October 28, 1993 – Thursday – 6:12 p.m.

Something happened yesterday.  You’re probably thinking something happened at church.  Well, you’re wrong, this happened at school.

On March 5, 1993, a Friday, I wrote something in my first Book of Days about a woman named Mrs. Nance.  She was my chemistry teacher then.  I would not have given her that letting, sharing the gospel with her, if I did not know she was dying of cancer.  No one ever knew if she was a Christian or not.  We all just knew she was a firm believer in evolution and not creation.  She’s had cancer for a long time and during my junior year she would be out for weeks at a time.  I liked it when that happened because we didn’t actually have to do chemistry when the substitute teacher was there.  I hated chemistry with a passion; it was so confusing.

Mrs. Nance often talked about dying.  She talked about how much money and pain it was costing her just to stay alive a little longer.  Once day a student asked her if she considered quitting and not spending the money to pay for all the chemotherapy and just let it all go.

She said, “No, I will do whatever it takes to stay here as long as I can.  I’m not ready to go yet and I will stay with my husband and my song as long as I can.”

Two weeks ago, Mrs. Nance left school.  The doctor had given her two weeks left to live.  She looked so pitiful; her skin was yellow.

We got word yesterday that she passed away.

Mrs. Nance is dead.

In Spanish, Mr. Benton read this poem:

Sunset and evening star,
      And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
      When I put out to sea,
   But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
      Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
      Turns again home.
   Twilight and evening bell,
      And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
      When I embark;
   For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
      The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
      When I have crost the bar.
I fear this poem has a meaning I haven’t entirely grasped yet, but as I get closer to the lighthouse, I know I will.

September 21, 1993 – Tuesday – 8:40 p.m.

Let’s continue.

So, I fell asleep.  It was a good sleep, but then… Boom!  I heard a horrible noise and looked up and saw nothing but grass and a 55mph Speed Limit sign.  I tried to get control of the car and swerve back on the road.  I slowly put on the brakes and Marcus was just screaming my name.

The back wheel caught something or maybe an angel pushed the car, I don’t know, but it turned toward the road and sped across the highway toward the medium.  My front end jammed into the ditch at about 50 miles an hour.  The whole car fish-tailed around, turning 180 degrees and we stopped, facing the road we had just flew off.

I moaned.  I couldn’t move.  My entire body was in pain.

Turns out Marcus had fallen asleep too and neither one of us was thinking straight.  We tried to put the car in reverse and push it out.  We didn’t know he had two flat tires.

We waved some cars down and they called the ambulance.  Marcus hit his eye and his head was aching badly.  We went to the hospital in Sanford.  They checked us over pretty well.  Nothing major, but Marcus got a black eye and his sinuses are all messed up.

The car, on the other hand, may be totaled.  We won’t know until tomorrow.  My parents just got finished paying it off.  Henry bought it as a brand new car four years ago.  It is the only non-used car he has ever purchased.  He drove it everywhere and even said it was like a second home to him.  Last week my parents switched the insurance around so I could drive Henry’s car; it made their payment a little cheaper.  A week after I start driving his car, I wreck it.  Marcus has been out of school for two days because of his injury.

Needless to say, Henry is upset.  He won’t say it with his mouth but his actions toward me portray it.  It’s like he views me as something that gives him gray hair and makes him spend more money.

Mom on the other hand says the usual, “I’m just glad you are alive.  We could be buying a casket instead of a new car.”

I said, “Well, at least I would be free.”

This world is messed up.  Everything is done the wrong way.  Some people even do love the wrong way.  They fall in love with how a girl is and not who the girl is.  I might wreck a car and I might mess up my parent’s pocketbook, but I’m not going to mess up love.  I’m not going have a wrecked marriage like both Mom and Henry’s first marriage.

You know, something could have gone terribly wrong and I might not be writing this entry tonight.  Instead my Book of Days could have ended with me praying for God to do a work in me and then, BOOM!, it is over.  My journey would be complete.  My dream would come true.  I’d be with my Jesus.

But it didn’t and I’m still here.

I’m still alive.

Alive to write.  Alive to dream.  Alive to think about Ryan.  Alive to experience more pain and more misery.  Alive to grow.  Alive to learn.  Alive to wonder.  Alive to love.

Thank you Lord for letting me live.  I want so bad to be with you, but I know there is still more for me to do on this earth before I am truly free.

I want to live Lord.

I want to do your will.

I love you Jesus.

September 8, 1993 – Wednesday – 4:35 p.m.

Marcus’s brother told me today that in Greensboro a seven-year-old boy went into a public bathroom while his mom waited outside.  Some men in the bathroom attacked the little boy and cut off his penis and flushed it down the toilet.  The boy bled to death and died.

Did you hear what I just said?  I don’t understand.  What is out there in the world?  My parents have shielded me from the world for so long.  Christians are there in the world, but the wicked are out there too.  One day I must leave my home and go out into the world.

What an insane idea.  Who out there will love me?

But I must go; my destiny and my fate pull me there like a magnet.  The world is dark and terribly wild.  There are people out there who would kill a little child.

I miss the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.  I’m not sure why it isn’t on any more.  It always made me think about what is out there in the world.  I’ve experienced so little.  Months ago, when I stood on top of Pilot Mountain, I saw so much and I saw so far, but I still saw so little.

I used to live in Germany as a kid, but I hardly remember anything about it.  This world is so large, and I wish to see it all.  There is so much out there.

So many souls.

So many lives.

So many stories.

We must discover the world for ourself.

August 31, 1993 – Tuesday – 9:18 p.m.

Things are okay, I guess.

Saturday night was great spiritually; we prayed so hard.  But it was hard emotionally;  Ryan and I only looked at each other once.

I didn’t ask her out on Saturday; I was just trying to help her out.

Things were tense Sunday morning too.  But we got over it and the youth group went to Mr. Gatti’s after church.  We had a great time.  Everything is back to normal.

Sunday night Marcus asked me what I would do if Ryan came up to me and said, “Would you go with me?”

I told him, “I would say no.”

Then I thought about it and I did tell the truth.  I would say no.  I just want to be her friend but I’m still trying to get the beautiful girl out of my mind.

Speaking of beautiful girls, I got a letter from Emily again the other day.  She gave me her phone number and said she wanted to get to know me a lot more and if she ever gets a car, she said she is going to come visit me.

I’ve tried to call her four times, but she hasn’t been home any of those times.

School has been pretty good the past two days.  I about fell asleep in World Geography this morning.

I did have to work Friday, but I got off work so I could go to Amy’s Birthday party.  Mike is going with me.

I get a haircut tomorrow.  And September is beginning again.  Then October will be here.  Then November 14th.  And My Book of Days will have covered one year of my life.

I used to think that a year was a long time.

I was wrong.

I now know a year is a very short amount of time.  Too short.

Where suddenly have I gone?

August 28, 1993 – Saturday – 1:21 p.m.

Much is on my mind.

We arrived on time for singing practice and Christi was the only one there, besides the band of course.

Afterwards, Marcus said he was going to go to Scott’s so I decided to go on home.  I had planned on going directly home, nowhere else, but then I saw Kevin’s McDonald’s shirt in the car.  I was supposed to take it back yesterday, but the battery was dead.  So, I went to take it back, but the office was closed.  As I was leaving, getting ready to go back home, I heard a voice in my head.  It was Sherry’s voice.

I remember something she said to me about two weeks ago, “Ever since you broke up with Veronica, you never come see us anymore.”

So, I thought I had enough time to stop by and give them a visit.

They were all eating grits in their underwear and nightgowns.  We talked some and I told some jokes.  Then I remembered that Amy and I were supposed to practice a skit for Children’s Church.  So, I gave her a call from Veronica’s house to see what was up.

Ryan answered.

“Hi Ryan, this is Jacob.”


“Can I talk to Amy?”

“Sure, but hold on, can I ask you a question?”


“Do we have skit practice today?” she asked.

Then I went onto explain to her why we didn’t and I then asked her why she wasn’t at the church this morning.  She told me she went to bed late last night and was too tired.

Now earlier this morning, I told Christi about Les Miserables coming to Raleigh.  She said she already knew and that her drama class was going.

Ryan is in that same group, so I asked her if she was going.  She said she didn’t know about it.  I said I was going with Nana and her friend, and that Henry said I could drive.  She said she would love to go, but she didn’t have the money.

Okay, so now I was in a situation.  I don’t have enough money to pay for two tickets, but I figured I could get it.  I knew that if I offered to pay her way that she wouldn’t accept, because that’s just who she is.

Despite this knowledge, I told her I would buy her a ticket.

She said, “No Jacob, you’re not doing that…” before I even finished my sentence.

“Well, you said you wanted to go.”

“I’m not going if you buy me a ticket.”

“I guess I won’t buy you one then.”

“I’ll try to get the money.” She said.

“Alright.  We’ll see.”

She asked the prices again and then we said goodbye.

Man oh man oh man.

I’m home now and I’m tired.

August 15, 1993 – Sunday – 10:36 p.m.

The day went absolutely great!!

I couldn’t ask for more.

This morning I got ready for church pretty early so that I could go to Sunday school.  Kevin was up but he was playing Nintendo in his underwear for a long time.  He didn’t get ready.

Sunday school starts at 9:30 a.m.  At 9:35 I went in there and asked him if he was going to church.

“Of course!” he said.

“Well you need to get ready then,” I said.

“I’m playing this right now.”

“If you don’t get ready then I’ll leave you.”

“You leave me on my last Sunday and see what happens!”

“You better get up!

“I am up!”

“Then get ready!”

“Yeah, Henry, sure.”

Of course, he was making fun of me by calling me Henry.

Well, I went back in my room and seven minutes passed.  He was still playing Nintendo. I wanted to leave so bad, but I didn’t have the guts.  Then Marcus suggested we should just go to his house, pick up some of his clothes, and then come back to get Kevin.

So we did, but after that I was driving by the house and getting ready to turn in, but I didn’t, I just drove on.

“Marcus, I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I meant what I said.”

So, I left him at home and went to church.  I felt free!

Children’s church was fun.  Afterwards, I was talking to Ryan, then Shirley, Veronica’s mother, came up and gave me a hug and said, “Happy Birthday boy!”

I said, “Happy Birthday to you, too!” since her birthday is tomorrow.

Then, to Anne who was standing right next to us, she said, “I hear your honey is coming down next weekend.”

I thought she was talking to me and I said, “My honey?”

“No, Anne’s, you’re talking to your honey.”

Agh!  Ryan was, of course, the person I was talking to and I felt my face turn bright red.  Ryan blushed as well and Shirley just laughed, then she hugged Ryan and said, “I’m sorry!” in such a sarcastic tone.

But secretly, I was glad she had said it.

Later at the park, I was standing in line for the food with Anne, Amy, Cheryl and Ryan (Christi is still in New York).  Shirley came up and I gave her one of those looks.  She gave me the look back and said, “Jacob, could you go away so I can talk to these ladies?”

Oh boy.  I left.

She told me later what she had said.  She wanted to tell Ryan she was sorry if she embarrassed her earlier.  And she told her, “Jacob just thinks you’re a really neat person.”

Ryan said, “Me?”

“Yes Ryan, you!” she said.

The day continued and we all had a water gun fight.  I got Scott so good.

I was down near where they were playing softball and I saw Anne’s car leave the parking lot.  I immediately felt vacant or lost.  I later found out that Ryan had left with her.  I missed her, even when I wasn’t sure she was gone.

Sherry keeps telling me that Ryan and I are the perfect match.  We look alike, we act alike, we both laugh a lot, etc., etc.

Hmm.  Little Sherry.  Please God, take care of her.

After we left the park, Marcus and I went to High Falls to attend Lisa’s youth group.  It was great and afterwards Kenny and Marcus and I left for my house.

We were going to get some pizza, but we decided to stop to see if Kevin wanted to go.  He did, but boy was he mad at me.  He promised me a pounding when we got home.

At Pizza Hut, the three of them did the craziest things, I can’t even explain it all.  I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard before.  All that laughing made Kevin forget about the pounding he had promised.

We came home and he went to his room and I went to mine and that brings me to where I am now.

11:25 p.m.

The weekend is over.  I have one more weekend until school starts.  I prayed that the summer of ’93 would be some of the best days of my life.  And they have been.  Thank you, Jesus.

I wish I could live them over.  Wouldn’t that be something?  To live this whole summer again.

To go back to June 8th, after Kevin’s graduation, and relive everything:

Seeing Jurassic Park at Midnight with my dad, watching Christi read Jonathan’s secret admirer letter, hiking 13.7 miles in the Smoky Mountains, going to Greenville, SC with Tim, playing cards with beautiful Emily at Deep Creek, seeing Last Action Hero with Jonathan, doing scavenger hunts with Christi and Ryan, starting the singing ensemble, talking to Misty for five hours about her potential suicide, watching the fireworks, writing in my novel Challenger’s Deep, going to see 42nd Street, realizing I sort of liked Christi, all our youth group swimming parties, walking in the dark on Ore Hill, putting up with Henry’s crap, realizing I wasn’t over Ryan, visiting my old playground, helping my dad out at the golf course, hearing the unfinished Canon, watching Sleepless in Seattle, watching Ryan and Amy when they were so young, going to the wedding, leaving Kevin at home, and laughing so hard at Pizza Hut.

Would I go back and live all of that over again?

Would I really?  I know I would.  I would do it in a heartbeat!  If only to really appreciate the endless amounts of joy this summer contained for me.

I know that some more “best days of my life” are coming up, but these were special and I have one more week of them.

The reason these days have been so great is because my Lord and my God gave me the peace of mind and heart to simply enjoy them.

Thanks for them Lord.  I will cherish them always.

August 14, 1993 – Saturday – 11:57 p.m.

Boy, am I tired.

Everything went pretty much like I had planned today.  It was nice.

Singing practice was cancelled because the church had to get ready for the wedding.

It was great, really beautiful.  They even played Canon in D.  But it finished this time and only one person was on my mind.  All the notes seemed like the first one.

They had a lot of wonderful food there and I ate all I could.

At youth group, we just had a bit of a cookout for Kevin and Anne since they were leaving for college soon.

In a week, my brother will be gone.  Out of the house.

After the wedding, I went with Jonathan and we rode around.  He had to do a few things around town.  He even stopped by Kate’s and caught her with another guy.  Jonathan was P.O.ed.  That situation still isn’t any better.

Before, only Marcus and I had planned on going to the zoo, but now the whole youth group is going with us on Wednesday.

Ryan has never been, she’s looking forward to it.

August 13, 1993 – Friday – 11:32 p.m.

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.”

My plans just went a little awry.  I’m sure it being Friday the 13th had nothing to do with it.

I mowed the grass all day yesterday and Danny and I, plus Mike, went to see The Fugitive.  It was great.

Onto today.  First of all, it rained all day.  That meant that we couldn’t go swimming.  Then around 10 o’clock this morning, Ryan called and said that Cheryl couldn’t come so it was up to me if we still wanted to do it.  I said yes, but that we should meet later on at 1 o’clock.

Nate and I went. Ryan and Amy were the only ones there along with David.  Nathan and David played while we talked about stuff and then we watched some old home videos from about five years ago.

Ryan was ten and Amy was around 8.  They were so adorable.  Their little selves just dancing around.  Ryan looked so cute.  Together they did childish little things in front of the camera that were so sweet and funny.  Those images have been running through my mind all day.

About 30 minutes later, Kevin calls from Mickey Dees and says he is ready to go.


So, I left with Nate and picked him up and headed home.  I wrote a little bit before work that night.  Ruth helped me a lot on the fries, but not as much as I thought she would.  Tina was there.  She’s fine and driving to college in Greensboro in a new car everyday, so she must be doing okay.

The day didn’t go as planned, but I saw Ryan, even if it was only for 30 minutes.  That was enough, and that is all that matters.

The last time I was actually inside her house was back on Feb. 20th, 1993.  She was going with Andy then and I was going with Veronica.

Almost six months have passed.

Six months.

That’s how long Marius went without even seeing “his Ursula.”

Things always change.

What will Ryan mean to me in six months?

What about six years?

Will she be a person very close and important to me or will she simply be a beautiful girl I had a crush on while I was a teenager?

Whatever happens, she is so much more than that to me now.

August 12, 1993 – Thursday – 7:30 a.m.

In this entry I’ll just write down what I have planned for the next four days and we’ll see if everything went as planned.

Today, I plan on mowing the whole yard.  Then tonight I’ll call Danny and see if we can go to a movie.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Ryan’s house at 11:00 a.m. to rehearse for Children’s Church.  Once we are done, we’ll go to Anne and Cheryl’s to swim in their pool.  Then I work that night.

Saturday, I have singing practice in the morning and at 2:00 p.m. is Michelle’s wedding. Skit and Youth Group is at 6:00 p.m.

Sunday morning is church, of course, and then we are going to have a church fellowship at Kiwanis Park in the afternoon.  No church that night.

At some point next week, I plan on going to the zoo, but I don’t know how that will work out.

The 21st is the senior swimming party and that is also when Kevin and Danny leave for college.

The 17th is my birthday!

School starts on the 23rd.

My summer ends in 12 days!!

We’ll see how it goes and what I make of it.

August 11, 1993 – Wednesday – 12:04 p.m.

I just got off the phone with Jonathan.  He still goes with Vicky, but he and Kate still see each other.

I asked him if he had to choose, who would it be.  He couldn’t answer.

He just doesn’t see it.  He doesn’t see how he is missing out.  He is so mixed up in sex and who he is really in love with, if he is in love at all, that he misses out on the girl herself.

I knew this was going to happen.  I know Jonathan.  I know him more than he thinks I know him.  He is a con artist.  He is out there for himself.

But slowly, he is changing.  He is maturing and realizing that there is more to life than serving himself.

I saw all of this coming long before he did.  And it is now time for me to admit that when he and Christi liked each other in October of ’92 that I didn’t accidentally ruin it for them.  No, I did it on purpose.  I knew that Christi didn’t know what she was getting herself wrapped up in.

I cared about her a lot, I have known her a long time.  She was practically my sister.  And Jonathan would have to answer to me if I didn’t ruin it for them and he ended up hurting her.

I remember back in November when Christi and I were talking about being in love and past relationships.  After that conversation I remember whispering to myself, “Christi, Christi, you and I are so busy looking for something in other people, that we don’t even see it in each other.”