Amateur writer. On the path of the phrase that says "practice makes perfect." Avid consumer of books that make me think, make me feel.
Reading the book was brilliant and heartbreaking at once. My mom was alive; I was taken away from her forcefully and my father was feeding me outrageous lies all these years. And Chloe, well, she wasn’t mentioned as my mother’s best friend at all. There’s nothing worse than the feeling you get once you realize someone has fooled you. And she had fooled me big time.
We got her to come to our place for lunch and it was as funny and enjoyable as any other time we were with her, except that my heart was hurting at the thought of her betrayal. Her eyes, that I once thought radiated peace and wisdom, were now screaming that she was a liar.
“What have you got here?” she said in surprise when she spotted my mom’s novel on the table. She examined the book closely and, as her eyes scanned the author’s name. I thought I’d seen a flash of terror cross her face.
“Oh, I picked it up at the bookstore. I liked the title,” Thalia said, flashing a rapid smile. Chloe nodded absently and opened the book. She wanted to check the publication date. I took this opportunity to increase her discomfort.
“Is something wrong, Mrs. Hubble? Or shall I say… Mrs. Brown?”
“What? What do you mean by that?”
“You know really well what I mean. This is the autobiography of my mother, in which she does not mention you as her best friend, let alone an acquaintance, but rather as—and I’m quoting here— ‘the woman that tore my heart to pieces’. Perhaps you’d like to explain this.” I said, eyebrows raised and gaze fixed on her face defiantly.
She was not going to lie to me again. She stared in the emptiness, silent, but I had all the time in the world and I was not about to move until I got some answers.
“I’m not the one who divorced your mother and kicked her out of the house. That would be Sean, your father, Tamara.” She was already trying to convince us she was just a spectator, a victim of the happenings. The admiration I had for her turned into disgust.
“Yet you still married him. You were the reason they divorced in the first place.” I was calm. I wasn’t about to lose my nerves when I clearly had control of the situation.
“Brianna wasn’t even sad Sean dumped her!”
“That’s because she was too worried about my future. And seeing her worry, you convinced Sean to kick her out and keep me. You knew that if she lost me, she’d fall apart.” No answer. Clearly she was too disturbed by the sudden apparition of truth. “So what happened after she left?” Still, no answer. “What did you do when she asked you to give me her most important possession?”
“I waited until you moved out of the house. We got married and I moved in with him. Only then did I let Sean give you her diary,” she let the words out of her mouth as if they carried no meaning.
“What about that last page? Why were you so sure it was insignificant?” I waited to see what kind of lie she would come up with this time.
“It’s just simple analysis. Why would it be important if she didn’t want you to see it?” she asked mockingly.
“I believe you’re the one who doesn’t want me to see it. You glued the page to the back cover,” I accused. “I bet you realized right away that this poem revealed the truth about you. You know, because it’s an acrostic poem, and the first letters of each line spell ‘Chloe sent me away’”. I let silence take over for a moment. “Look, I want you to answer one last question. You at least owe me that much. Where exactly is my mother now?” She looked me in the eyes. Not with compassion, but with defiance.
“I don’t owe you anything.”
“Answer my question.”
“Dublin, Ireland.” Pause. “I’ve got nothing else left to say. I wanted to try and get close to you—as a mother would—but you didn’t seem to like it.” She got up and left the apartment.
“That famous diary was actually what she called her ‘book of ideas’, where she wrote all of the inspirations for her novels!” Jared was excited as he was telling me all the minute details about my mom he discovered by watching an interview on the famous Irish channel RTÉ One. What he just revealed to me explained a lot: why none of what was written connected together, why nothing directly mentioned to my mom and Chloe’s friendship, why there were no real clues for understanding what each phrase referred to. All of it was merely fiction. I swept away those thoughts and focused on Jared. His excitement instilled in me the satisfaction of finally uncovering the truth.
“So, are you ready to go?” Thalia asked, peeking her head out of my bedroom. She came out with my luggage.
“I’m not going anywhere without you,” I replied simply.
“Are you serious?!” Her eyes popped with excitement. “Give me five minutes and I’ll be ready!” She sprinted back to the room and as usual, her jovial attitude made me smile.
“You know you’re coming, too, right?” I said to Jared. Seeing the hesitation on his face, I added, “Even if it’s just for a couple of days! Come on, you’re the reason I found my mom in the first place!”
“It’d be a pleasure,” he said with a serene smile spreading on his face. “But we have to do a detour to my place first so I can get ready.”
“I see no problem in that,” I said with laughter.
After five minutes exactly, I was locking the door. Thalia was right when she said she could get ready in five minutes.
All these years, I’d never imagined that exploring this diary would lead me through such a dense forest of emotions. Love, loss, anger, frustration, trust, betrayal, joy. I don’t remember details of that moment except that my face was radiating a sense of contentment, that Thalia was standing with her back to the sun, more glorious than ever, and that Jared looked at me with his twinkling amber eyes and said:
“Come on Tamara, let’s get you home.”
© 2017 H Bakerley