December 23, 1997 – Tuesday – 2:00 p.m.

I just wrote a letter to Sarah.  I took a passage from Hinds’ Feet on High Places, a book she let me borrow, and put it in her letter.  It reads:

I must tell you a great truth, Much-Afraid, which only few understand. All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at.  Every inner response of the human heart to love and every conquest over self-love is a new flower on the tree of love.

Many a quiet, ordinary, and hidden life, unknown to the world, is a veritable garden in which love’s flowers and fruits have come to such perfection that it is a place of delight where the King of Love himself walks and rejoices with his friends. Some of my servants have indeed won great visible victories and are rightly loved and reverenced by other men, but always their greatest victories are like the wild flowers, those which no one knows about.

And that has happened.  A great victory has occurred inside me, for I love Sarah, a girl so unlike me, a girl so similar to me.  I haven’t tried to change her, though there is much I wish I could.  I know I’ve said I’ve loved in the past, but with Veronica, I was too young to know, with Jeni, it quickly turned to lust, and with Emily, I fear I was in love with the idea of a long lost pen pal.

But now with Sarah, I love her and I will forever, for true love never dies.

I saw her yesterday.  We went see a movie, but this wasn’t just any movie, for it is now our movie.  Throughout it’s running time, we held each other so tightly.  We held hands, arms, legs.  My years at college are sinking into the ocean of time and I’m just holding onto the ones I love as tightly as a can.

Jack saved Rose’s life, in every way possible.  He brought her to the rest of her life beyond that maiden voyage.  I keep dwelling on Exodus 23:20, but I can’t figure out who is bringing who.  Our world is splitting in two.  The iceberg has stuck.  It’s only a matter of time.

Is she bringing me?

Or am I bringing her?

Or maybe we are bringing each other.

Love can touch us once and last for a lifetime.  Love is what brings us.  She has brought me, and I love her now and forever for that.

Jack lived a short life so Rose could live a long one.

I bought the soundtrack today.  In it, James Cameron wrote about James Horner: “And most importantly, he has made us one with Jack and Rose, feeling the beat of their hearts as they experience the kind of love we all dream about, but seldom find.”

I have, if only for a short while, found it.

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May 14, 1997 – Wednesday – 8:49 a.m.

Our meeting was good.

She had a meeting at 5:00 p.m., so we went to the beach and talked for nearly four hours.  She looked great.  She told me about her world and her problems.  She told me how much she hates her dad, how her and Brandon are back together, and how much he wanted to meet me.  Perhaps he doesn’t remember me from before.  We had a good talk.  Talking and writing is all we know how to do.  We have given up the romance and focused on our needed friendship.

I told her about Abigail, Jeni, and Jessica.  She told me about this world and I’m very glad that I live in a secluded little village in the mountains.  Emily has changed over the years.  Her focus on life is different.  All of the death around her has changed her.  I liked her better three years ago, but I love her so much more now.

This story of mine.

And Emily is another girl.

Just one of the many.

But I could not exist without her.

And I don’t know why.

February 11, 1997 – Tuesday – 10:00 a.m.

After my wonderful rehearsal last night I went to Cannon Cottage to visit Jeni, Tracey, and Ann-Marie.  I was in a good mood and had a huge smile on my face.  They thought this smile meant I knew something about a guy one of them liked and they tried the whole night to wriggle it out of me.  But I knew nothing about a guy that might like one of them. And rather than them seeing joy on my face, they took that smile and made it about themselves.  They didn’t see me.  They only wondered how I might serve them.

Then they began to talk about me and why I am alone romantically.  Tracey said it was because I am not mysterious enough.  I give everything out in the beginning and that I’m so friendly and understanding and such a great listener, that the girl has nothing else to explore, or strive for, or fix in me.

I knew this already, but the words from someone else, stating that my honesty and strong character were also a weakness, caused me to grow very silent.  I was happy, yet hurting.

Sure, I am honest.  These girls think they know me, and they do, but only to the extent that I allow them.  They know who I am to them because I manage how they perceive me, but they don’t really know me.  And I doubt they’ve ever really tried.

My honesty frightens them.  My love frightens them.  They are simply too insecure in themselves to see how honesty and selfless love can serve them in a relationship.  They would rather play mindless games, gossip about who likes who, strive for mysterious first kisses from total strangers, and get a chill down their spine than learn more truth about my spirit or what I think about when I’m alone.  They never asked me why I was smiling; they only wondered what I might know about them that they didn’t already know.

These girls think they know what they want, but they can’t even see what they really need.

They think they know me, but they have no idea how hard it is to be me.  To have a heart like mine, to have the responsibility of being the one guy who’s trying to do things the right way and to pursue honesty and truth.

But since we are being honest, let’s get really honest.  Tracey’s statement that my honesty is unattractive and scary has more to do with the fact that her boyfriend slept around on her than it has to do with me.  She’s really making excuses for herself in an effort to some how live with her pain.  Girls always take it out on me when total jerks treat them like crap; like it’s my fault that my personality and character traits are in me and not in the guy they picked.

Oh God, I feel more alone now than ever.

September 28, 1995 – Thursday – 12:05 p.m.

The show has been going great.  I get a lot of laughs.

I borrowed the Broadway recording of Beauty and the Beast.  It is so beautiful.  And it makes me think.  It is filled with such a romantic view of love and that is currently missing from my life.  I am around girls all the time.  I go out with different girls.  But there is no one here who I would even consider wanting to share a romantic relationship with.  I sometimes wonder if something so true and romantic could even happen in real life.  Does romantic love exist only in the movies?  Only in broadway musicals?

Even as I looked out from underneath the bridges of Chambers County in Alabama I looked forward to the days I would hold an angel.  But I departed Emily’s house in Crestview broken and at a loss.  Confused.  Hurt.  And sad.

But I survived and looked forward to returning to Lees-McRae.

That day came and Heaton Christian Church was there to welcome me.  And I now call this place home.

Crystal and Clifton threw me a birthday party.  RA training came.  Students came.

I looked for romance in Syndi and in doing so, I hurt James.

But peace was made between us.  Before that I spent four days in the high mountains, instead of sea level shores, with a soul that I still try to reach, but backs away.

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Sunlight dances on the waters.  Everything is perfect.  But nothing lasts forever.

Holding hands?  Yes.

Closeness?  Yes.

But only skin deep.

Not what I want.

New friends are made.  They make me laugh.  College life is simple and fun.  Charlie and I still have good conversations about our faith that helps us to grow.

Antigone arrives and I show my talent.  People I don’t even know come up to me and compliment me on a job well done.  I became the best RA.  I witness and minister to people.

I love my Jesus.

But I don’t know.  Sometimes I stop and I listen.  I look.  I stare.  I search.  I look for a perfect person, another soul out there that I can cling to.

Special moments come along, but in my mind I see a smile from Christi.

Beautiful girls are all around me, yet I remember the laughter from Ryan.

Why do I want something so far away and so long ago?

But even in the past I can’t find the perfect soul.

I only find that in Jesus.

I can’t even find that perfect person in myself.

I look for something true and pure, because I long to be true and pure.

Perhaps someone else is looking for someone true and pure?  Perhaps I can be that person for them?

If I can’t find her.

Then maybe she can find me.

There is no reason to live, if I can’t do it the right way.  If I can’t do it God’s way.  I do this for Him.

No pain could be deeper.

No life could be cheaper.

No point anymore, if I can’t do this for my Lord.

He has washed me clean.

Let me begin.

Jesus is next to me.

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May 8, 1995 – Monday – 9:45 a.m.

Oh boy!!

It’s Monday morning.  I am in the post office…yesterday was amazing.

Heaton Christian Church has begun two different morning services now.  One before Sunday School and the traditional one after Sunday School.  Charlie and I went to the early service; amazing!

Psalm 15!  Read it!

I talked to Clifton and Crystal and Molly and they wanted me to come see the play they were in at the high school today.  So, I went home with Clifton and Crystal.  I watched some of Benny & Joon.  Then we went to the show.  Molly and Clifton were actors and Crystal ran the sound.

The show was okay, but you could tell it was high school.

We went to church that night and afterwards we all got pizza from The Villa, then ate it at the park.  We played all kinds of little games.  It was me, Dan, Crystal, Clifton, Caroline, Jason, Sean, Meredith, and Trey.  There was this neat jungle gym thing that we played frisbee tag on.  That was the last night I will spend with those kids for a long time.  I will miss them; they are wonderful.

I got back to my room around 9:30 p.m.  I went to the computer lab to print something out.  James was in there.  He said hey.

I went back to my room and called Syndi.  She wasn’t in.  I left her a message saying something like, “I just wanted to see what you were up to and find out what time you were leaving tomorrow.”

I met Syndi on April 22, 1995.  That was just a little over two weeks ago.  So, I turned on the TV and smiled when I saw that Jurassic Park was on.  I watched about about fifteen minutes of it before I got a call back from Syndi.  We talked for a while and I told her about my day and that I went to see a high school play that afternoon.

She responded with, “Well, why didn’t you invite me?”

I then told her that I went to the park and she again asked why I didn’t invite her.

So I said, “Well, do you want to go now?”

“Sure!”

So…we went.

Her car was already packed and I had no leg room whatsoever.  We drove to the park and played hide and go seek.  We swung on the swings.

And then this stranger said, “You know, you never taken me to meet your mom.”

I looked at her.  I wasn’t sure what was going on.  She then said, “Well, we could leave now, stop and say hi, then drive back and be here in time for my exams.”

“We could.”  I said.

I was getting a little worried.  She sounded serious.  So, I said, “Lets go somewhere a little closer where neither of us have never been before.”

“I know a place that I’ve been before, but you haven’t.”

It turns out she was talking about a beautiful waterfall around Elk Park.  So, we went.  It took forever to get there.  It was 11:00 p.m., only a quarter moon was out, so it was very dark and we couldn’t see.

We found a fence and followed that.  She took hold of my hand and we walked to the waterfall.  We stood there at the top above it.  It was very huge.  The stars were out.  We were in the middle of nowhere.  I felt free.

We found our way to the bottom and sat there.  Everything around me was beautiful…including her.  We sat there and talked about everything.

Then, I said “Could you imagine seeing the sunrise from up here?”

“We could stay if you want.”

“That would be cool.”

So, we went back up to her car and, since she was already packed up to go home, we got two pillows and two blankets out of her trunk.  We found our way back down through the dark and made ourselves a bed.

We laid there and stared up at the stars, and whatever thought was on our mind and in our hearts simply poured from our lips.  As we talked, she kept saying she was cold.  I told her to come closer to me.  She did and I put my arm around her.

We continued to talk and as we talked we got closer.  As time passed, the only sound that could be heard was the sound of the rushing waterfall and the sound of her breath as it ran across the rim of my ear.  Both of my arms were holding her.  One of her arms was around me.  She told me that she could feel my heart beating.

As I was staring at the universe above me, and holding a beautiful girl next to me, three falling stars shot across the sky.

Syndi is sweet, but she drinks a lot.  She curses a lot as well.  She is not a Christian.  I began to wonder how I got to that position.  I met this girl two weeks ago and now she is falling asleep in my arms below a gorgeous waterfall.

The subject of my faith came up.  She knew I was different.  I told her what I believed and I told her that Jesus loved her.  She said that she knew that.

Time passed, and we fell asleep in each other’s arms.

She woke me up sometime after one o’clock in the morning and said she was too cold to stay.  We gathered our bed and found our way back through the night.

As we were driving back by the college, she did not stop.  She kept going.

“Let’s go to Taco Bell!” she said.

In Boone, Taco Bell doesn’t close until two in the morning; or so we thought.  We were wrong.  It was closed, so we went to The Pantry and bought some food.  And then we drove back.

It was 3:30 in the morning when I finally got into my bed.

I woke up at seven and this day began.

I woke up happy.

I woke up free.

Syndi.  For some odd reason I care about her; a girl I hardly know.  And I thought of Jeni.  I thought of how she always wanted me to touch her body.

Then, Syndi, a girl whose body I held when it was cold, and a soul and a spirit whom I shared the love of Christ with.

I had finished the circle.  I felt pure again.

Jeni made me feel dirty.

Syndi let me keep her warm.

Jeni said that she loved me.

Syndi said that I was the most committed person to the lord she has ever met.

I feel like me again.

Thank you Syndi.

Thank you Lord.

Thank you for your waterfall.

April 10, 1994 – Sunday – 7:30 p.m.

Henry made pancakes before church and Jonathan drove us all in. I brought my camera with me this morning. Marcus and I sang in Praise and Worship then went straight back into Faith Street to get into our mime character makeup.

Faith Street went great. I like it a lot better than the old way of Children’s Church. I kept my makeup on afterwards during the Steer Wrestlin’ and stayed in character. Tenielle said I had too much pride and ego for doing so.

I hope this is just her time of the month and that she is not really mad at me for such a stupid reason.

I broke character later and started talking again. All the kids kept saying, “I thought you couldn’t talk.”

Veronica and Sherry were there this morning. It was great to see them coming back.

In Faith Street, there was this new girl. Today was her first time. After the service, she and her little brother couldn’t find their mother. I helped them. She held onto my shirt while we walked around looking for her. We found her later on. This girl is 12. I only know that because in Faith Street we played a game based on ages. She actually too old for Faith Street, but she didn’t know that.

I ate up at Jonathan’s car with him. Jenna walked by and I asked about the letter and the story. She said she liked it. Then she smiled real big and stared at me. I didn’t look away, I just returned the stare, deep into her eyes. And she did what she does so well. She told me something with her eyes. She’s knows there more to that story than just a bird and a human boy.

After that I walked to get some more dessert and the 12-year-old girl came up to me and gave me a cookie. I thought nothing of it and walked on. Sherry pulled me over and said that a girl named Dusty liked me. I don’t even know a Dusty, so I figured she meant Misty, which everyone knows likes me.

I walked into the church, got my dessert and went outside and sat next to Tenielle. She didn’t say much. I had an extra cupcake and I offered it to her. She said, “No, you got it, so you have to eat it.”

I shrugged and then put it close to my mouth, but then she just took the whole thing and stuffed it in my face. It stuck to all my white mime makeup. She laughed. I was kind of mad, but it was good to see her laugh. I washed it off and got another cupcake to return the favor. She saw me and then came up to me and grabbed my arms. She was smiling, saying, “Oh, no you don’t!”

She gave me a hug and walked off. That was the last I saw of her. I didn’t see her talk to Kevin any today, but Kevin was talking to Amanda all day.

Then the 12-year-old came up to me and said, “Did you have cupcake on your face?” I said, “yes,” and then she wanted to know who did it. Tenielle wasn’t around to point out. Then this little girl asked my name. I told her. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Dusty.”

Yep, I was right.

Then another girl showed up and tried to get us together. What the heck? I gave her the whole, “I’m going off to college, let’s just be friends” speech. We talked a little more.

She cute, but she told Shurby’s daughter that I asked her for her phone number. She lied. Then another girl came up and put a napkin in my pocket. Her phone number was on the napkin.

I was going to take some pictures and I gave her the attention she wanted by asking her to be in the group photo. She said goodbye to me and I said goodbye to her. I don’t like her, but perhaps I can show her that friendly love and save the world all over again.

That’s what I’m here for anyway, right?

I finished up the roll of film today. I’ll hopefully get them developed by the end of the week.

Henry and Mom took Kevin back to college and Cheryl came up to Marcus and Jonathan and I and said that she and Ryan were going to San Lee Park if we wanted to go. Ryan was actually just waiting in the car. She didn’t get out. It was weird.

So, we went and walked around and had a water fight.

Ryan is not as beautiful to me as she used to be. It’s almost like what made her beautiful was to watch her express her faith in church, but now that I don’t see that anymore, there is nothing there that I’m attracted to. I don’t notice her eyes anymore. They don’t even look like that magical green that used to entrance me.

While we were at the park, Joel drove up and we talked some. They were going out on the paddleboats.

Joel is really nice and serious, he doesn’t joke around. I like that. I’m sick of all the child’s play. I’m really ready to grow up and get serious.

Cheryl and Ryan went home and so did we. I took a shower when I came home and began writing.

So there it is.

The weekend was different.

I hope Tenielle is okay.

So here I am. I must leave them where they are. I must let them grow.

I can’t stay here much longer.

I’m not supposed to.

I’m letting go of things whether I want to or not.

You saw what happened this weekend.

Christi, Ryan, Tenielle, Jenna, they are all birds just passing by. And they will. They will pass by.

Ryan turned from the sun to a bird way off in the distance. So far away, I can’t see her.

Christi? It was nice to hear you laugh during the movie.

Jenna, the meaning of that story is the plot that has come and gone between us.

Tenielle, hopefully this will just happen every 28 days. There aren’t that many of those until the middle of August.

I can’t go on like this.

This is not what I want.

I want romance, not puppy love.

I want commitment and understanding and conversation and maturity. These things can’t be found here. I’ll drink that glass of milk somewhere else.

Where? I don’t know.

It will be somewhere though. Perhaps it will be when I start all over. When I start all over in a place with new street names and different parks. A place with different people. New people.

A place soon to be my home.

A place to begin my journey towards where I must go.

A place where I can save the world.

A land hopefully flowing with milk.

Lees-McRae.

August 8, 1993 – Sunday – 2:38 p.m.

This past weekend taught me something, but I’m not really sure what that is yet.  Hopefully, this entry will help me realize it.

Saturday morning we got up at 4:30 a.m. and left for Virginia.  I slept practically all the way up there.  Just knowing I wasn’t near home felt good and I slept with the greatest peace.

The next thing I know, we are pulling into Grandpa’s driveway.  I got my stuff and went inside.

There was my dad!  My dad!  Not Henry, but MY DAD!

I hugged him.  It was so good to see him.

He had to go into work at noon.  He has a small job at a golf course.  I went with him and helped him drive the golf carts from the garage to the clubhouse and back and wash them.

The people there called me, “Little Brian.”  Brian is my dad’s name, in case you didn’t figure that out.

I had fun and at 2:30 my dad drove me over to the movie theater.  I saw Sleepless in Seattle.  But, before the movie started, I was sitting in the theater listening to the classical music that was playing over the speakers.

And guess what song came on?

Canon in D.

That’s right.  The first note struck me like a sword.  It is still my favorite song.

Remember back in March when I wrote the following back in my first Book of Days:

I went to court this morning.  It was embarrassing.  I was a bit nervous.  I, for the second time, heard my heart beat like a knock on a door.  I felt it beating throughout my whole body, down in my toes.  The first time I remember that happening was back in the days when I liked Ryan.  I was on the railroad tracks and I was listening to “Canon in D.”  I had a Walkman.  I was thinking of Ryan.  I don’t remember that ever happening with Veronica.

Once the song began, Ryan immediately came into my mind.  I saw her face and I wished she was sitting next to me.

It didn’t come true.

Then I thought of another girl.

Christi.

Again I wished, and again it didn’t come true.  Those two girls floated through my mind as the song continued to play.  I thought about the things we shared in the past and the things we joke about now.

I thought I was over Ryan.  Now I don’t know.

But then another girl surprising came back into the picture.

Veronica.

I remembered the night we went to see Aladdin.  I held her hand.  She laid her head on my shoulder.

I miss her.  But I don’t want her back.

I wish I could find someone to be that close to again.

Suddenly my mind was flooded with every girl I had ever liked.  Ryan, Christi, Veronica, Lisa, Anita, Emily, the blonde haired girl in second grade, Andrea… but mainly Ryan and Christi.

Then BANG!  The previews started and the song was cut off.  It didn’t finish.  The Canon wasn’t over.

There was still more to go.

More music.

And then I realized the music was the girls.  Canon in D was cut off at now and there was more music to come.  I just couldn’t hear it.  Not yet anyway.

My Canon isn’t finished yet.

But deep down, I’m hoping the final note is the same as the first note, or even the second note.