Text within a text

I’m bored mom, I shouted from the love seat right outside the changing room in Nordstrom while my mother tried the dozen clothes that she had taken inside after spending literally an hour searching in the section that had tacky neon and electric pink posters with Sale printed in curly fonts.

I was an 8 year old and an impatient one at that. My mom walked out and handed me a ten dollar bill on which Alexander Hamilton looked away, smiling (more like smirking)

“You can go to the bookstore next door on one condition” she said

“Don’t loiter around, stay in the section for kids” I mimicked in my mother’s accent” (I had finally perfected it).

She smiled at me instead of shouting at me for misbehaving in public, that’s what shopping does to her.

I entered the bookstore, bewildered as ever. One of the women who helped there who remembered me from my previous excursions came to me with a wide, white-toothed smile.

“How can I help you?” she asked sweetly

“Can I go to the kids section?” I said

“Of course love” she replied, catching hold of my hand and guiding me to one of the back aisles.

She took a seat at a corner while I rummaged through fairytales and picture books, graphic novels and comics, mysteries and encyclopedias.

I had a daughter, who looked just like you; she had deep, dark grey eyes, a forever-plastered smile, a crow-like nose, and wavy blonde hair, just like yours. 4 years ago, when she was 7, I was driving her to school. It was just like any other day, my ex-husband called up and shouted, “You’re over Meredith, your happiness is soon going to be taken away and then you can drink as much as you want, drink away to glory.” I retorted, “Shut up you drunkard, go and immerse yourself in your work and bottles of whiskey.” the line was long dead. I cut his call and looked up, staring into the bloodshot eyes of an obviously drunk truck driver.

SMASHHHHHH.KABOOOOOOM

My car had been split into two vertical pieces. The part where I had been was intact but the part where my daughter had been sitting was in such a bad shape. I could see her hand reaching out to me from underneath the door, I tried to reach out but before I could make a call or save her, her hand went limp.

I ran out of the bookstore on seeing the woman crying, I ran to my mother, crawled inside from underneath the stall and howled like I used to when I was 4.

My mother shrieked first but realizing that it was I, she looked at me, patted my back and pulling me close to her said, “How many times have I  told you to stay away from those horror stories, look at yourself, you looked so messed up sweetie.”

I didn’t say a word, just hugged her frail frame and hid my face in her pink fluffy shirt, which had a price tag hanging off the shoulder.

Something Exchanged

She came up to me, running, out of breath, excited with gleaming eyes that shouted. I looked at her with interest, observing her carefully I said, “What is it Peyton, why that funny look on your face?” She looks at smirks, shrieks and blurts out loud “Its here, the one thing that is bound to make you happy is here.” I think of chocolate and ice cream, good grades and a new laptop but not even once does the actual thing cross my mind. “He sent something, his friend Jamal just handed it over to me” she says, smiling.

He sent me something. WHAT. NOWAY.

I look at her, making sure that my expression is a straight face, not giving away my keen interest or excitement or shock and I say “OH!” That’s all I say, I don’t shriek or start jumping around which I should have done considering how ecstatic I was.

Peyton hands me over a small package; I take it from her and stuff it into my bag.

“You aren’t opening it” she says bewildered.

I raise my left eyebrow to make my 3 year younger sister buzz off.

She raises her hands in surrender and says, “Okay, okay. I understand, you need your space, its your life, you don’t want me to see what’s in it”, “Also, you don’t want me to tell mom and dad about it”

I smile at her contentedly, “You are getting smarter by the  second little sister” I say.

She smiles back at me, understanding my sarcasm. “See ya soon big sista who is obviously in love with Omar,” she says.

I hide my scarlet red face by turning around

(When you move around while blushing, the blood from your cheeks starts flowing throughout your body, so you are no longer red, hence MOVEMENT IS MANDATORY.)

As she walks away, jamming her fingers on her phone, typing away noisily, I proceed towards my realm, my room.

I lock the door behind me; sit on my bed, facing the package, apprehensive and freaked out.

Should I open it or not, it could break my heart but nevertheless I choose to open it and deal with the result later.

The package consists of a Black Diary which has Omar’s journal written on the jacket cover. (I’m a little more hopeful than I should be)

Backflips, butterflies and somersaults seem to take over my stomach and controlling me completely.

I slowly open the Journal, reading it carefully, word by word, page by page and then faster, flipping through the pages, flying through them till I reach the last page.

I stop.

Am I ready to know the end to this unbelievable story?

Maybe/maybe not.

I close my eyes, take a deep breath and heave a sigh.

LETS DO IT.

I read the entire page, holding my breath, in one go.

There is a wide grin on my face when it ends, I look into the mirror and see the smile lighting up the corners of my eyes.

HE LOVES ME. HOLY SHIT. HE REALLY DOES.

CRAP.CRAP.CRAP.

SHIT.SHIT.SHIT.

He wrote an entire journal about me, how he stalked me everyday, how happy he felt when he saw me, how I made him feel stuff that he hadn’t ever before.

I felt like a princess, I mean it isn’t often that you get a gift that is not materialistic and has more value than all the materialistic gifts in the world put together.

I close the journal and hug it closer to myself and notice a note sticking at the back.

“If you feel the same way about me, come and meet me behind the school auditorium tomorrow morning at 7am, really hope you come- Omar”

And that is how the fairy-tale of a lifetime began, with the exchange of love, the exchange of feelings, the exchange of that black journal and hearts.