I caught her reading my journal. I got home and she was already at my place, which is within our rules. When one of us is late the other knows where the key is hidden. Make yourself comfortable. That means open the refrigerator, check out my bookcases, pet my cat. It never means read my journal.
I’d left it on my desk. Cover closed, but plain as day. It’s the journal where I write my private thoughts, the ones that are hard to sort through and get down on paper because then I have to face them. The writing helps. Otherwise I’d never know what I was thinking or feeling.
The entry was dated, fresh and new. I wrote I didn’t love her anymore—and in fact was in love with someone else. The exact words covered three stream-of-consciousness pages and those pages were now torn from the notebook and crumpled in her fist as she faced off against me.
I might have said it was a story I was working on, but that’s not the kind of story I write. I kept the argument on her invasion of my privacy, how dare you and what right did you have and that kind of angle. She accused me of acting secretive lately, hiding something.
Everyone’s hiding something, I said.
You left it out for me to see, she said.
I consciously hadn’t. But who knows what the Shadow knows.
Even if it’s in plain sight, you can’t read someone’s journal. Not unless I open it to the page and hand it to you and say please read this. Or if I’m dead or have left the journal behind forever. Those are the only times.
I get the temptation. You come upon the journal sitting there like a sweet apple and there’s something you’ve been wondering and this might be your opportunity. Maybe you’re right and I have been more secretive lately. You can never fully know me but you’ll get a step closer if you open the notebook. Maybe you’ll discover something you think is alarming and can intervene before it’s too late. It’s too late.
If you go back some pages you might find beautiful, poetic lines that quiver your heart, the way you once did mine. You’ll find other stuff you will regret reading and won’t forget.