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.

October 23, 1993 – Saturday – 10:20 p.m.

We didn’t have skit group today.  We didn’t have singing practice either.  I stayed home all day.  A lot happened.  Too much to explain.  I’m happy right now.  Really happy.  So happy it’s scary.

Today I got up around nine o’clock.  I took a shower, moused my hair, and then watched some TV.  Jonathan called.  Everyone left to go wherever they went.

I was alone.

A whole Saturday.  A whole house.  All to myself.

What did I do?

Actually, I don’t really know.  I wrote a little while listening to The Phantom of the Opera.  I watched some more TV and then I prayed in the spirit for a while.  I played the Power of One soundtrack super loud and danced to the music in the kitchen.  I practiced my monologues for my college audition and tonight I watched four hours of TV in a row.  I haven’t done that in a long time.  I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, Baywatch, and the movie Mermaids.  Mermaids was really good.

But you know what?  Things are going to be okay.  I got a letter from Emily yesterday and in it she wrote a poem for me:

Today I saw an eagle flying

Crying out to you and me

Wondering who is free

Asking who might be…

An eagle

Making his dreams come true

Fly, eagle, fly!

Though this world may have no hope

His dreams can keep him free

Like an eagle

Making his dreams come true

Be an eagle, Jacob

Be an eagle.

Everything is going to be fine.  My dreams will come true.  I will write.  I will make movies.  And I will find that right girl out there in the world.  Whether she lives in Florida, North Carolina, or somewhere else; I will find her.

I dare you to keep reading.  By the loving grace and blessings of God, my dreams will come true.

August 25, 1993 – Wednesday – 8:17 p.m.

I skimmed through Eagle’s Path tonight.  I have now realized how terrible it is.  I thought it was good while writing it, but I’ve grown in my skills and I should start over.

Nana told me Les Miserables is coming to Raleigh in October.  I’m thinking about asking Ryan if she would like to see it with me.  I don’t know.  We’ll see.

Tonight was Anne and Jason’s last night.  I probably won’t see them again until Christmas, if even then.  They are a perfect couple and always will be.

I saw Misty briefly at church tonight, but she didn’t speak to me.  I haven’t seen her since July when she gave me all those poems.  Here’s the first one:

I wish I was dead

I wish I was never born

I hope I didn’t lose you as a friend

I hope you don’t hate me

Hmm.  It doesn’t even rhyme.  Misty’s life has been hell.  Her dad died when she was eight and several of her friends have died either by suicide or someone shot them over a baseball cap.  She’s been rejected and she needs love.  I tried to care for her over the summer, but she became addicted to me.  I was so afraid she would kill herself if she knew I had zero romantic feelings for her, and I was just trying to show her God’s love.

Crazy thing is, that whole ordeal with Misty got Ryan and I talking a lot over the summer.  Ryan and Misty know each other from school, so Ryan would always want me to call her any time Misty called me saying she wanted to kill herself.

How can a 14-year-old know so much pain?

Here’s another poem from Misty:

I have so much inside me

And I have so much to give

I just need that special person

Someone for whom to live

I lie in bed at night wondering

Who will it be?

I wish I could look into the future

And be able to see

I wonder what he will be like

I wonder how he will look

I feel as if there are so many

Unread pages in my very big life book.

I guess I will just have to wait

For my future to come by

But until then I’ll keep

Dreaming with a hopeful look

In my eyes.

I can’t help but think of The Phantom of the Opera.  Misty is a pitiful creature of darkness.  What kind of life has she known?  Oh God, give me the courage to show her she is not alone.

Ryan told me tonight that Misty still calls her all the time and all they talk about is me.  I wonder if Ryan likes talking to Misty about me?  I know I would like talking to anyone about her.