There are other ways to hide. I love my journal, full of my thoughts and ideas. It belongs to me. A rare item paid for with cash, not an overcharged plastic card from the people I call HE and SHE. Thinking of them as anything but HE and SHE is impossible. They don’t deserve the names Dad and Mom. Mothers and fathers are supposed to love their children. Not mine. I’ve been raised by the internet, silence, and anger.
I remember forcing myself to hand over fifty-five dollars of my hard-earned money three years ago in a shop down by the wharf in Baltimore, an eclectic place with a musty scent. I had imagined Shakespeare lounging against the old walls with cracks and peeling wallpaper, books stacked three feet high around clusters of bound words from the past and rows and rows of bookshelves almost touching the ceiling. A leather journal, filled with creamy white empty pages, beckoned to me, begging for the touch of ink. My companion now bears the stains of my tears and holds the secrets of my heart. A tight brown cord wraps around it three times to keep the truth hidden inside. No one will ever read my words—but somehow, the inked words on the paper make what I’m planning a reality.
Does leather burn? If not, the pages will. Again, I rub my hand over the cover. I know I can’t take my comrade with me—it’s my witness to the truth.
Truth. What a concept. Faking my death will make my whole existence as a human being a lie. THE PLAN didn’t start this way, but if I learned one thing in sixteen years, even the best-laid plans change.