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Chapter One- The Diary

 Chicago, Illinois- 1997


It’s gonna be okay honey. My mother’s voice repeated in my head.  I’ll see you again, honey.

Algonquin, Illinois- 2011

Dear Whoever,

At that time, I was only four years old. Yet I was mature enough to understand that when my mother says that it’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay. So why did I have doubt when she said she’d see me again? Maybe I was some That’s So Raven or something. But after that morning, I never saw my mother again. Growing up- until I was about thirteen- I always thought she was going to come back.  My older brother who is now twenty-four and married persuaded me into believing she was never coming back. I can’t believe it’s been thirteen years since I’d seen her.  Now I live in Algonquin, Illinois with my brother who is twenty-four and his wife. I’m expected by him to move out when I graduate- eight months- and go to college far away from them. It’s not that my brother doesn’t like me. No he loves me very much. He just wants me gone so him and his wife can start trying to start a family (he winked when he told me that) without hearing me and my friends (he didn’t know we were there) giggling in the next room. We live in a small house.

Now I bet you’re wondering where my dad is. Well along with my mother, he disappeared. He left without a word whereas my mom slathered me with hugs, kisses, and gifts, telling me she loved me and they’d be back. I didn’t much like my dad six years later when I realized he’d left me with a crazy aunt without saying anything. I’ve gotten over that since I was thirteen also, realizing that saying goodbye would be too hard for him. I now know that if my parents are still alive, they may or may not come for me. And if they do, I may or may not accept them with open arms and tears and kisses and love.

“Riah,” I heard my brother, Cade, call my name from the kitchen. Leave it to him to ruin my happy and peaceful atmosphere with his obnoxious voice.  I shut the first journal I’d ever had and put it in the drawer of my desk. My best friend Melany was right: writing in a diary does feel great.  I released all of my feelings out in about ten minutes.

I walked out of my bedroom with the single bed, second hand dresser with dark tan wood and a similar desk, with the same nightstands, and beautiful pictures of me with my brother, with his wife, Amy, with Melany and with my Aunt Kasey. As soon as I stepped out, the aroma of baked hamburgers filled my nose and I felt my mouth instantly water. Food. I walked rather quickly and took my spot at the table where a plate with hamburger, asparagus, apple sauce and cheese and crackers was on my placemat. It was Sunday: my choice of food for the day. And the meal was just like I like it. I ate my asparagus first, putting onion salt on it to make it taste better. Next I choked down the applesauce making a quick reminder to tell Cade I don’t want applesauce on the mean anymore. Then, I ate my hamburger. Taking sips of my vanilla milkshake between every two bites. And last, I ate my cheese and crackers, loving every bite of my meal I thanked Cade and helped Amy clean up. She insisted I not help but lately, I couldn’t help but notice that she had been really sick lately. So I helped her any way. Putting the last dish in the dishwasher, Amy hugged me goodnight and headed off to bed. When she was gone, I opened up the refrigerator to make sure my butter pecan ice cream was still there. Cade could be such a pig at most times and Amy liked ice cream a lot so I usually picked them up a pint when I went to the store. I decided I’d come back to my ice cream in an hour at around eight o’clock to eat it.

I walked back to my room and closed my door. I opened my desk drawer and pulled out my yellow diary and smiled. I quickly finished writing in it:

But maybe I’m overlooking it and should get some good sleep. I don’t want to think about the possibility of my parents coming back in the future so I shouldn’t lose sleep or drop grades over it- that happened in seventh grade, a month before Cade convinced me I shouldn’t believe they were coming back. When he told me that, I knew I could trust Cade. Not mom.


Mariah Houseman

I closed my notebook and opened my drawer, putting the notebook safely inside of it. I then grabbed my phone from the desk and unlocked it. That’s when I heard the change of hum from the freezer. My voice changed from singing softly to a low growl. I swung open my door and sprinted to the kitchen. “Cade! That’s my—“    I was cut off when I saw who it was not Cade but... “Reese…” I trailed off, quirking my eyebrow.  

“The one and only. Nice negligee sweethearopaque  negligee with no bra. And yes, the house was relatively cold. I quickly covered my chest and blushed. “Yes I’m eating your ice cream by the way.” This was new. Him coming over to my house.

 I sighed and ran a hand through my darker than dark brown hair. It was mid-backed and layered professionally. “Why are you here?” I asked curiously.  He just looked at me. No expression. No nothing.  “Cade!” I yelled in a worried voice, knowing that if I do it in that voice, he’d come instead of just yelling at me.

He rushed in, a frown on his face. “What’s up?”

“Why is he here?” I pointed at Reese. Not even bothering to say his name.

“Oh yeah.” He started, “I forgot to tell you that Amy’s brother and his friend were coming over so don’t wear your girly clothes out of your room.” Reese snickered.

“Shut up,” I said, shooting him a glare. Reese took a spoon out of the drawer and stabbed it into my ice cream.  My ice cream.  “Cade, he’s taking my ice cream!” I said, my fists clenching.

Reese walked backwards out of the kitchen into the living room with my ice cream in his hands. “See you in school, Mariah. By the way, I’m taking your ice cream.” He smiled a breath-taking smile and winked at me.  

Cade turned to me. “It’s okay, Riah. Don’t give a shit about it. By the way. You’re staying home from school tomorrow and he is coming by to give you your homework.”

I rolled my eyes and said, “Yeah and when he comes, I’ll tell him I said to fuck off,” I gave my brother my middle finger and stomped out of the room. “I’ll forgive him if he brings me two ice cream pints tomorrow. Goodnight, Cade.” I smiled my sweetest smile and disappeared behind my door.

Chapter End Notes:

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.