For my 16th birthday I got a diary. It was simple, 6” by 9” and bound with pale red leather. It had a shiny silver clasp at the front and inside was a bookplate with my name scrawled elegantly on its surface, Emily Webb. Plain though this diary was, I fell instantly in love with it. I felt a strange connection with the smooth cover, the slightly yellow pages. I treasured it. I poured myself into it. I wrote in it every day. At first I only recorded the happenings of each day, sort of like a documentation of my life.
“Today I went to the used book store around the corner from school and bought a murder mystery. I have started reading it. It’s not very interesting so far. But we’ll see, I’m only on page 22.”
But my life, Emily Webb’s life, was not very interesting. So I took to writing as Amanda Parson. Her life was very interesting. She was like my opposite. For her, each day was filled with adventure, scandal and betrayal. Suddenly, my imagined life was more interesting than the murder mystery I bought from the used book store. I was Amanda Parson now. My diary started to fill with entries of a very different sort.
“Today, as I was on my way to the coffee shop on 18th Street, I stumbled across a body halfway down a sheltered alley. It was a man, mid thirties maybe, with two knife wounds in his chest. There had been two more murders like this the day before. I knew I could solve this. I studied the body intently before I called the cops; they would just mess up the crime scene. I’m almost certain it was the owner of that record store across the street. I’ll have to pay him a visit tomorrow.”
Full story available in Midnight Diner.