No One is Ever Truly Alone

November 12, 2011
By , Detroit, MI
Part I
One hundred into ninety is a waste of my time. The Pythagorean Theorem is a waste of my time. It is almost summer, and next fall I will be going somewhere completely different. This is all a waste of my time.
But what is my time, anyway? What is time without your best friend?
I’m all alone in the world. I say this because it’s how I feel. It’s how I feel every night before I go to sleep, and how I feel every afternoon when walking home from school. Though if I were to state this in court, there would be globs of evidence to fight against it, I am alone. It is my decision to be alone, is it not? If I say I am, then I am.
You see, just two months ago, my best friend, my sister in everything except blood, in everything that counts, left. She moved away. And I haven’t heard from her since.
If you were to ask why she left, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I want to tell someone, desperately. It’s almost as if I need to. But I can’t.
It’s true that I still have my mother, a spoiled doll whom I love. And it’s true I still have my father, a stern but soft man of the house. But doesn’t a young girl need more than that? She needs a boyfriend, yes, and mind you I think I have that….but she also needs a friend. A real one, not a superficial one she wears around the playground to look cool.
She needs a confidant, a comfort, an equal--which is why I have you. You are my secret-keeper, my dearest. And you can’t talk, or walk, or anything…..but you’re all I have.
There, I said it, (or wrote it). The lion is out of the cage. You’re a diary.
I’m sorry to spoil your day like this. I know it’s not nice to find out you’re a block of paper and a hunk of leather. I didn’t like finding out I was half-Russian instead of half-princess, so I do understand.
Anyways, since you’re my confidant, I must tell you what happened yesterday, what’s been happening a few weeks now. Susan is driving me to hell.
I tell you this not to receive your pity, but in the hope that you’ll understand.
You see, I hate her. I hate that Susan almost as much as I hate murderers and taxi-men. She is smelly, arrogant, annoying, sassy, ugly, my age, and flat-out broke. Not to mention my family’s money has been keeping her and her mother alive for the past four years! Yes, they work for us. I said it. She’s practically my slave, and though I’d never make her act like it, she should at least acknowledge that we’re not sisters just because she lives in my house!
Susan is a Russian girl, and my second cousin by a disappointing marriage. Her father was a first cousin to my own. They never got along, nor did they communicate at all, but when Delli died, my father thought it his duty to bring Susan and her mom to America.
However, Deedee, the mother, stupid as she is, had an awful time finding a job, which is how she ended up working for us. She cleans well enough, and is a cute round thing. Her, I can stand.
It’s just Susan, that thieving, mocking liar whom I hate. Her real name, of course, isn’t Susan. She’s Russian. I just call her Susan by choice, and she has to deal with it. She calls me something else behind my back as well, the effrontery of that Susan!
Anyways, I guess you could say I haven’t been too nice to that Susan. You see, usually around people I don’t like, I deal with it. I pretend I like them and couldn’t care less that I do. That’s why I was always the most liked at school. It’s why I still am (though school doesn’t matter because I’m two agonizing weeks away from graduating). Annie, on the other hand, was completely honest, blunt, and drop-dead hilarious. If she didn’t like you, you knew. If she loved you, you knew. And if she couldn’t care less, everyone knew. Annie was my best friend….
That’s how I am with Susan, I guess. She knows I don’t like her, or at least I hope she does. It’s painful trying to be nice to her, or even saying something as simple as, “Close the door behind you,” because after every sentence I yearn to add, “And by the way, I hate you.” Every breath in my soul yearns to be honest. How can I go to hell for that? I feel like I can.
So for the past two weeks I’ve been (attempting to be) indifferent to that girl. But yesterday, the worst of all days besides the day when Annie left town, all the rules were thrown aside. The glass was shattered, you could say.
I was going to sleep over at Shirley Dufranger’s house, but decided not to. Why pretend? We have nothing in common, and though she’s pretty, I honestly don’t like her. She’s a gossipy, two-faced flirt, and she only likes me because everyone else does.
I came home in the mood to play the piano, but first I had to change clothes, so I went upstairs, and shrieked. “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING!?”
There she was, that Susan, and she was reading my diary! I’m sorry to say, you’ve been violated. I understand you must feel as if you’ve been raped.
“I’m so sorry!” The traitor apologized. “But Mary, you’re such a good writer. I came in to borrow a school book (That Susan and I attend the same school, though she was held back a grade due to her foreigness), and I saw your diary.”
I wanted to slap her. I wanted to cry. I felt like I, too, had been taken advantage of. “Get out.” I saw my words had the same affect as a slap--they stung. However, they did nothing to simmer my rage.
Susan left, walking slowly. So slowly, that I was tempted to trip her or push her along, the awful girl I am. I admit, only to you diary, that I have a temper, and once lit, that flame is slow to burn out.
Piano-playing forgotten, I lay on my bed, reading the passage she’d violated. It mentioned Roger, Annie’s admirer whom I myself kept an eye on, but mostly it discussed Annie and how much I loved her. It talked about a good time we’d once had on a trip to the White House.
Annie’s father was only the mayor, so it was hard for him to get us there, but he did. It was a huge dinner for some big occasion. I think some Congressman was being rewarded, or it was the president’s daughter’s birthday or something. All I know is it was one of the best nights of my life. Annie was there, as well as Roger (for he was the governor of New York‘s son). It was just the three of us with hundreds of adults. We told each other our secrets, Roger tried to kiss Annie and was slapped, though he successfully gained a bit of cheek from me, and we ate the most delicious cake. After reading this I wished more than anything that things could go back to the way they were….
Then I realized it: Susan had no friends. Maybe she didn’t deserve to, maybe not. It was still sad, I decided. Though the flame was still blue, it was fading, and I decided though I would not forgive her for violating my privacy, I would stop being so awful to her. Well, at least I would try. Maybe I would even introduce her to Shirley--they seemed like the perfect type for each other.
Part II

That night after dinner, around nine, Susan knocked on my door. I can’t tell you how much that upset me, little diary. I can’t even tell you why--there are some things too personal, even for paper, and these things can only be shared with your best friend….
Nonetheless, I’d promised to be nicer to her, so I opened the door. Standing in front of me was not Susan, but Deedee. “Susan hasn’t eaten dinner,” she’d said, “and now she’s gone to temple to repent for her sins!”
As just as I thought that was, it really wasn’t necessary, and Susan had school the next day just like me. I went to fetch her.
Quickly, before you get caught up in the cyclone of this story, I wish to make some things clear. Though my name is Mary, I’m not exactly Christian. My father’s side of the family is Jewish, which explains why Susan is, and my mother is a Christian. My family doesn’t really practice either religion, but my parents agreed to name me Mary not for religious reasons, but for my great-grandmother who passed away fourteen years ago, a year before I was born. There is a part of me that wants to be religious, which is why I sometimes go to temple or church, but I’m not ready to make that kind of commitment.
Now that you’re caught up, I’ll continue.
As I walked to the synagogue, in my silk nightgown, by mistake, I kept having this horrible vision of Susan! In my mind she’d come to the synagogue to kill herself, and when I reach her I will find her and she will say, “All I ever wanted was to be your friend,” before she stabs herself to death. Why must everything feel so intense in the night? Why must everyone want to be my friend?
When I reached Susan, she was sitting on a bench near the back of the temple, holding a siddur, the Hebrew prayer book. She looked extremely bored, but maybe she felt like she had to stay.
Upon seeing me, Susan’s eyes widened, and she rushed over to me. I thought maybe she was scared of me, but then I remembered: I was in my nightgown. Quickly, praying to whatever g-d was in that room, I rushed out, hoping no one had seen me. Susan followed.
“Susan are you mad?” I asked once we’d gotten outside.
“Are you?” She asked, looking at me.
My gown wasn’t that bad though. Not really…”Not as mad as you,” I smiled. She smiled too. I shook my head. “You didn’t have to come here.”
“You’re right,” Susan nodded, “I should have apologized to you….G-d isn’t the only one who needs to know I’m so sorry.” Susan’s very religious.
“Susan, you don’t having any friends, do you?” I asked, as tenderly as I could manage.
Her gaze lowered. “Emily and Sarah are my friends.”
“Susan, those girls are horrible. All they do is sit and eat all day!”
“They talk to me, Mary.” She replied, “They’re nice.”
Oh joy, I thought, drop the guilt bomb Susan, you would. That’s when I decided it was time to head home. Susan walked beside me, but I was done talking to her.
When we reached the house, Susan was about to go inside, when I touched her shoulder. “Wait,” I said. “I forgive you, for reading my diary.” Susan gave me a half smile, so I had to add, “But you’d better not do it again.”
The next morning, when I opened my bedroom door, I saw a composition notebook waiting for me. I picked it up and understood. It was Susan’s diary. Inside was a small note which read:
I owe you, Mary--Malka.
I’d almost forgotten to tell you that was her real name. Gently, almost nervously, I skimmed through the pages, then put it down outside her own door.
No one should read someone else’s diary. No one should know all of someone else’s secrets when they’ve got their own to worry about.

Join the Discussion

This article has 24 comments. Post your own now!

projectwarbird said...
Jan. 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm
Another well written piece. The characters don't seem cliched and the story is good. The writing is detailed and the interactions are intriguing. Very well done!
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 28, 2011 at 8:46 pm
I like how I felt like I had known these characters for some time, as if they were people I actually knew in real life. They're so real! I like the simple intensity in the story. good job :)
wordjunkie said...
Dec. 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm
This is really cgood! 5 stars! Wow, it's really intense..
Danealle said...
Nov. 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm
"No one should know someone else's secrets..." So much meaning in so little a sentence. 
Jappyalldayeveryday replied...
Nov. 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm
Ya I thought of it when my friend posted this quote as her fb status: "Everyone has a secret that could break your heart."
Ryter said...
Nov. 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm
Hey, I just wanted to say I liked this very much. I could feel the feelings you had. Good work, I like the life lesson at the end. They truly are everywhere.
Jappyalldayeveryday replied...
Nov. 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm
Thank you :)
AnimaCordis said...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 11:37 pm

I really, really like this. It's very well written and you approch some intersting issues though it. You have a great voice! 

I found this peice to be very deep, I thought her going to town in her nightgown was like her going to town without her previous judgments. As tough she was lighter and more free with 'Susan' because she was in her nightgown. Or maybe that's just me.  

I very much liked this peice, keep up the good work!

Jappyalldayeveryday replied...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 7:53 am
Thank you so much :)
delz4 said...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 3:46 pm
I really like the unique voice that you gave your character, it was very interesting and it really drew the reader in. Your writing style is also very refreshing.  I think one thing that you could do to enhance the piece is to add maybe a couple of metaphors to really get some of the feeling across.  A little more of showing and not telling.  Overall, I enjoyed the piece.
Jappyalldayeveryday replied...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm
Thanks :) and yeah, I guess I could use metaphors, I just feel kind of silly writing them bcuz I'm not a poet.
CarrieAnn13 said...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Okay, I have a bit of criticism.

1.  An ellipse only needs three periods, not four.

2.  Mary going out into town in her nightgown doesn’t make sense.  She probably would have realized it before she went out the door and quickly changed, like a normal person would.

3.  Your ending is fairly cliché, but I don’t think readers will mind because your writing style is good.

4. This is just a more personal bit, but I truly disliked y... (more »)

Jappyalldayeveryday replied...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm
Sorry for being ignorant, but what's an ellipse?
CarrieAnn13 replied...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm
Sorry, I meant an ellipsis.  An ellipsis can be used to indicate an unfinished thought or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence.  It consists of three periods, not four.
Jappyalldayeveryday replied...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm
Oh, ok. I didn't purposely write an ellipsis, but next time I'll keep that in mind. Thanks :)
Emiri said...
Nov. 20, 2011 at 6:03 am
It's hard to find someone wtih a good writing style. This went pretty well. I like the characters and the plot, though small (which isn't a problem). I can't see much wrong with it. :)
kingofwriters said...
Nov. 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm

This is a pretty good story; I think you could've put more into it though, and you had a few grammar mistakes.


But other than that, it was pretty good! Keep it up! 4/5 stars

Jappyalldayeveryday replied...
Nov. 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm
Thanks :) Idk what you mean by putting more into it, but I wrote it a while ago and haven't looked @ it since then (besides uploading it). I don't plan on turning the story into a book or anything, but I have written a lot of stories about the character Mary. I might be uploading them (this time under my name) so I hope you read them :)
Jappyalldayeveryday replied...
Nov. 17, 2011 at 9:16 pm
Thanks. I know I could have put more into it, but it's a short story and I don't want to write a whole book on the topic, though I have written a lot on the one character Mary. Also, the grammar errors were on purpose to enhance her characteristic narration. If you would be interested in reading more of my stuff, I'll probably submit some, this time under my account. Thanks for the feedback :)
sunshine7223 replied...
Nov. 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm
I really enjoyed this. It is very well written, and I can somewhat relate to it. My best friend moved away too, when I was younger. She left no notice, she didn't inform anyone. She just left one day. I always wonder what happened. She came back to visit me twice, but still never told me why she left. She never gave me a number or anything. I moved too, shortly after seeing her for the second time. Being that I had no number to contact her on, we lost touch. Anyways, this is really touching. I l... (more »)
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