily will stay with me.

And I’m confident that many years down the road I will tell my son about my days with an angel.  I will tell him how she and Marcus and I went to a skeleton of a house her family was building by a lake, but it never got finished because of the divorce.  I will tell him how I walked through that house with no walls and saw so many unfinished dreams.  I will read those letters to him and I will remember her.

And if I see her beautiful face in a crowd and she sees mine, I am sure she will smile really big and hug me.

Because, like myself, Emily notices every second that passes by in this brief moment of life.

August 5, 1995 – Saturday – 7:10 a.m.

I am awake.  Everyone else is not.

Emily is sleeping down the hall.  She is here.  I am here.

This is the same girl all of those letters came from.  This is the house she wrote them in.

But I feel that these four days here are just a small part of our story.  I don’t know what is going to happen.  I am glad in a way.  There is a mystery here.

Why has this girl been placed in my life?  Why have I been placed in hers?

Father, I know that you know these days here are special to me.  Do a work in our hearts.  Teach me.  Use me.  Hold me while I am here.

However this turns out, where ever we end up, I still have the Creator of the Angels who loves me more than I will ever know.

You are wonderful Lord!

August 4, 1995 – Friday – 11:15 p.m.

We made it.  I am in Crestview, FL.

I am home.

It feels so good to be here.  Emily came outside and hugged me.  I hardly had a chance to look at her, but I felt her arms around me.  She had some friends over.  We played cards then went for a ride.  We went to this place called Dead Man’s Hill or something like that.  It is a local ghost story where if you park your car, your car will slowly go backwards up the hill, defying gravity.  Many tell the story of a couple who died in a car accident there, and it is the ghost pushing the cars up the hill looking for his long, lost love.  I sat behind Emily.  Her hair would sometimes blow back and touch my knee.

She is more beautiful than I thought.  Way more beautiful.  It is intimidating.  I can hardly speak.  Her smile is so big.  Her eyes so bright.  And she hugged me so tight.

I am tired.  So, I am going to bed.  I hear her voice in the background now.  I want her.  I want to hear her voice for the rest of my life.

Jesus?

Father?

What is happening?

Emily, I am here.  I’m a breath away.  We are breathing the same air.

I want so badly to tell you something.  But I’m afraid.  I am afraid for once in my life I might actually mean it.