Amateur writer. On the path of the phrase that says "practice makes perfect." Avid consumer of books that make me think, make me feel.
“What type of woman was your mother? Maybe her personality can help us understand her style of writing.”
“Thalia, I really wish I knew, but I have absolutely no clue. I didn’t grow up with her to get to know her.” The disappointment in my voice was pretty obvious.
“You know what, it doesn’t matter. We can figure it out without background info.” She was so upbeat and positive. I loved that about her.
I opened the diary again, and read aloud a page—or a phrase, rather. It seems my mom wrote no more than a phrase or a series of short sentences on a single page.
“‘Well I guess now she knew. She knew that everything was connected, else it would have fallen apart.’”
“Well, that’s deep,” she said matter-of-factly. The sentence left us both silent. But then Tamara’s eyes lit up and she spoke:
“Hey! Maybe that means that although what she wrote seems totally unrelated, it is connected somehow.” The awe was obvious in her voice, and her elation was perfectly in its place, because that made total sense to me.
“So you mean the whole diary is a giant mystery I need to solve? Like she was trying to convey some sort of message to me?”
“It makes sense to me.”
“And me. You are a genius.”
“Thanks, I know. It’s nice to have someone finally recognize that after all these years of geniusness,” she said, flipping her hair around. I did not hold in my laughter, and she quickly joined. We walked towards the exit of the park.
But then we stopped short. We saw that same lady again, but the smile on her face had vanished and let a look of terror take control. She seemed to be having some sort of breathing problem. She was gasping for air, stronger than anything I’d ever seen before. We rushed to her.
“Those kinds of attacks are normal when you have chronic bronchitis.” She had recovered her calm and composed nature. And her beautiful and peaceful smile. “Thank you for intervening.”
“There’s absolutely no need for thanking us,” we said in unison.
“By the way, my name is Chloe Hubble.”
“I’m Tamara, and this is Thalia.” The smile was back. I felt a wave of peace wash through my body. “Umm… We’ll be waiting outside, Mrs. Hubble.”
“Please, call me Chloe. And thank you so much for waiting for me.”
“Glad we could help,” Tamara said cheerfully. She nudged my arm. “Let’s go?” I nodded, and Tamara carried forward the conversation. “So, how’s the story of Mrs. Brianna Brown going, my friend?”
“Since when do you call my mom ‘Mrs. Brianna Brown’?” I said with a giggle.
“Wait! Brianna Brown. Brianna Eve Brown? She’s your mom?” We’d already passed the doorway when Chloe stopped us with these words. I turned back and automatically sat in a chair beside her bed.
“You knew my mom.” It came out as a statement more than a question, but she nodded. I took out the diary from my bag. “Do you know about her diary?” I asked in wonder. Her smile grew so wide it showed her teeth, perfectly aligned, and she took in a deep breath and closed her eyes for a few seconds.
“When I found that book, I knew it was a diary, but I had no idea it was Brianna’s! Your mom would never go anywhere without that diary,” she replied.
“A bit like you and your famous pocketsize notebook,” Thalia pointed out to me. Chloe laughed softly. I wanted her to keep talking to me. About my mother. It felt like she read my thoughts, because she broke the silence right away.
“She would never let me read it. Even though she was my closest friend for the longest time,” she paused, as if to contemplate what she just said. “She was… She was my sister. We knew each other since primary school and were with each other all the time up until the… until the end of high school. But just when you think something is endless, it starts fading away. We had a fight, and I can’t even remember what it was about. That shows just how stupid it must have been. Then, I saw her one last time. It was just two days before…” she stopped, so abruptly that it felt like all the sound had been sucked out of the room. Probably because she realized it was time to bring up the horrible rawness of reality. I finished her sentence with two heavy words.
“…Before she died. Do you know what happened to her?” She was silent, so I kept talking. “My dad barely sees me, and I live with Thalia. And I do not remember anything about my mom. The only way I know her is through this diary.”
“I’m afraid I don’t know the reason she passed away, dear.” Her statement hurt, but I went on talking anyway. It wasn’t my pain that was talking though, it was my emotions. Those that I keep written, and rarely spoken.
“My dad would never mention her. Never. He was too busy starting his new life with another woman that he never would let me meet!” I had to pause at the mention of this undesirable woman. I saw Chloe’s gaze lower to the ground, as if in disappointment or shame. Or maybe compassion? But the blizzard of emotions just wouldn’t stop:
“I fought just to know her full name! And do you realize I had to practically beg to get this diary? Beg for it. She wrote it for me.” The image of the four little words neatly written on the front page of the diary flashed in front of my eyes: To my daughter Tamara. “I have the right to know my mom, and no one wants to grant me that.” I felt so weak, so ridiculous, so out-of-control. I don’t know what to do when my emotions take over. Thankfully, Thalia intervened:
“Hey, her diary can tell you about her. And Chloe can help, I’m sure,” she was so mature and composed. Her presence sucked away my confusion.
“Definitely,” Chloe reassured me. “Now open up that diary and read me the words that have been hidden from me for ages!”
© 2017 H Bakerley