2004-06-30 - 1:54 p.m.
I was seventeen and I had just handed off the big blue binder; a Five-Star ruggedly equipted three ring that had housed my private thoughts for nearly ten years.
I found hers, laying at her futon-side in her bedroom, during her birthday party. Regretably, though understandably, she had thrown a pool party for her summer-time annual. The pool out behind her house was fully tricked out with a slide and a seemingly unnecessary string of bouys marking out a lap lane. Who amongst her family had insisted on a private area of the pool for morning practice, I do not know, but they’d won the battle and factioned off a good third of the water.
While the rest her friends frolicked about, I stood by the wayside, using the excuse of playing DJ to avoid doffing my t-shirt and out-of-place long baggy pants. The adults all seemed intent on upending my anti-social tendencies, but I was not to be moved. No one needed to see my pale to point of reflective skin, or my squibby little nipples.
Unwilling to accept such logic, the pestering eventually drove me into the house, where I found refuge in her bedroom, with a book I’d brought along for just such an occation. While I was flipping pages, I noticed it.
Hers was a fully bound notebook, with decorative cover, and the kind of pages purposely left rough on the edges to give it a rugged raw appeal. Not knowing what it was, I flipped open to a random page, and then slammed it closed after seeing the tell-tale date and entry format with emotional all caps sentences. I quickly planted it back in its little home, feeling all the more embarrassed as I felt the eyes of her pet ferret staring me down.
I tried to keep reading my book, but the temptation was there. A wealth of secrets and direct insights into her…a direct dispatch from her mind a soul; it was sitting right there beside me. Before my fingers got too twitchy she came in and found me reading. My guess is one of her aunts asked her to check in on the sad strange little boy who was apparently afraid of either water or bouys. (The way they bob, it just not natural.)
“What are you doing up here?”
“Just reading. Not a big fan of the sun.”
“You don’t want to get a tan?”
“I don’t so much tan as stroke.” This was a Woody Allen line, but I didn’t have much confidence in my own at the time, and this one seemed so appropriate. “Is that your journal?”
“I didn’t know you kept one.”
“Maybe we should…trade some time…”
This idea was greeted with the exuberance and excitement of an all yukilele band taking the stage for Senior Prom. She stared at me as if I’d just asked to suckle at the teet of her earlobe.
“I have one too…since I was a kid.”
“Might be interesting, to read…but you know, have to make a fair trade of it.”
She paused for a moment, looking at the silver moon on the front cover of her journal. I may have been wrong, but something told me she wanted to snatch it off that end table and lock it somewhere deep and dank, possibly the basement, or possibly the basement in the Tower of London.
In a years time, I’d somehow convinced this quitessential girl-next-door – quietly gorgeous, and in possession of that strange ethereal quality that allows one to walk somewhere outside the bounds of reality we mere mortals are held to – I somehow tricked her into being my girlfriend.
I’d spent years pining and wooing, and wasn’t about to bring up the sensitive topic of her journal right off the bat, but with a few months cushioning, I brought the idea back up.
“I don’t know. That’s pretty personal.”
“Well, we’ve been pretty personal.”
“I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you mine, and then you see how you feel about it. I don’t mind.”
“No big deal.”
I never saw her journal. She never let me read it, or the others she kept. While the last decade of my life was kept in one barely full binder, she had almost sixteen books worth of life filling up the greater part of a foot locker. Still it wasn’t the size that mattered.
“It’s just a record. Like a time line.”
“It’s not even for you. It’s for someone else.”
“It’s for me. It’s for me when I go back and read it.”
“I just don’t understand.”
Neither did I.
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