The Journal

He found the journal on the train.

It spilled her deepest secrets. Who she wished she’d never let into her life, who she wished she’d kept closer. It betrayed her true feelings about the weeks behind her, even while she managed to keep a brave face in real life.

He imagined her. She’d have light, curly, almost cranberry orange hair. She’d be tall, and stand proud. She’d gaze into people’s eyes and wonder about their hopes and dreams. He put her on a pedestal.

The problem is, pedestals aren’t meant for people.

Three weeks after he found the journal, he went on the same train, the 38 from Central Square to Downtown. He held the journal in his hands, open as he read.

He heard the clicking of high heels angrily moving toward him once the train jerked into motion.

“Excuse me.” She cleared her throat.

He looked up, a blush on his cheeks.

“I believe that’s mine.” Her gaze was not soft and romantic as he had pictured. It was hardened, angry. Sweat beaded on her forehead. She clutched a weathered leather bag with one hand while holding out her other. “I’ll take that now that you’ve invaded my privacy.” She glowered.

Reluctantly, he handed it over. “Oh, I’m sorry. There was no address to return it to.”

“So you thought you’d just have a go at reading it. Someone’s private journal. In a public place, no less. How dare you. You’re really something, Mister, you know that?”

She stalked off.

In his head, he tried again to conjure the girl he’d imagined. With soft, warm eyes and the cranberry-orange curls. Inviting him in, exposing her deepest fears to him. Wrapping him in warmth and acceptance.

The train jerked to a stop and he stepped onto the platform, both embarrassed and surprised as the doors closed and he watched her face disappear into the darkness.

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