September 13, 1996 – Friday – 7:45 p.m.

September 12th passed by and I didn’t even realize it.

Four years ago.

My Winter Dream has melted away.

It is Friday night and I lie alone in my room. Curtis has gone to Atlanta.  Dan and Allen are out.  Vince is with Laura.

I’m listening to Les Miserables.

I tried to call Marcus.  No answer.  I tried to call Christi.  No answer.

Sharon called me earlier today.  She brought a smile to my face.

I went for a walk and found that a duck had fallen off the waterfall at Elk River.  It was dead.  I took a picture.

I think I’ll try to call Emily.

. . .

I just got off the phone with Emily.  She was blow drying her hair and getting ready to go to a football game.  We had a fun talk.  She made me smile.  I miss her.  She sounded so beautiful.

She turns 18 in November.  As does Laura.

I can’t believe I’m 20.

September 3, 1996 – Tuesday – 12:35 a.m.

The soccer game was fun on Sunday afternoon.  Our girls won!

We went to church that evening.  Jim is such a good speaker.  I wish he wasn’t leaving.  After the service, we all went to see Mission Impossible at the dollar theater.  It was us college guys and some of the youth group.  We ate at Mel’s Diner afterwards.  We got to talk to our waitress.  She is a Christian who is working in the ministry at App State.  She said she went to a charismatic church.  She described it and it sounded like home.  Her name is Kat.

Sunday night was such a fun evening.  Those kids are so funny.

Monday, Labor Day came, and we didn’t go to Deep Creek.  Instead, after lunch, all of us went to help put carpet in Melissa’s room at Eastern Tennessee State University.

It was enjoyable.  We walked around campus.  Laura and Vince seemed to walk close a lot.  We ate at Wendy’s then came back to school until Bible Study.

On the way back from the university, I rode with Sharon and Hannah in Bob’s old pickup truck.  Hannah fell asleep with her head in my lap.  I ran my fingers through her soft hair.  Sharon drove along.  Sweet conversation was made between us, but then silence and pure peacefulness.

And for a few brief moments, I found a peace deep inside me that I hadn’t discovered before.  I dreamed and it seemed as if it was my daughter’s head in my lap, and my wife was driving my pick up truck to our house.  I was so happy.  Everything from the past 20 years and sixteen days seemed to converge together so that those moments of peace would be possible.

A smile filled my face.

I did homework until Bible Study, but Vince stayed at their house to go running with Laura.  When I arrived, Vince answered the door with no shoes on.  He was just in his socks.  And I felt a stab in my heart.

Bible study was great.  Sharon is an amazing teacher.  There was a look in both Vince and Laura’s eye.  I could tell they had an enjoyable time together and that brought a smile to my face.

Vince came here a rugged individual of the world.  But he found the Lord and his life has turned around.  And for him to also get Laura would be an extra bonus.  His life would be complete happiness and I would feel as if I played a role in giving that to him.

Sharon baked cookies.  The house smelt like Christmas.  The evening weather is getting cooler.  Time is marching on.  Things are changing.  I am growing.

My story continues.

June 17, 1996 – Monday – 5:45 p.m.

Two months until my 20th birthday.  It’s hard to believe this year is already half over.

A few minutes ago, as Allen and I were walking back from the Cafeteria, a pair of blonde girls passed by us.  One looked at me and said “hey” as she smiled.  I didn’t know them, but that will stick with me for a while.

Last night was distressing after Sherry and Shannon got back.  They told me all about their adventurous weekend and about how drunk they got.  They used a lot of bad language and acted really immature.  I thought Sherry was turning around.  Perhaps she is, but it takes time.

I don’t want to grow up.

But I’m afraid I am.

A little over 42 years until Emily and I travel the world.

Winter Dreams.

February 7, 1995 – Tuesday – 8:00 p.m.

Tonight I have been trying to get in touch with some old friends.  The only people I talked to were Ryan and Amy.

I love them both.

Ryan says that she would like to go to Appalachian State University.  That would be awesome if she was there.

My Winter Dream would be so close to me.

She says she wants to come up and see me.  She has an uncle up here that works on Sugar Mountain.

Today I learned a valuable lesson.  What I tried to do on December 30, 1994 did not happen.  It could not happen and it will never happen.

My past is me.

Who I was then is who I am now.

And who I will be in the future will be the sum of me then and me now.

I will never forget.

I am unable to.

I know that sometimes in my Book of Days I contradict myself.  I think that one thing will last forever, but then soon I will not want it to last forever.

Not many things will stay constant.

Only one will.  Only my God.  He will never change.  He will always be there.

Things are changing though.

Look at Jason.  He was here, but not he is gone.

Jeni and I were forever, but now it is obvious to me that we are not.

At times I hear God telling me things.  But as I grow older, I’m beginning to understand the difference between his true voice and my own voice telling me things I want so badly that I falsely believe it’s God voice.

Jeni is in Boone now for some meeting.  Her mom made her a Valentine’s Day dress and she got it in the mail today.

I miss the way Jeni and I were, but I think it all goes back to what I said a long time ago.

Why have something special and romantic for a season, when you can be friends for a lifetime.

But is that reality?

The never-ending Canon in D.

Will it ever stop?

It may not, but it may, and I can say that I’m glad I do not know yet.

I don’t want to know.

There is no fun in knowing.

God, send me on an adventure; an adventure to do your will.  Fill it with excitement and please find joy in my smile, because it is you I am smiling at.

Only you.

Your love.

Your amazing greatness.

I don’t want to be here Lord if I can’t please you in the process.

I adore you Lord.

I want you more than anything and I need you more than anything.

You are what matters.

It’s your opinion I want to hear.

You know all the answers.

You are the greatest!

May 17, 1994 – Tuesday – 5:25 p.m.

It’s Tuesday.  There are 13 days of school left.

Tenielle and Jenna didn’t surprise me, but she called me once she got home.  So did Cheryl.  Everyone wanted to know where we were.

I went with Marcus to his concert Saturday and I met Kenny there.  I sat with him and afterwards we went to Sanford to go to church.  Jenna and Tenielle weren’t there that night.  After church Kenny and Marcus and I, along with Cheryl and Scott went to Golden Corral to eat.

Kenny and Scott had never met.  So, Kenny wanted to us to tell Scott that Kenny was a foreign exchange student from Sweden.  And for two hours, we had Scott going.  He believed everything Kenny said, and I mean everything and it was all made up on the spur of the moment.  We finally told Scott while we were taking Cheryl home and he felt so stupid.  It was like Mrs. Doubtfire.  I just hope Scott didn’t take it too personally.  He said he would never forget it, but that he would get us back.

I finished writing Tenielle’s letter yesterday.  It is about 16 pages long.

I can’t believe school is coming to an end.  Everyone is opening up more to each other.  Including me.

It feels like this year just started.

Speaking of a year, it has been exactly one year since I first read Winter Dreams by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Those things you want so deeply, but deep down you know you’ll never get them.

Ryan was my Winter Dream back then.

I have two now.  But I have them the way I want them:  as close friends.  But the Winter part is that I want them close forever.  I don’t want a day to go by without them.  But I know that will never truly be.

September 5, 1993 – Sunday – 1:30 p.m.

I just wept.  Yes, I cried.  Several tears ran down my face just two minutes ago.

I’m in the black chair that sits right in front of my stereo.  I’m listening to the “Piano Music” tape that Scott let me borrow.  I’m wearing a pair of blue jeans and purple shirt.  I guess while I’m getting super specific, I might as well add that my underwear brand is Fruit of the Loom.  I’m barefooted.

The lights were out two minutes ago, but they are on now.

Two minutes ago was the second time I cried tonight.  I cried about seven minutes before that.

Let the story of this night begin:

Marcus and I had a good conversation tonight in my room after we got back from church.  He told me about Angela, “a chapter,” as he refers to her.  He cares a great deal about her.  He gave me an in-depth summary of their past and their friendship.  They are not a couple, but he cares a great deal for her.  After an hour or so, he finished telling me everything he wanted to tell me.

It was my turn.

This is basically what I said:

“Shirley has often told me that Veronica was and is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  And she was right.  With my relationship with Veronica now, oh…I love it so much.  Both of us know how we used to feel for each other and knowing that, we joke around and laugh about the past, still knowing that it was special to each of us.  And sometimes now, I look at her and just thank God for her and how much she has shown me.  She still means a lot to me and she will always have a special place in my heart.”

Then I stopped.  I couldn’t say anything else.  After a minute, I spoke:

“Oh my gosh, Marcus.  I’m crying.  I’ve never cried over her before.  I’ve never cried over any girl before.”

Silence.

Tears rolled down my face, then I said, “Marcus, with my relationship with Veronica, I told her I loved her and it seemed fake and I didn’t like saying it.  Well, about two months ago something happened, and I wrote about it in my journal.”

So, I got my 2nd Book of Days and opened it up to June 28, 1993.  I didn’t read it straight out to him, that would be too embarrassing, but I basically told him what I wrote:

“It was a Monday night and I was at work.  I was working the counter and we didn’t have any customers.  It was quiet.  Then I sort of got a chill in my stomach and I wanted to say something.  But I never did say it.  I went home and was hungry, but I couldn’t eat.  I think I went for a walk, maybe not.  But something I wanted to happen so bad was happening.”

“Which was,” Marcus asked.

I was silent.  “But I never did say it Marcus, even to this day.  Because I’m afraid that it might be fake.  And when and if I ever do say it out loud for the first time, it is not going to be fake.”

“What were you going to say?” he asked.

“You know, and I’m not going to say it because then I’d be saying it.”

“That you love Ryan?”

I laughed.

“But I don’t.” I said.  “She is my Winter Dream.  I’ve always seen her as something I want so badly, but no matter how much I wish, deep down I know that my wish will never come true; Ryan and I will never become anything more than friends.  Which is not bad in and of itself.”

“Why don’t you say it?” Marcus asked.

“I’m afraid.  And I don’t want to admit it too myself because I never thought it would get this far.  I like her too much and I don’t want this to ruin our friendship.  I’m only 17!  I don’t know what love is.  I shouldn’t be able to know.”

“Is she the one, Jacob?”

I didn’t answer.

“Well?”

“I’m not going to say anything.”

“You need to answer the question Jacob.  I want to hear you tell me.”

“As I’ve said, I always thought of her as my Winter Dream, but the Lord has told me twice, once about a year ago and once again on August 27th, that the one for me is the girl I won’t be able to get out of my mind, no matter what.  And I’ll think about her more than I think about myself.”

“Then that’s Ryan!” Marcus said.

“But I’m only 17 Marcus!  I want it, but I don’t!”

“So, you mean down the road?!”

“Yes, but I don’t want to wish for it, because it might not come true.”

We said a little more then said our good nights.  I turned the lights off and sat down.  I pressed play on my stereo.  Piano music filled my room.

I thought of Ryan.

I thought of today in children’s church, when she asked me to help her with the puppet curtain and how we talked about the skit we did in church.  I thought of tonight, and how her green and yellow earring dangled from her left ear while she talked to Cheryl.  I thought of the way she smiled when Rebecca put ice down her shirt.

I thought of Ryan and then I felt a tear on my face.

Another one came and another.

They all poured down.

I was crying over her.

What does this mean?

I cried.

August 16, 1993 – Monday – 12:58 p.m.

I feel so bad.  I’m not really sure why.

I…  I don’t know, but I know that it must have something to do with Ryan.  I want so bad to get her out of my head, especially now, but I can’t.

Ugh.  Why not?  I’m lost.

I know she is my Winter Dream, but deep down, I somehow know that we will spend the rest of our lives together.  But that is impossible, right?  I know it won’t happen, but at the same time, I know it will.

I’m not making any sense, am I?  Why does this happen, why do I feel this way for her when I know that it will just hurt me in the long run?  Yet, knowing that doesn’t stop it.  It’s like I’m not in control.  I can’t remember ever feeling this way before.

It’s like my insides jumped on a roller coaster in my own stomach.  It actually feels pretty good.

But, I started this entry feeling bad?

If Ryan and I ever do become anything, which I hope not, because I know if we broke up, I wouldn’t get over it…I just need to try and forget about her.

But I don’t want to.

Will someone please tell me what is happening to me?  Please?  Maybe I should just stop writing in my journal.  Maybe that’s the problem.

Or maybe it’s happening?  What else could it be?  It has to be that.

I’m falling.  I hope it doesn’t break me.