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Running out of Pages and Sanity
I shouldn't be reading this book. I know it, but I'm unable to peel my eyes away from the text laid out before me. It's like watching a train wreck unfold in slow motion- I want to look away, but I just can't.
The stench of our garage- freshly mowed grass and gasoline- lingers on the burgundy leather cover, giving me a headache as I rapidly turn the thin pages. Each is packed with messy horizontal scrawl, dates, times run-on sentences and obsessive remarks. I skip and skim and feel my eyes widen as I slowly recline back onto my bed, holding the very personal piece of literature in front of prying eyes.
"Dear Diary, Today I..."
"You'll never believe what Kat..."
"Mrs. Lynn is so..."
"Jeremy asked me..."
"I think Micheal..."
I have no idea who's it is. I found it in the garage between those boxes of lava lamps and bell bottoms that mom still refuses to throw out, yellow and stained with old age. It was curiosity, pure and simple- can you honestly say you blame me for reading it? Sure I feel a bit guilty, a bit like I'm invading someone's real private life- but I don't know this person. I may never meet them. So why should I care, really?
Because it's a piece of a person, my mind shouts, exasperated. I'm exasperated with myself right now, to tell the truth, but I'm really too far gone to come back. Lost in somebody else's private world, one that I should have never even invaded in the first place. I know that.
The girl is in high school, that much is for certain. She writes explicitly about boys and her best friend Kat, who is constantly getting into all kinds of mischief; even though the mystery girl has said before that she “Heartily disapproves” of her (Kat's) “Out of control shenanigans” (That's right. Shenanigans. Exact quote there, folks) even though she is “Unwilling to give up the friendship” because “I'm extremely fond of Kat.”Yeesh.
Her first “quarrel” with Jeremy, a “swell” luncheon at the Mrs. Cooper's (Aside from that awful dress she had to wear!) Straight A's on her report card. Fighting with Kat for the “umpteenth” time. Blah. Pretty boring stuff, I guess, even though I'm not completely sure what I was expecting. One hundred pages of mundane diary material, and then...
And then this Jeremy dude proposes. No kidding. The page is littered with hearts and exclamation points and barely legible penmanship that I have to turn the book upside down to read.
I assume she said yes, but I'm not exactly sure- it ends there.
"I'm running out of pages and sanity, so I suppose I'll stop this right here."
There it is, ladies and gents- the last sentence. As I close the diary, I study the cover wearily and say a little apology. No clue to who it may have belonged too, though I suppose it doesn't really matter at this point. All the damage has been done.
Slowly and with all the enthusiasm of a sloth, I sidle off my bed and tuck the diary under my arm, tromping down the stairs (“Dinner in ten!” Mum yells) throwing open the garage door, I sift my way through old boxes and past dad's Buick, finding that little nostalgic alleyway between MOM'S OLD STUFF and BABY THINGS where the book was tucked. I take a moment to regard the cover, then reach my arm in to slip it back in the crevasse.
When I return to the house, pasta is simmering in the kitchen and mum is talking on the phone. I manage to catch a brief snippit from the conversation.
“Hey, Kat....yeah, I'm fine...just cooking is all (Laugh) yeah, yeah, true...okay, just a minute...” Mum cups her hand over the receiver and cranes her head to see into the living room “Jeremy! Kat says hello.” She yells to my father.
And really, that's all I need to hear.