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The White Diary
June 1, 1913
Writing in this diary has brought me a lot of comfort over the past year. Living in the abyss of memories that keep me going but days that never seem to end, I find it hard to let myself go. These pages have brought me an escape to the world I once knew, and through it, I find it easier to move on.
I have noted days of adventure, nights of fascination and dreams, and through each entry, I am able to embrace the reality of knowing that this is the end for me.
It took me more time, more energy to reach this. It has been one year since the accident happened, and I have finally taken it upon myself to write about that night, that experience in here. I have never spoken of it before, and I never once tried to mention what was really going on with me. There is always that one obstacle that holds a person back. I conquered it during my life, but I never conquered it on these pages of revelation. I am becoming a stronger person through my words, and I hope through this last entry that I can finally abandon what I lost…
I never had the courage to face the unknown ocean that stretched on for miles. The waves were always too big, too wild, and too frightening. I would always stay on shore to cover my father with sand and sculpt his legs into a fin like he was a merman. I would always stay on shore to read different tales of love, happiness, or tragedy. I would always stay on the shore to play with the family dog, Rummy, until he was out of breath. He would drop on the sand, his chest heaving with exhaustion as well as contentment, and I would lie beside him, soaking in the warmth of the sun’s golden rays. Jillian would be playing in the water with our mother; they would try to dunk each other each time the biggest waves would crest. I can always remember laughing when one of them came up with seaweed atop their head.
It’s funny what I can remember.
This entry is about that one day, the day I faced the ocean, my biggest fear. I was getting older, and I didn’t want to always have this fear of the salty water and what was in it. Waves were nothing but water. What pain could they bring, right? That’s what I told myself before I snuck out the door when everyone else was asleep. I walked along the gray shore as the black waters licked the dry sand. The waves were hopefully smaller at night so it wouldn’t be as intimidating as it would be during the day, and since it was late at night, no one would be around to witness my humiliation and weakness. I could step into the watery sand and meet the ocean head on.
I stood there, my eyes scanning the blackness that just seemed to melt with the dark sky. The view was incredible, though. A disappearing moon lounged in the distance, beckoning me forward. My feet started to obey. I had to get in eventually. The waves pushed the water only a few inches from my bare feet, and I watched as it came to greet me and, maybe in its own fear, pull back.
The water was cold, but as it covered my feet, I felt more welcomed than before. The sand seeped between my toes, the water trying to wash it away as it slipped over and around my feet, my legs, my thighs, my waist. The sudden chill of the water stunned my skin, making me jump and goose bumps form all over my body. My nightgown was glued to my legs, the material feeling odd as it soaked in the sea. My feet melted in the watery sand, sinking in for a second before I moved a little more forward. The waves greeted my sides like an foreigner. I was blocking their way to the shore they seemed to say as they crashed into my waist, my stomach, my chest, and my shoulders. I was getting deeper into the ocean, but I could feel that it was all right. Even though I was unfamiliar to their always moving limbs, they welcomed me and pulled me along to the beat of the waves.
They decided it was time to show me their inner world. A wave hovered over my head, bringing me under with it. My eyes immediately opened to the invitation.
Sand, seashells, seaweed, and foggy water. Moonlight glittered through the surface, touching each one with its soft rays that rippled in the current. There were so many things I had missed before, when I had the chance to see them in the daylight, but there was something special about seeing them now under the glow of the midnight moon. I tried to study what I was seeing even if the salt was stinging my eyes. I tried to close my mind off from the pain of the salt burning in my eyes, my ears, my nose, and now my mouth. I needed air. The water was pushing at my body, swinging it every direction. The sand was crunching in the crevices of my arms and legs and my teeth. The world under here was darkening; the moon’s faint light was fading. I couldn’t see my hands or my tiring body. I could feel blood mixing with the salt, and the salt mixing in my blood. Cuts were scattered across my body, the violent current having racked up my gown to my hips. My mind started to tumble, twist, and scream. The vision I could see in front of my face blurred even more, the foggy water turning foggier, the seashells disappearing, the seaweed wrapping around my legs and arms, and the sand entering my mouth and going up my nose. I could feel myself pulling away from my body, but my legs refused to give. They kicked, a sudden burst of adrenaline rushing through my veins as its contents seeped out. As I used this last resource, my body started to quiver.
The blackness at the edge of my vision started to conquer the internal battle of consciousness. My lungs were empty of air, full of water. The surface was too far to reach with my weak arms and legs. My body tried to relax, but my mind kept racing. I didn’t want to give up but neither did the ocean. The waves and the current pulled me along to the dancing beat of nature.
My image of the past faded as I didn’t want to recall what happened afterwards. Pain brings more pain. That was a simple lesson.
Sitting here now, with the pen in my hand, I write with tears threatening to escape. I know now that I shouldn’t have just sat on that shore; I should have joined Jillian and my mother in the ocean. I should have tried dunking them under the water. I shouldn’t have tried to conquer the great waters alone when no one else was around. Family was my support, my backbone. With them there and without the fear, I wouldn’t have fulfilled my fate. I should have grown up without second guessing my conscience about the Atlantic. Maybe then I would have been the one to choose the ocean.
Not the way it decided to choose me.
My death wasn’t something I anticipated that night, but then again who actually enters a moment when they know this will be their end? It’s not something that can be predicted. I never thought that I had a fear of the ocean because it would be the one to take me out of this world.
This is hard thing for me to write about, but it must be done. Finding my way is not simple in the world I’m in now. Nothing is really simple. Storybooks have said death can be effortless. Shaking my head, I gaze upon those who led me through my years on Earth, and I hope they live the life I wish I could have experienced, and I will find a way to speak to them…
Jillian, I know you’re reading this. I know you’ve been reading every single entry I write in this old, broken diary. I know you know about me, and I’m not sure if I intended that or not. Maybe I did. It doesn’t really matter. This form is strange and wispy. I’m not used to being like this. I’m not used to watching you while you can’t watch me. We’re sisters. Aren’t we supposed to have some kind of bond? Shouldn’t you be able to tell when I’m around and when I’m trying to speak to you?
I’ve said before that this is not easy. I don’t mean to keep telling you that, but you have to understand that it’s true. I’m sorry I can’t explain more, but how can I explain anything? I’m a ghost and that alone defies what is believed to be reality. There aren’t any explanations for the supernatural. I can’t conjure up one even if I tried. You’re a realist and so was I, but I can’t be one now. Not after living through what is believe to be mythic, untrue and utterly impossible.
Please, don’t ask me how I’m able to write in this. It’s too complicated to explain in the short time I have left. But I can tell you that you pulled me here to this room we shared and to this diary you bought me for my thirteenth birthday. I never used it—never touched it once until now, six years later. I was never good at writing down my thoughts. Writing in a diary was never something I saw myself doing because it didn’t fit. I couldn’t just write about my day; I would have to describe. If I were to write in a diary then—like I am now—I would want to take myself back to that day, that moment that I am describing. I would want to paint the picture so I could let myself live it again through the pages. Maybe I was meant to be a writer. Maybe that’s why I can’t seem to make these words fit for a proper journal entry. I’m too focused on the details—the small ones especially—to just come out and say that I drowned. I already know that, and so do you.
Maybe this is to be my only piece of work as an author, someone I probably would have become. Maybe I was meant to find a way to connect with you through this diary, and spell out my adventures in the afterlife as a token of our sisterhood. I’m not sure how else to say it, Jillian. The only answer I am willing to provide—or the only one I know perhaps—to help you understand how a ghost like me can write in a diary that you can physically hold in your hand. Our souls somehow created a connection to one another through this white diary that you meant for me to write my thoughts in, and now, after my death, I chose to follow through with your gift of reassurance and honesty.
Everywhere I go is always dark, always empty. If I’m not with you or with Rummy, it’s as if I’m nowhere. How can I explain a place that goes on, a place with no walls, no floor, nothing to contain the infinite space. I’m tired of floating in the middle of an abyss. I want to be with you again, with the family, and in our house where we can laugh again. Because I know you are no longer laughing or smiling or even crying.
It’s okay to cry. I’m always with you, but someday when I’m not, I want you to be able to cry that I finally found that happiness that people like me are supposed to find. The light in the darkness, it’s always there. But we have to find it first. We have to let go first. I’ll never let you go, though. Never truly. I won’t forget you, but I have to let go of this world. This is as far as I can go. My last moments of hanging on have expired, but I have to leave with the confidence that you will live on. Not for me, never for me. But for you.
But I just have to know my little sister will be able to smile for me.
One more thing, Jillian. I’m only asking one thing out of you.
“’Please, don’t be afraid of the ocean,’” Jillian whispered softly, tears pooled in her eyes as she read Rose’s words. Hugging the pages to her chest, she closed her eyes, her breaths coming out slow and short. A small piece of paper slipped out of the pages, falling on the crying girl’s lap. It was crumbled and yellow, the text beginning to fade and the corners already torn from age, but the headline next to the portrait seemed to burst into view, the words big and black like a death note; the color never fading or disappearing from this world.
June 1, 1912.
“Young Woman Drowns in the Atlantic. Family in shock.”