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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April 8, 1998 – Wednesday – 9:41 p.m.

Tuesday afternoon Sarah and I had a nice conversation down by Elk River.  We are slowly saying our goodbyes.  We simply shared a few droplets of our different oceans together.

Ann-Marie and I did a scene together tonight in front of the entire Performing Arts Department.  It was a little comedic sex scene from Lysistrata, but with out actual sex of course.  Everyone stood up and applauded when it was over.  Kinda weird.  We did the scene in the studio and not on the stage, so everyone was sitting on the studio floor.  Other scenes have been done that way, but I’ve never seen anyone get a standing ovation in the studio before.

Sarah got a trip out of it.

Last night the most amazing thing happened.  Curtis and I went to visit Sharon for I needed to return all of the Christmas decorations she let me borrow.  We stayed over and talked with Sharon and Laura for about an hour.  Then, when it was time for little Hannah’s bedtime, she let me go up with her and tuck her in.  I sat by her side and prayed with her.  And said goodnight and kissed her on her forehead.  It was completely awesome and will easily be one of my most treasured memories from my senior year.  It reminded me that there is a larger and more important life of parenting that awaits me after college.

Thanks God!

February 24, 1998 – Thursday – 11:00 a.m.

Oh, so much has happened.  I guess I’ll try to tell these stories.

Marcus and Kevin came up, but Kevin spent all his time with Curtis and Vince.  Marcus and I talked about him.  His life has taken some amazing turns.  Marcus told me that my brother is no longer a virgin, that he lost his virginity to Kate, the same girl Jonathan first had sex with, and evidently Marcus first learned about this from Tenielle, who, if what Marcus says is true, might end up following her sister’s teen pregnancy path.  And, during all this, one of Kevin’s college friends killed himself.  Kevin wasn’t able to transfer to a college in Texas like he had planned, which, let’s face it, was just him trying to escape everything and start over.  He is in debt way over his head.  He has maxed out three credit cards and owes our mom, and Danny and Peter’s dad, about $4,000.

He did not love Kate.  She was nobody to him.  He made a mistake and gave away a precious gift.  And now it seems he hates himself for it, because he couldn’t face me all weekend.  I cried my eyes out over him because I know he has to feel terrible.

During the show on Sunday afternoon, I was pretty down.  Sarah wasn’t being very comforting to me, for she got upset about something and later that night cussed me out over the phone because I was dealing with my brother instead of helping to strike the set.  I was so upset about my friends and family back home falling apart and I took it out on her by questioning the quality of her personal relationship with the Lord.

She cried all day on Monday and eventually came over to tell me I have no right to judge her.  I felt terrible and cried in her arms.  But before that, since Sarah was ignoring me, the one person who did take the time to listen to me and be a good friend was Abigail.  She came over on Sunday night and held me as I poured my heart out to her.  She really helped me feel much better about everything.

I think things are better now, for Sarah and I made up last night.  We snuggled together for about three hours.  She held me so tight and there’s a way that I can kiss the back of her neck to make her whole body tremble.  Oh God, please be the Lord of our physical relationship.  I don’t want us to go too far.  Holy spirit, please help keep us in line.

Oh, what an emotional past few days.  It seems I’ll never stop learning.  I’ve complicated life and I didn’t need to.  But love has saved me.  I am nothing, but God has saved me nonetheless.  I understand nothing of how this world works.  I’m going to quit trying.  I’m going to remain stupid.  I just want to love the people around me until it’s time to go to heaven.

Oh Jesus, comfort me until then.

February 7, 1998 – Saturday – 6:10 p.m.

Oh man! The beginning hours of February 7, 1998 were so amazing.

Sarah and I began a phone conversation at one in the morning and we didn’t hang up until four o’clock.  We had the best time!  I told her things about me that not many people know.  I told her about two Florida girls, Syndi and my pen pal Emily.

I just read my May 8, 1995 entry, the one about Syndi and I under the waterfall, and because I was so young and so scared, I didn’t even reveal the full events of that evening to the pages of my journal.  That entry is missing a great deal.  Maybe it’s just retrospect, the me of now looking back on the me of then, that was needed for the truth of that night to be revealed to me.

Either way, early this morning, I told Sarah, my girlfriend, the story of Syndi and the story of why I broke up with Jeni.  The truth is I had begun to hate how physical my relationship with Jeni had become.  We never had sex, but I just felt like a dirty slimy dog of a pervert because I began to care more about where I could touch her with my hands than I did the quality of our conversations.

I then told Sarah how I had only known Syndi for two weeks prior to our May 7th, 1995 escapade and how wild it was for me to be around her because, well…because Syndi had (and I’m sure she still has) beautiful, large, firm, gravity-defying breasts that simply demanded male eye-contact.  It was wild to be with her because I was used to Jeni, who was relatively flat-chested.  So, for me to be lying under a blanket of stars, beneath a beautiful waterfall, next to the most well-endowed girl I had even known, who kept saying she was cold, well…I began to pray.  If I felt like a slimy dog with flat-chested Jeni, how would I be if I was holding the insanely curvy Syndi?  I feared I wouldn’t be able to control my hands or my whole self.

And, of course, I went on to tell Sarah about how after I offered to hold Syndi to keep her warm, she began talking about sex.  Now I left this part out of my 1995 entry, but Syndi talked for a while about sex with her ex-boyfriend, and then she eventually said with a whisper, “Jacob, are you going to wait until you are married to have sex?”

With her breasts against my chest, I said, half giving up and half begging for mercy, “Well, that’s the way I had planned it.”

And I don’t know how much time had passed.  It could have been a second.  It could have been a minute.  But eventually Syndi said, “Well, I guess we better go then.”

I have since concluded that God used that night, that beautiful girl, and that cleansing waterfall to purify me, and show me that I was not a slimy dirty dog, but a man who loved and respected women.

Sarah and I had a good laugh, mainly because I’m somewhat of a Christian leader on campus and not viewed as one who would talk so openly about my love of breasts to my own girlfriend.  When trying to explain the shape of Syndi’s body to Sarah, I said, “Well, let’s just say, she’s is closer to your neck of the woods.”  Sarah laughed forever.

It was then I told my girlfriend that I greatly enjoy her.  I love to look at her.  I love to hold her.  I think she has a beautiful body, an amazing face, and I find her very sexy and pleasing to look at.  Our physical relationship is not a very big one, but I enjoy it greatly.

She thanked me for telling her that.

We continued talking and she told me some of her stories.  I also gave her a brief summary of Emily and I and even read some of Emily’s old letters to her.

She then told me that for the first time in a relationship, she was not jealous of the other girls in her man’s life.  Then she started crying.  And she said it felt so good not to have that burden.

I told her she has no reason to be jealous of the girls of yesterday, for they have helped make me who I am today, the me that loves her.  I owe them so much for that.

Sarah is in the picture below; it was taken during a performance of the Christmas Concert.

Can you find her?  She is the beautiful one.

IMG_1821

January 22, 1998 – Thursday – 11:15 a.m.

My auditions were last night.  I had an amazing time.  So many talented girls came to audition, it was difficult to decide.

Also, Geana came and talked with me yesterday.  She is full of so many sad stories; she was raped when she was 17.  I talked and prayed with her.  She cried.  She is so focused on outer beauty and her body.  She condemns and insults herself all the time, and she uses sex to try and feel love.  My heart hurts for her.  Oh God, please visit with her and help her.

Lindy, Ann-Marie, and Abigail came to hang out with me yesterday evening and they stayed until one in the morning.  We had what we called a “tear party” for we all seemed pretty emotional, and God showed up in the sharing of our hearts.  Lindy shared about how she gave up her virginity in high school.  She said that guy now had something of hers that she could never get back.  She looked so sad, like she would do anything to remake that decision she made so long ago.  And because of that, she said she’s put up her guard and has been very careful about letting others love her.  She has done the same to God and I told her last night that she needs to let him love her to his fullest ability.  She cried.  I held her.  I cried.

I also spoke to them about how Geana said that all she wanted was to be sure that somebody loved her.  I shared that such a perspective confused me, for I now realize that God loves me way more that I will ever deserve, so I really have no right to ask for any more love from anyone.

Now for me to keep all of that love and not let it flow through me and give it away to others, that is the true tragedy.

I talked to Sarah from the time they left until 2:30 in the morning.  We had an amazing talk, she too shared so much with me.

I now think that there is nothing more difficult in life than being a girl.  And the thing that makes it most difficult for them are men, or boys, I guess I should say.

Sarah told me that she doesn’t think she’ll ever find anyone like me ever again.

Am I really that different?  Am I really that rare?  Are other guys my age spending most of their day talking with young women about the core of who they are?

I love you Lord!  Why are you so good to me?

January 17, 1998 – Saturday – 11:00 a.m.

Okay, never mind.  I wasn’t way off.

Yesterday, Friday the 16th, was a record-breaking day for five girls came to my room and talked to me about their romantic pursuits.

First was Geana.  We talked about sex because she and her boyfriend have sex.  She knows the Bible teaches against it, but she says with him it doesn’t feel like a sin.  She was in a car accident about five years ago where she suffered brain damage.  After that, she said her thinking changed and started doing things she would have never done before.  She seemed confused and admitted as much.  I told her that if the love was true, both would stop having sex, guard their hearts and bodies, and get married.  She seemed to see the logic in that.  She’s an interesting and weird girl.  After telling me all this stuff, she then took a nap on my sofa for an hour.

And while she was asleep, Sherlive called.  She called to talk to me about Vince for she is but another girl who is crazy about him.  I told her he was still confused about Laura and to just be his friend, but to also not be a stranger.

Then, Jessica came over and we talked about her and Allen.  They went on a midnight hike at the beginning of the semester and she now likes him and wanted to know if I knew how he felt about her.

The next girl was Emily, not my pen pal, but Emily from the theater department, who plays the prostitute I have the underwear scene with in Cuckoo’s Nest.  She wanted to talk about her confusing feelings towards Timothy and AJ.

And then the last girl to desire my company and advice was Sarah, my girl, and we got to talk about us.  Thursday night, over the phone, she told me that she had a present for me, “a special present,” she added.

“Well, I’m excited,” I said.

I saw her around lunch time and we smiled brightly at each other.  I called her while Geana was asleep only to find her crying.  She said she was an emotional wreck, but that she had to go to class.  I told her she was beautiful and that I loved her.

At dinner, she was still a little weird and I told her I would look her up after rehearsal.  After rehearsal Sarah, Mason, and Jessi went to rent a movie.  I watched it with them in Mason’s room with half the freshmen Performing Arts students, but Sarah never acknowledged I was there.

I was on duty and I got a call over the radio, so I left to deal with that and never returned.  I went to my room, put on Hymn by Jars of Clay, then put it on repeat, and began to read the Gospel of John.  While reading, a peace came over me.  I have been praying for a while now for God to teach me to love like he loves.  And I realized that he answered my prayer through Sarah.  He showed me how much it hurts when he loves those who do not even acknowledge or look at him.

When I got to the second chapter, there was a knock at my door.

Sarah came in.

She sat on the floor, by the sofa I was sitting on, and laid her head upon me.  I put my arm around her and ran my fingers through her hair.

She began to cry and she didn’t stop until she left, which was about an hour later.

My eyes shed no tears.

She eventually spoke.  “You see a beauty in me that I have yet to see.  I see how much you love and care for me and its the scariest thing I’ve ever known.”

“You ought to be me,” I smiled.

“I just don’t know what to do.”

“Do you want me to let you go?”

“Not completely.”

“I know not completely, but enough where we don’t have to pretend to play this little game?  I can’t stop loving you Sarah, but I can stop trying to show it.  And you know that I’m here if you ever need someone to hold you.”

She continued to cry.

“I’ve known you’ve felt this way for a long time,” I told her, “I just wanted to be come and tell me.”

“I didn’t want to hurt you.”

“You couldn’t hurt me.”

“I don’t want you to have to need me.”

“Sarah, I needed me to love you more than I ever needed you to love me.  What has happened between us is a beautiful thing.  God has told me to love you now, because we both will need it later on.  Please don’t feel guilty.”

We looked at each other for a while.

She broke the silence with, “It’s not like I don’t love you, I do, and you know I’ll always be here,” she placed her hand on my chest, “but I’m just not ready.”

More silence passed.

“I had a cross necklace that I wanted to give you, something that I’ve had for a while that has been very special to me, but it feel out of my pocket today and I lost it.”

The tears poured from her eyes.

“I’m sorry.” I said.

After a few eternal silent moments of unending eye-contact, she finally kissed me on my cheek and said, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”  I said.

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.