BEBogdon is an avid daydreamer who is thrilled to see those dreams being published and shared.
Tomorrow is moving day. I’ve finished packing up all my childhood memories in preparation for the move to college. Everything I can’t take with me: the swimming trophies I won in high school, the dried corsage from junior prom, and the thirty-plus pictures of my friends that were taped to my bedroom mirror. I’ve stuffed all that into cardboard boxes labeled, “Macy’s Room.”
Dad said he plans to turn my bedroom into a workshop for his pottery throwing. By the way he’s tossing my belongings into the attic, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was going to install an entire kiln in my room. At least he’ll have something to keep him busy now that Mom’s gone.
I filled the last box and carried it toward the hallway. As I neared the door, the floorboard gave its familiar creak under my weight. I smiled up at the ceiling; I had almost forgotten…
I’ve kept a diary since I was thirteen years old. In it, I’ve recorded all the monumental events of my life: every heart-break, failure, and triumph is meticulously journaled for my future self. This isn’t something I wanted to toss into a box and leave behind in the dusty attic.
After closing the bedroom door, I pried up the loose floorboard to see the familiar purple book, with its shiny, gold lock. I took it out of its hiding place and felt around for the small metal key. Not that I needed the key, the lock was cheap and I never trusted its strength; this hiding place was my security.
My groping hand brushed against something flat and hard in the recess of the floor. I raised the board a little higher. There, worn and dust covered, was a faded, purple book the same size and shape as the diary that I held.
I froze. Had someone discovered my hiding place? That seemed impossible. Mom had been bedridden for years and it couldn’t have been Dad; he was too wrapped up in caring for her to realize that I had pried up the floorboards in my bedroom—he never noticed anything. Besides, it was obvious this diary had lain there, untouched, for years.
The small book felt both fragile and ominous in my hands. The place for metal lock had broken off this diary long ago and, as I opened it, fear gripped me. My own handwriting stared up at me from the pages.
“Dear Diary, today Mom and I bought my prom dress.”
I slammed the book closed. My heart was pounding and a thrill of horror shivered through me.
I stood over the book, hot tears stinging in my eyes. Mom wasn’t around for my junior prom; she had died three months before. Dad had taken me dress shopping at the Goodwill. It was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. I cried as I looked at myself in the dressing room mirror. I cried because the blue, bridesmaid’s dress was hideous, and because I knew it was all he could afford. I remember pasting on a brave smile and walking out to show my Dad my pretty prom dress.
My hands were shaking as I knelt and turned to the first page of the diary. According to this diary, I never joined the swim team, instead, I caved into peer pressure and joined the cheer squad. I dated Jimmy Ray, a popular boy at school, and had a terrible break up with him the following semester. In Junior year, I got drunk at a party, stole Dad’s Mustang, and wrapped it around a tree down by the lake. My injuries were horrible.
The life outlined in this book, wasn’t a life I lived.
Sitting cross legged, with my back against the wall, I read about things I’ve never done, family vacations we never took, and memories with my mom that I never had.
I read until I came to a page that had tomorrow’s date written across the top. Tomorrow’s move was already recorded there. “It’s the first day of college. I’m excited and scared. I told Mom I wouldn’t cry, but I cried like a baby after she and Dad left.”
My college years flit by in complaints about classes and petty school rivalries. I saw the words “excited,” “devastated,” and “in love” pass in a matter of minutes. I watched myself grow and change through the pages.
As I turned to the final paragraph in the diary, I noticed it was dated five years in the future.
“Today, I told Kyle that I can’t have children. He said he needed some time to think, but I know our engagement is off.” This was written in shaky letters smeared by tears.
I didn’t have time to process this; my Dad’s voice pulled me out of the pages. I quickly stuffed both books beneath the clothes in my suitcase as he opened the door to my room.
“Is this the last box?”
I nodded, moving away from the bed.
He picked it up, but paused in the doorway. “Are you alright?”
“You look like you’ve been crying.” He leaned against the doorframe, studying me with concern. “Have you been thinking about her today, too?”
I nodded, the lump in my throat rendering me silent.
“Your mom would be so proud of you, Macy, graduating in the top of your class and getting that scholarship. You know, all she wanted was for you to live a life without regret.”
“Yeah, she used to tell me that all the time,” I said, pushing a tear from my cheek.
“She told me that you would be a writer one day; now look at you, going to college to study journalism.” He shook his head. “Living with your mom was like living with a prophet. She was always predicting things before they happened.”
“Predicting things?” I chuckled. “What sort of things?”
He gazed thoughtfully into the box in his arms. “Remember when you were fourteen and you broke your arm playing softball? She didn’t want me to take you to the game that day; she begged me to keep you home. I thought she was being overprotective. When we met her at the hospital, she was the one who told the doctor it was only a fracture.
It was things like that; she was always right about them.”
I glanced toward the suitcase on the bed.
“I trusted her intuition every time… Well, almost every time.”
“What?” he looked up as if my question had pulled him out of a memory.
“You said ‘almost.’”
He shifted uncomfortably, sudden tears brimming in his eyes. “The Shelby,” he said after a long pause, “she told me not to buy that car.”
“Oh, Dad, you can’t blame yourself for Mom’s accident!” I crossed toward him.
“Like I said, your mother was always right,” he shook his head. “The surgeries, the feeding tubes, the months of pain… I should have listened to her. I don’t know how, but she knew that Mustang wasn’t worth what she suffered.”
“Mustang?” I repeated, my heart stopping. “You mean the Shelby; Mom was driving the Shelby when she pulled in front of that semi.”
“Macy, the Shelby is a Mustang,” he said, with forced patience as he turned away.
As soon as the door closed, I sprang on the suitcase and opened the old diary. I flipped through the pages until I found the entry about my supposed car accident. One line in particular was burning in the back of my mind. I needed to read it again, to be sure.
“I totaled Dad’s Mustang—his pride and joy. And even worse, I had my last follow up appointment today; the doctor said my internal injuries were so bad that I’ll never be able to have kids. I’m only seventeen, I shouldn’t have to think about this. I’d give anything to go back and change what happened.”
Below this, in large angry letters scrawled in my own handwriting, were the words: “I’ll regret this the rest of my life.”
Copyright 2020 by BEBogdon