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I went upstairs to the attic. As I opened the door, the long-kept dusts greeted me, making me cough. I brushed the air with my hand and walked inside.
“Okay,” I said aloud. “Do what you have to do, Courtney.” I attacked the old boxes first. I found old dresses, hats, fans, and every sort of thing, but not the one I’ve been looking for.
Oh great. Where is it? Why do things vanish every time I searched for them? I went to the drawers. Books, oldest quills and parchments, and lots of other stuffs I saw, but no necklace. I let out a silent groan. I swore to my mom that I’ll take care of that necklace my great-grand ma had given her. And for my own reason, it’s the only thing I have to remind me of the woman that took care of me, fed me with her own milk, and the one who brought me up.
It has been six months since my mom died of leukaemia. The night before she passed away, she made me swear that I’ll find her necklace “with a pendant made of pure diamond,” as she described it. Now, I’m not sure if I’ll ever find it.
I stood up and the floor board I was stepping on creaked. I stared at it for a moment. No doubt it would creak. This is an antique house—my great-grand pa built this. But there’s something different with that spot. I just can’t tell what. I knelt down again and brushed the dusts off it with my hand. I stopped. I felt its corners, and it seemed to me that it was loosed on purpose. Curious, I tried to lift it up, and it yielded to my little force. As I set it aside, an old, dust-covered, half-rotten box came into view.
Wow, I thought. I never expected to find anything like that. Dying to see what it contains, I picked it up and opened the lid. For a moment, I was silent. Then, carefully, I took the notebook inside. It was so old already that if you’re not gentle and careful, the pages would rip out.
A “my diary” was neatly hand-written on the first page, and I realized it was my great-grand ma’s. Great-grand ma kept a diary during her teenage years? Well, that’s a little weird and new. I read:
September 1, 1924
Good morning. My name is Laura Cutteridge. I’m fifteen years old and it is my first day in high school today. I wonder what will happen. Will I meet new friends? Will I get in trouble? I’ll tell all about it later.
September 1, 1924--evening
I just got home from school and it’s awesome. My classmates are all friendly. Well, maybe except Carol Ellwood. She’s so concerned with her looks and all, you know. Except her, they’re all fine. And what’s more, I’ve got a classmate named Daniel Gladwin. He’s got those green, talking eyes and that nice, romantic, brownish-blond hair. I’d like to befriend him, but how can I? He doesn’t even talk in class. I like that mysteriousness, however. So this is high school. I think I love it!
September 5, 1924
I decided not to write everyday so when I did, I have many things to tell. But the only thought I have right now is Daniel. I guess I fell in love with him. I don’t know. He’s just so quiet and manly and mysterious. But still, I can’t make the first move—to introduce myself properly to him. I don’t think I can even do it. Can I? I just think I’d melt every time I’d be somewhere near him. Oh.
September 11, 1924
I can’t believe what happened. It was like a so-longed dream come true! It was lunch break. I was gathering my things when Daniel went and talked to me. Just all of a sudden.
“Hi,” he said. “I’m Daniel Gladwin. You’re Laura Cutteridge, right?”
“Oh, yes. I am Laura,” I blushed.
“Nice to meet you, Laura.” We shook hands and he smiled. Then he said, ”It’s lunch time already. Want to eat with me?”
“Eat with you? Sure, why not?”
We bought our food from the canteen, and then he led the way to the back of the school. All that were there were grass and trees, but to spend my time there with Daniel would be heavenly.
“So, you’re a freshman too?” he asked.
“Oh, yes,” I blushed.
“Do you love to read books?”
“Why, yes. Ever since I was a kid,” I replied, and then put a mouthful of lasagna into my mouth.
He smiled at me, looking straight into my eyes. Then he said, “That’s why I have the felling that I’ll like you. We have something in common.”
I smiled back and said, “I think you’re right.”
We talked further more about the books we’ve read and which ones are our favorites. We’ve been in such a deep conversation that it has been a bit shock to us when the bell rang to announce that lunch break is over and classes are about to start. Thus we went back to the classroom a little reluctantly.
Ever since then, we always eat together on that same spot. Until now. Do you think he might like me too? Oh, I wish he would.
October 1, 1924
This day is a romantic one for me. Until now, I can’t stop myself from smiling every time I’ll remind myself of what happened.
Daniel and I, as usual, were eating our lunch on our favorite spot. Then, softly and silently, he slipped his hand into mine. I thought at first that it was just an accident, but then he squeezed it—he gave me the kind of grip that made my heart melt away like a burned candle. I held his hand in return. We stayed like that as we finished the rest of our food. And when the bell rang, we stood up, hands still clasped. When we stepped inside the classroom, only then did we separated for the girls sat on the right side and the boys on the left.
As I sat, I stole a glance at him, and he was staring at me. I smiled a sweet one, which he returned with a warm one. For a moment, our eyes locked. Then our teacher started to speak. I looked away, but from the corner of my blue eye, I saw he was still staring at me. Oh! How my heart thumped when he held my hand. It was gentle and soft—much better than pillow. I really love him.
October 15, 1924
Mr Wanton, our teacher announced that we will have a Welcome Ball for Mr. Ishikawa, a Japanese businessman that once helped our school. I wonder if Daniel will ask me to dance with him. I know I shouldn’t expect something like that, but I can’t help it. Yesterday, after school, he asked me to go and watch a movie with him. And of course I said “yes”. But the thing was, there wasn’t any movie available, because they were out of order. So we just went to the park and talked about our lives.
I told him where I live, when my birthday is, and everything about my family. I told him my hobbies, which is playing the guitar and composing songs, and lots of other stuffs. However, I realized he’s so secretive about his family. I want to know him better.
I stopped reading. This diary. It’s so thrilling and romantic! I decided to continue reading it in my room, which is way cooler and cleaner that the attic. Once I was settled on my bed, I went on with my reading.
November 3, 1924
Remember the Welcome Ball for Mr. Ishikawa? Well, there was a sophomore student that asked me to dance with him when that ball arrives. But of course, I said no. I could see he was disappointed, but I do not care. Oh Daniel! Will you ever ask me to dance with you?
November 21, 1924
Today, Mr. Wanton announced that the ball would be on December 18. Daniel had been friendlier to me, but he hadn’t asked me yet. Oh, what if he doesn’t want me? Just yesterday, Carol Ellwood went and talked to him after class. They seemed to be so deep in conversation, so I didn’t bother to say goo bye to Daniel, and went straight home. What if he’ll ask Carol to dance with him? For sure she would accept the invitation. Oh no. Please don’t let it happen.
November 22, 1924
I was walking to the school entrance this morning when Daniel caught up with me. He asked me why I didn’t even said goodbye when I left yesterday, and I told him my reason. And you know what he said? He said, “Oh, that? Well, was forced to talk to her because she was asking something about what Mrs. Whitney said.”
Oh! It was like a huge thorn plucked out of my heart.” Oh, I see” was all that I managed to say. For a minute, he just stared at me as if he wanted to say something else, and I stare back, trying with all my effort to keep my smile from evolving into a grin. But then the bell announced the school would start in five minutes, and so we went our way.
After school, Daniel asked me to help him with our assignment. He went over to my house and we tackled our Spanish book. He’s a critic, which I realized. Not an important detail was over-looked by him. I really admire him and everything about him.
December 12, 1924
If I’ll just talk about schools and grades, everything is perfect. I’ve got an A+ in Spanish, A+ in English, A in Algebra, A in history, and all the other subjects similar. But then, it was not the only thing to talk about. There’s Daniel. Oh, if only I could do anything to make him ask me to dance with him. As you could see, the Ball’s just six days away, and he’s not asking me yet. Well, I guess I have to accept the bitter truth that I won’t dance with him.
December 16, 1924
I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it! This morning, Daniel caught up with me again. He asked me whether I’ll do anything after school. I said no. Then he said, “Good. Please reserve your time for me.” With that, he went ahead. I was a little stunned and confused that for a moment I just stared after him. Thanks for the bell, I soon went back to my senses and ran for the class.
Well, after school, Daniel told me to wait for him at the gate. After a minute or so, he came running towards me.
“Let’s go?” he said, dragging my arm.
“Uh, where are we heading?” I asked.
“You’ll find out. Don’t worry.”
The mysteriousness in his voice made me submit without any further questions. He continued dragging me until we reached a grassy place. The grasses were all enough that you have to tiptoe just to see what lies ahead. Here we paused a little, and then he led me forward.
A minute later, the grasses vanished. I found myself in front of a romantic gazebo. Daniel motioned me to enter and disappeared behind the grass. I sat down. How can I even describe how lovely is the place? Every post was filled with pink and white roses. The floor was golden and decorated with different kinds of flower art. In other words, look rag compared to the place.
I thought nothing could be added to make it perfect, but there was. Daniel came towards me with a bunch of red roses with his hand. I stood up, and then froze. Will he ask me now? I thought.
He knelt to the ground and held my hand. Then he said in the gentlest tone, “Laura Cutteridge. Will you please be the dance partner of Daniel Gladwin, thy worthless servant, for the upcoming Welcome Ball?”
At this, I gave him a sweet smile and said, “Yes. It would be my pleasure to do so.”
This answer of mine was returned by a large grin on his face. He stood up and handed me the roses. He whispered, “Thank you. You won’t regret.”
Oh! What a perfect moment! After that, he asked me to dance with him. He said it would be our practice. To tell you, he’s such an expert dancer. I love him, I love him, I love him! This is just too good to be true.
December 19, 1924
Right now, I’m still in a daze. It was all like a dream, only that the memory didn’t vanished. Yesterday, Daniel picked me up at 5:30 pm. The ball would start at six. For the next hours of the night, we danced and danced until it was time for dinner. After that, we danced once more, and then Daniel said he wanted to tell me something important. He led me to the back of the school, where we used to eat our lunch.
He faced me, took a deep breath, and said, “Laura, there’s one thing I wanted to tell you since the first time we talked. But I was afraid that when I did, I’ll just hurt you later. But I found myself unable to keep this any longer, and if I did, I’m sure I’ll burst.” He gulped. “Well,--“he took a step nearer—“I really—“he placed his hands on my shoulders, and his voice dropped into a whisper—“had fallen in love with you.” His lips slowly neared mine, until at last they touched. He kissed me. I kissed him back. After what seemed to me a thousand sunlit days, we broke apart. My whole body was burning.
“I love you too,” I smiled. He smiled back, but it was quickly replaced by a troubled look.
“What’s the matter?” I asked gently.
“There’s one more thing you need to know, Laura.”
“What is it? Tell me, please,” I replied, though I was half wishing he wouldn’t. I was contented to know that he loves me.
“Laura, I’m a harpy. It was a rare kind of creature only to be found in our home planet, Zuriel. I was sent here for a secret mission, and that is to find a piece of stone that will revive our dying planet. That stone is what you call here the pegmatite. And, thankfully, I had found the right one,” he produced a stone as big as his hand from his pocket. “And now, I have to go back and save our whole planet before it’s too late.”
I was so stunned in disbelief. This little speech of his was simply too much to be absorbed in a second. And then, like a tiny feather, it all slowly sinks in. Daniel’s an alien, came from another world, an unknown planet, and now he’s going back. He’s going back. The words echoed in my mind as I stood there, mute. At last I found my voice. I asked him the question lingering inside me.
“Daniel, how old are you?”
“I’m fifteen, just like I told you,” he nodded. Then he reached for his pocket, and with his hand a box emerged from it. He opened the box and held out a necklace with a pendant of pure diamond.
“Laura, I want you to wear this necklace all the time,” he said, as he slipped it around my neck. “Whenever you feel lonely, just look at this and you’ll be alright. “
“Won’t you be back for me?” I asked, my voice trembling.
He sighed. “I will do everything to be back for you. But if I didn’t, please love someone else. Will you promise me that?” he gave me an eager look.
“I don’t think I can,” I chocked.”But I’ll try.”
He gave me a sweet smile and whispered,”I will never, ever forget this night. Nor will I forget everything about you and how you taught my heart to love.” And he kissed me once more, only this one is faster.
“Goodbye, Laura,” he said, and a strange flying vehicle came into view. Daniel then transformed into a creature with two great wings and went to the vehicle, flying. Then he flew away, as fast as a lightning. Thus, I was alone. With all the things happened in one night, I felt so weary and decided to go home.
My Daniel is now gone. The pain, oh! I can’t even put it into words.
June 8, 1927
Today is my graduation in high school. Today, with all the pains, joys, and knowledge I’ve earned here, I will move on to the next chapter of my life. Daniel didn’t go back for me. Since the night he left, I’ve never heard of him again. Luke, a school mate of mine, is now my fiancé, and we’re about to be married by spring next year. I love him, yes, but Daniel will always be here in my heart. I will wait for him. Even until death, if need be. But, as I promised him, I will go on with my life. I will continue this game as before, forgetting not that a Daniel once knocked on my door and changed my heart forever.
On the last page of the diary a man’s picture was pasted. His hair was blond and his eyes were green. I then realized that this man is the one that made my great-grand ma’s heart beat like crazy. I closed the dairy, and decided to keep it in my drawer. I will find that necklace someday. But now I want to give myself some thought, and so I decided to take a walk.
When I went outside, I noticed the vacant house next door was being filled with stuffs. Someone’s moving in.
“Hi. We’re new here. Would you like to go inside?” a boy maybe about my age smiled.
“I’m Courtney,” I said, extending my arm.
“James,” said the boy. “Come in, please.
I went inside. There are but a few things in it, but one caught my attention. A huge portrait was hanged on the wall. It was a man’s.
“Who’s that?” I asked James.
“Oh, that’s my great-grand pa. His name is Daniel Gladwin.”
I stared at James, and smile to myself.