April 26, 2012
I found it. I’m still not sure I believe it.
A Tuesday morning does not seem to be a fitting setting for a life-altering event, but maybe in the end all I will have learned was to believe in the power of Tuesdays. I began my day, as I had each Tuesday over the past year, with the soothing sounds of Michael Bublé nudging me awake from the alarm on my phone. (He seems like a happy guy and I think it’s important to start each day with the right attitude.)
I soared through my morning routine on autopilot and headed out the door just as my craving for Starbucks began to kick in.
Wait… None of this is important. Skip ahead to the main event.
As I sat down on the subway, I felt my heel hit something. Experience had taught me to never grab blindly at things under seats on the subway so I bent down to first see what it was.
Someone had left a book. Soft leather was not what I expected to feel as I pulled it out. The word “Journal” was branded on the cover in scripted letters. Straps of leather wrapped around the book and ended in a simple knot, keeping it’s pages protected.
This is when I began my mental debate, so that when I did what I knew I would eventually do, I would not feel as bad about it.
“Yep. I wonder who’s it is?”
“No way of knowing.”
“Well… there’s one way of knowing…”
“A journal is private! I am not gonna look through someone else’s deepest thoughts and feelings.”
“Then there is no way they will ever get it back.”
“I could just leave it where I found it…”
“Ha! Good luck with that! Some crazy person will probably use it for toilet paper!”
“Oh… I guess the only way to get it back to its owner is to open it.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
Once I had convinced myself that opening the journal was the honorable thing to do, (I always win debates with myself) I began untying the straps to look for information that might help me find it’s owner.
The first entry started on January 1st. There was no name, but as I read my hands began to shake.
This was my journal. The only problem with that was that I had never written a journal.
Sloppy handwriting filled each page with all of my unmistakable idiosyncrasies. Each day contained things that no one could ever know. How I felt. Thoughts that flashed through my head. My philosophy on the existential arguments presented through the hilarity of Calvin and Hobbes.
I leafed through the days until I found today.
“Dear Diary, I found it. I’m still not sure I bel…”
I slammed the book shut with a small squeak, then quickly reminded myself to omit that fact if I ever wrote about this in a journal. After a few deep breaths I opened it back up and found the entry again. I skimmed over the first half and saw that the book slam was there along with the squeak that accompanied it. (Crap!)
Dealing with my feelings has never been my strong suit, so I was more than relieved when we reached my stop. Work would be the perfect distraction from all this non-sense. I closed the journal and tied it up the way I had found it, before getting off and heading to my office.
The journal sat in the darkness of one of my drawers while I wrestled with questions.
“Who could have done this?”
“No one. It’s impossible.”
“What could have done this? Aliens?”
“You’re an idiot.”
“How could someone write about my life every day for a year?”
“A year? It’s only April… Holy crap!”
I pulled opened the drawer and faced something that might be altogether different than what I had originally thought. I pulled the journal out, and after untying it, found the last entry.
“December 31, 2012
It has been a crazy year! Ever since I found…”
Flipping through the pages, I found entries for every date in 2012.
With surprising calm, I closed the book, tied it shut, and returned it to the cave of forgetfulness.
Thoughts of my journal (Did I just say my journal?!) pulled at me like a dog on a leash throughout the day. Even with that distraction, I managed to keep my emotions in check until the ride home. Sitting in silence, anxiety began building in me and I knew I could not hold back the flood that was threatening to overwhelm me much longer.
The familiarity of home helped sooth my nerves a bit. I sat at my kitchen table with journal in front of me. I could not force myself to open it. Each time I had done so, I was assaulted with more questions.
“What if I read tomorrow’s entry and it comes true? What if I read a week from now and try to change it? What if I erase the… No. It’s written in ink. What if I destroy it? What would I be losing? How many have ever had this chance? But why? What am I supposed to do with it?”
I sat there for hours as the clock slowly edged towards midnight. I never ate dinner. My stomach never even made a sound. It was as if that something more important was being dealt with and it respected that.
I looked up and was surprised to see the clock read 11:59. And that’s when it hit me. I knew what I would do. Seconds before midnight I laughed out loud and took hold of the journal.
Copyright © 2011 Adam Drake