Excerpt From Introduction

Excerpt: Unlocked Diaries

I laid the battered article on my bed as my mind reeled with ideas of all of the secret things I'd write. I dug through drawers looking for pencils and pens, finally settling on the blue Bic. I thought blue would look pretty and grown up on the pages. I grabbed sheets of plain white paper and practiced my cursive writing as I sipped sweet tea - all in preparation for the big moment when I would begin filling the pages day after day with the wonderfulness that was my life. I felt so grown up; far more mature than the twelve year old that I actually was.

A shiver rushed over me as I touched the scraped and scarred leather-like cover, flipping open the tab that held the lock before it was broken. Opening to the first page, I stared confused a moment before my heart sank. It was written in. I'd bought a diary that someone already used. It hadn't occurred to me that I'd be buying someone else's used diary. Who would sell their secret diary? Apparently, a girl named Constance Marie would.

Following a few well-deserved hours of pouting and slouching around muttering about the injustice of it all, I tossed the diary in the trash. I'd paid good money for that thing. You'd think you could trust the church to sell a good diary. It just wasn't fair. After pushing my dinner around on the plate and punctuating my sulking with great demonstrative sighs, I went to my room after eating only half of my dessert. Clearly, I was upset but no one even asked what was wrong. It was just as well, I resigned, they couldn't understand how I felt anyway. It's not like they'd just had their greatest dreams shattered.

Then it came to me that perhaps Constance Marie would understand how I felt. I bet she didn't mean for her diary to end up at the church sale. I bet she had an evil sister who stole it and broke the lock then put it in the sale box to cover her tracks. Yeah, I was lucky not to have an evil sister. She was probably a step-sister, too. They were the worst kind, I heard. I imagined poor Constance Marie looking everywhere for her precious diary while her evil step-sister ate her cookies and laughed. I knew what I had to do.

I ran back out to the kitchen and dug through the scraps of the night's dinner. There is was, buried beneath a pile of Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes that were likely mine. It was a bit greasier than before, but otherwise in good shape. Cleaning it off the best that I could, I clutched the now scraped, scarred and grease spotted diary to my chest and carried it safely back to my room. I would see if I could discover the identity of Constance Marie and return it to her foiling the efforts of her evil sibling.

And, that began my love affair with other people's diaries.