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.

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November 9, 1997 – Sunday – 1:00 p.m.

Friday morning at 5:00 a.m. I awoke and began my weekend.  I left before 6:00 and ate breakfast at McDonald’s in Marion.  I had 30 minutes to kill before my interview at the Radisson in Asheville at 8:30 a.m.

But it was then that I discovered we got the days mixed up and that my interview wasn’t until tomorrow (Saturday).  So, I had 24 hours, a full tank of gas, and a prayer for God to take me somewhere.

He took me home.

After spending three hours headed east on I-40, I ended up in Sanford, NC.  I surprised my mom at work, and visited Pastor Steve at his barn.  He told me about how his horses have brought him closer to the love of God.  I can understand that.

Then, God took me to a house I haven’t been to in well over a year.  I drove down that long dirt driveway and there I saw a young blonde girl carrying a baby.  I pulled up to the house, ran out and greeted her at the door with a hug.

Nearly a month ago, Jenna gave birth to 10 pound Michael Joshua.  She will marry goateed Herb in December.  I met him.  Nice guy, but he couldn’t look me in the eye.

Tenielle freaked out when she saw me.  She still smokes and says she is trying some modeling stuff.

It was great spending time with those girls.  I love them so much and its hard to believe I have known them for nearly four years now.

I saw pictures of Jenna pregnant; she was so huge.  I wonder if she realizes what has happened to her.  If she knows she is now and always will be a mother.  Can a 16-year-old truly know such a thing?

As I listened to the conversations between them in that trailer, I became insanely aware of their incorrect grammar, their double negatives, and their generally poor word choices.  It hit me so suddenly, these two girls who have taught me so much about how to love unconditionally, they are what many would call “Trailer Trash.”  The next pay check and getting cigarettes is all the seemed to be on their minds.  I truly saw how valuable college was to me.  Lees-McRae saved me, but I’m still in Jenna and Tenielle’s debt.  They taught me more than they’ll ever know.

I ate dinner with Mom and Nate.  She showed me some videotapes from the Brownsville Revival down in Florida and I cried watching them.

I went to walk and pray on the railroad tracks and asked God to let me into his presence. That evening was similar to Valentine’s Day of 1993.  I fell to the ground and cried and laughed in all of God’s glory.  It was a wonderful time.

I left at four in the morning to get back to Asheville in time.  I talked a lot about God during my scholarship interview, but I didn’t get the award.  It doesn’t matter, it felt like all of that was orchestrated, so I would need to borrow a car, so I could spending a few hours back home and realize all that God has done for me.  There were so many hours driving this weekend in solitude that are more valuable to me than a scholarship.  I had so much fun.  I saw the sun rise twice in a row.

I spent time with Abigail and Lindy last night.  We rented some movies.  Abigail laid next to me for nearly four hours and I touched her hair and head.

For my birthday I was given Life on the Edge by Dr. James Dobson.  In it he writes about the steps to true intimacy and stresses how these steps should be taken in order and at a very slow pace:

Eye to Body

Eye to Eye

Voice to Voice

Hand to Hand

Hand to Shoulder

Hand to Waist

Face to Face (Hugging/Kissing)

Hand to Face

-MARRIAGE-

Hand to Body

Mouth to Breast

Touching below the Waist

Sexual Intercourse

Wow!  Did you notice step eight?  He writes, “Surprisingly, touching a person’s face and hair in a romantic way is more intimate than kissing and hugging.”

According to Dr. Dobson, Abigail and I skipped four major steps.  Oh well, these days, it’s the one thing I truly look forward to.  Her face has become familiar to me.  I know it so well, and even now, I miss it.

I miss her.

Oh Jacob, how funny you are.

May 17, 1997 – Saturday – 10:08 p.m.

Today…

Today…

Today was the annual nationwide March For Jesus.  This was my first one that I’ve ever attended.  I had a wonderful time singing praises with fellow Christians as we walked the streets of Sanford.  I saw Gary there.  We talked a little and he told me that there was a big party at Kiwanis Park for Matt, Christi’s brother, who had just graduated from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.  He said that both Matt and Jason were in town.  So, after the March was over I asked mom if we could stop by to see if they were there and say “hey.”  We did.

A car was in the driveway with the trunk open.  The front door was standing wide open.  We pulled up and I got out of the car and Jason runs out of the house.  His hands were waving around and he wasn’t really looking at us.  Frantically, he said, “Oh geez, oh geez, oh God, oh my God.  Mom and Christi and Andy and his girlfriend just got in a car accident.  They are three hours away from here.  And they’re burned!

It took a second for it to register, but then it all made sense when he just plopped down on the steps and cried.  He was in the middle of changing tires on the car out front because he and Matt were going on a fishing trip on the coast.  So, Clay took Jason to find his dad and Matt at the bank downtown.  Mom and I stayed there and prayed.

A few minutes later, Matt pulled up with Pastor Steve’s wife Nancy.  She said she found him walking on the side of the road because their car broke down at the bank.  We told Matt what happened and he went nuts.  Except he said Andy was in Wilmington and Christi and her mom were going to the mountains and Andy doesn’t even have a girlfriend.  Jason’s muttering made no sense.

Hours of confusion took place.  Phone calls were made.  Hank finally made it home and the emotions went wild because no one knew what was going on.

This is what actually happened:

Christi and her mom Patti and Christi’s boyfriend Adam were going to western North Carolina to say goodbye to Christi’s old gym coach.  Patti was taking off Christi’s shoes while Christi was driving, yet at the same time, they were looking at a pretty mountain.  A bump is felt and Christi shouts out an “oops” as she swerves back to the road.  Yet, the beginning of a guard rail is right in front of her and it catches the gas tank near the rear of the car.  It rips it off and flips the car at the same time.  They head straight into the other lane, thankfully there wasn’t any oncoming traffic.  They come to a stop on the other side of the road and the car bursts into flames.  The three shocked passengers crawl out of the car.

Jason got off the phone with the hospital 30 seconds before we drove up.  Matt, Hank, Gary, and Adam’s mom drove up to the mountains to be with them.  I stayed with Jason until my parents picked me up for a church service at 5:30 p.m.

Christi was burned the worst of all three, but nobody should be left with permanent scars.

And that was today.

Today…

No doubt Christi and Adam’s relationship will grow stronger through this shared drama. They’re love is as good as forever.

It’s a week before I go back to the mountains.  I will so go to my perfect world of Banner Elk.  Yet here, the people of my days before LMC are either pregnant, nicotine addicts, or burned.

And I will leave them that way, knowing my prayers and never ending love will be with them.

I am a little blonde-haired boy, lying in my bed on a school day, only I’m too young to attend.  “Why can’t I go, mommy?”

“You have to wait another year until you’re old enough,” she says.

She should have said, “Oh sweetie, don’t rush things.  Enjoy these careless days while they are around.  Soon your closest friends will be in pain and there won’t be any answers to the flames life brings.  Please, stay a child while you can be a child.”

March 26, 1997 – Wednesday – 8:30 p.m.

Today was nice.  For two hours this morning I worked on my final model for scene design.  I then went to Journalism class and then to lunch.  After lunch, I went with Samarah to the hospital; it was a community service program she was doing.  We just went to visit with anyone who needed visiting.  We visited this 70-year-old man with very little family left, and even they all lived in Minnesota.  He had been in the hospital for two weeks concerning his gal bladder.  We were his first visitors.

In the past two weeks he had only been outside twice.  So we took him out in his wheelchair.  He was so surprised that we were there just to talk and listen to him.  He finally opened up.  What a sad story his life has been recently.  His urinary system is all messed up, he even has a tube running through his penis.  My stomach turned as he told his story.

Please heal him Father.

Well, I’ll spend this weekend with Jeni and Tracey in Ahoskie, NC.  Once we return we’ll begin tech rehearsals for the dance concert.  After that the semester will slowly come to a close.  We will go see Stomp, watch Timothy perform in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and watch Jeni graduate.  Then I’ll go home, work at McDonald’s briefly, then return for Summer Theater.

But more will happen than just that.  I will see Abigail smile every day, and I’ll hear Curtis laugh his final laughs in this place.  I will pray, walk beneath the stars, hold the wind in my hair, walk along my railroad tracks at home, and I’ll hug Jenna.  And when I do, I’ll be hugging two people.

Another summer is just around the corner.  Life is always the same, yet constantly changing.

I love you; you who are looking out your framed glass window on this Starry night.  You have never met me, yet you know exactly who I am.  I love you already.  You are me.  I am you.  We are one before our eyes even meet.

Good night.

Dream of me.

 

March 23, 1997 – Sunday – 4:15 p.m.

Three years ago on this evening, I was sitting in Abundant Life Christian Center.  Jenna was sitting to the lift of me and I drew a picture of her foot in my Book of Days.  Jenna is now 17 and today I talked with her and her sister on the phone.

May 10, 1997.

October 1, 1997.

The first date is when Jenna will marry a young man named Herb.  The second date is when she will give birth to her first baby.

Jenna is now three months pregnant.

Jenna.

U & I.

The Female Bird.

Jenna.

The girl who always hugged me.  My sister and wonderful friend.  She had sex with a guy I’ve never even met, but I didn’t hear this from Jenna, no I heard it from Tenielle, who just recently got over pneumonia.  She said she cried for five days straight when she found out.

Well, there it is.

Oceans still move.

Waves still crash.

I tried to give advice and speak life to Tenielle, but she basically told me to shut up.  “You haven’t been here Jacob!  You don’t know!  You have no idea.”

And she was right.

I have been here and I know nothing of their life now.  To me, Jenna is still 14.  Tenielle is still 12.  And that ancient girl Veronica will never be anything other than 11.

On May 3, 1994 I wrote:  “My Book of Days will never cease.  I will write until the Lord comes back.  And when I read this stuff when I’m 80, I wonder what I will think.  Will I cry?  Will I know Jenna and Tenielle then?  Christi and Ryan were once important to me and I hardly know them now.  Why do I still mention their names?  Why does Veronica suddenly pop into my head sometimes whenever I’m driving down the road alone?  Is this going to happen the rest of my life?  Or will I forget?”

I don’t need to wait until I’m 80.  Here I am at 20, nearly in tears.

Jenna, no matter what happens, I will still love you and long to hug you.

May 29, 1996 – Wednesday – 9:30 p.m.

A peaceful day.

They let me off work early.  I showered and then headed to Sanford for a haircut.  I had a good time.  The woman who cut my hair was named Amy; she was pregnant, beautiful, and very fun.  I don’t know if there is anything more beautiful than a pregnant woman.  It means someone loves her.  And is there anything more beautiful than a woman in love?

Afterwards I went walking at both Kiwanis and San Lee parks.  Memories of long ago flooded my mind.  I thought mostly of Christi and Ryan.  I two days I’ll see them both graduate high school and then I’ll head back to college, to my home.

Pastor Steve’s sermon was brilliant tonight.  I talked to him afterwards and thanked him for all of his great teaching over the years.

This is where I am from.

It might not be much now, at least to me, but the days I once knew and the days that are should not be compared.

God created this place.

It is beautiful.

May 20, 1994 – Friday – 10:05 p.m.

Now there are only ten days of school left.

All of these people.  And I may never see them again.

Yesterday, Kevin told me something that shocked me greatly.  Remember Dakota, I met him Feb 26th or around there, he’s one of Kevin’s friends from college.  I’m not sure if I wrote about him in my journal, but anyway, he is gay.  I slept in the same bed as that guy then.  Kevin said that he wasn’t gay then, but how does someone become gay?  You can’t just decide you’re gay in the span of a few months, can you?  Kevin said his parents disowned him and took his car and $27,000 out of his bank account.  Wow!

I called Jenna tonight.  Tenielle called me earlier in the day.  But I called Jenna tonight to tell them we didn’t have skit practice tomorrow.  Tenielle was already asleep.  We talked a little while and then I said these two words:  “Good night.”

She said this back:  “Good night to you too, Jacob.”

It was the way she said it though.  I wish you could have heard.

My friend, Jenna.  If she only knew, if she only saw.

Tonight at work I talked to this girl about sex before marriage.  She is about seven or eight months pregnant.  I told her I was a virgin, and thankful to be one.  She said she wished she still was.  So sad.

I can’t believe all of this is happening.  I’m graduating in three weeks.

Three weeks!

No God, let me do it all over again!  I didn’t love enough, I didn’t minister enough!  I was the only Jesus some people ever met, but sometime I just threw you in their faces.  I know so much now!  Let me do it again!

These people!  These lives!  These stories!  You’ve shared them with me for four years, and I took that for granted.  Now only three weeks are left.  It hurts so much right now.  How will it feel on June 10, 1994.

Be with me.