I think I should speak up about That. I think that's my official name for it; I called it That in my personal diary, too. It was probably one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, so far. Maybe it is. I can tell you the exact date, aswell (curtesy of my diary); 3rd August, 2011 . Let's start with a backstory.
My cousin, let's call her Mary, and I, would meet up every week and have a sleepover at our Grandmother's. It was one of the highlights of my week, and became a regular routine with us. One day, we decided to keep a diary. It would work like this; I would take it one week, she the next, and so on and so forth. We could write anything we wished, and EVERYTHING in there was confidential; no one would know, but us. Not even my sisters.
So we did. We wrote bizarre things, hopes, dreams, wishes. I wrote about how I wanted to be friends with this popular girl in my class, but, if I remember correctly, the only thing we had in common was books, and I wanted her opinion on what to do. She would give me advice, and in return, ask me to advise her on something, too. We drew pictures, made smileys. Sometimes, I would just write about what was going on around me, and she would, too. It was never boring; I had an inside window to her life, as she did mine.
We finished one diary, and made a new one, self-decorated, out of one of her old Barbie diaries. It looked fantastic afterwards, and we added new ideas, like custom-designing the pages we wrote on, writing Week 1 and 2 and etc. on the top of the page, so we could keep track. We were only about 10 then.
But we knew a lot of stuff.
We knew all the perverted things in life, we knew about boys, we knew about a whole lot of things which 10 year olds shouldn't know about. Frankly, I didn't like knowing it, and I still don't, but when we talked about it, it didn't seem half bad. We knew about... well, we just knew a LOT of mature stuff. And, as we preferred discussing it, Mariam and I began talking about it our diary.
We lost the lock to it, but we didn't mind, and kept writing. We wrote twisted things, disgusting things, and yes, I'm ashamed that I could write like that when I was so young. I know it hasn't exactly been long, but all the same, it was... not good.
We always had a fear of being discovered, always. It was basically a secret among us four (Mary, Amelia, Kylie, and myself), all this grown-up stuff, and we didn't want anyone to find out. So we kept it all pretty hush-hush, and that was that. Kylie and Mary kept a diary too, but that's not relevant right now.
Back to the given date.
I was 11. My mother, Amelia, Kylie and I went clothes shopping that day, and then at night, we went to pick my cousin up from her house, as she and Amelia wanted a sleepover together. Kylie and I, being a lot younger then them, weren't allowed to join them. I got promised a trip to the bookshop the next day, so I was content to shut up.
After picking the cousin up, we went to a general store to pick up a few snacks. We were at the counter, when my mother gave a yelp of pain and clutched her stomach.
We all looked at her in surprise.
She hissed in pain, and, after giving Amelia and the cousin some money, stumbled outside with me hot on her trails. She got into the car, as did I.
Apparently, a wasp got under her shirt and stung her there. It looked horrible. Luckily, the general store was really close to our house. So, after the others got back to the car with the goodies, we drove back home, and Mama applied some ointment on the sting.
After that, I came down for a snack, and I spotted my mother coming out of her room. I asked her how the sting was, feeling sympathetic.
"It's still hurting, but ok," she replied, flashing me a smile. I don't really remember how, but she came up to me with a paper and pencil, and drew a sort of sign onto it.
"Do you recognize that?" she asked me.
"Um... no," I said, blankly. It was just some weird, random drawing.
Then she drew something else; a spiral. "What about that?"
"That's a swirl," I laughed.
"Does it stand for anything?" she asked cooly. Her attitude sort of scared me, but I didn't know what she meant, so I shrugged.
"No...?" I replied.
She fixed her gaze on me, hard. "Do you keep a diary with any of your cousins?"
My heart froze in fear. "Yes," I said carefully.
"What do you write in it?"
"Um... random stuff, personal things," I said unsteadily.
"Do you use these symbols?"
I then realized I knew the signs; Mary and I used them in my diary as shorthand. The translations were at the back, which was kind of stupid, but we found it fun.
"Um... we do... sometimes..." I remember being proud of my steady voice, but I'm sure my expression was half-terrified.
She paused. "What do you mean by 'hot'?"
I stiffened. My mother is NOT approving of boys. Nope. Zero. Zilch. "Um... warm?"
"No. What do you mean if a guy is hot?"
Terror raged through me. She knew something. SHE KNEW SOMETHING. "J-Justin Bieber is hot," I said randomly. "He's hot."
Justin Bieber was the first name that came to mind, for a goodlooking guy.
"Ok, then. What about guys in general?"
"Mama, what is this about?" I demanded, and my voice trembled. "What are you talking about?"
But she kept firing questions at me, in that cool, calm demeanour, and I was almost crazy with fear. Tears shown in my eyes.
The secret was out.
"There were the most VULGAR things in there..." she kept insisting, looking at me in dissapointment and anger.
"Who told you?" I interrupted once, shaking. "Who?"
"Someone read it and told me," she said flatly.
"Who?" I asked angrily.
"That's irrelevant." And she kept lecturing me. I still don't know who, though I definitely have a good idea. Mary agrees. It's not my grandmother, though; she's the sweetest thing, and it was always lying around the house, and she never touched it.
She made me go upstairs, and requested I show her the diary.
"Mama, no," I refused.
She sighed, impatiently. "I'm not going to read it. I'm going to find the pages I saw before, and show you them."
I kept refusing, and she got angry, and told me she would take away all my privileges for forever.
I grabbed at one last straw. "Just DON'T tell Mary's mum. Ok?"
She seemed rather taken aback. But Mary's mum was FAR stricter and got FAR angrier than mine, and no way was I going to put Mary through this hell.
Finally, my mother agreed, after swearing to God. I went to my locked drawer, still crying angry tears, and wrenched the key out of the hiding place, throwing a jewelry box to the ground.
"There's no need to show attitude, ok?" My mother said sharply.
No, ofcourse not, I thought bitterly. You're invading everything personal in my life. No need at all.
I searched for the recent diary amongst a stack of old ones, as well as some other personal stuff, but, to my surprise, it wasn't here. I realized it was Mary's turn to write in it.
"I don't have it. It's at our Grandmother's," I said flatly.
"Ok. When we go there, you will show me it, and then get rid of it. Fine?"
I nodded, just wanting her to GO, GO AWAY, and leave me to shatter.
"What about these diaries? Did you write stuff in them, too?" she demanded.
"No!" I cried, weeping harder. I grabbed one, opening it to a random page, and began readng it out. " 'Today, I woke up and went to the bathroom to get ready for school. We got late because of Amelia. We - ' "
"Ok," Mama said hastily. "Fine. But this is yours and Mary's, too."
To my dismay, she pulled out our first diary together. "I need to see this one, too," she said.
There wasn't really anything BAD in that one, but there were personal things. I kept crying as she scanned it. There wasn't anything she could pinpoint as bad, to my relief. But it hurt, that she invaded my privacy like that, and I was dead scared.
"You're going to show me that diary when we go to Nano's," she said firmly.
"Fine," I said bitterly.
And that was that.
When I told Kylie the secret was out, I burst into another round of tears. She comforted me, and we decided we had to dispose of the vulgar pages in her diary, too.
When we went to my Grandmother's, I managed to tell Mary without breaking down, and she was utterly relieved that her mother wouldn't know. I was rather proud of myself for that, but pride does nothing, and it doesn't matter much anymore. My mother found the diary, and gave us a short lecture on how wrong we were. I didn't make eye contact with her at all. I was bitter.
It was actually a span of around four months before we told Amelia, and she hated that, because she 'could've been more careful around her words!' but it didn't make much of a difference. I only told her because she was so smug that apparently, Mother didn't know anything.
The worst effect was probably on me. I couldn't be the same to my mother for the next two months. It was just different, and I didn't talk to her as much anymore.
She got worried about me during the second month, and during the interval in a movie theater, asked me if I was ok, because I was acting different.
I said I was. Fake, fake, fake.
But in a while, I did get better. I got closer to my mother, and it was ok.
Mary and I don't keep a diary any more. I miss that.
We got rid of the vulgar pages in the diaries. Mary's mother hasn't found out.
I guess I'm sort of grateful to Mama, you know, because I wouldn't be like I am right now today without That happening. And I like who I am right now, for the most part. Mary and I still talk for ages, instead of writing, and That brought us closer.
If I could go back and stop the diary from being read, I definitely would, full stop. But I can't, and I think I'm ok with that.
Now, I just hope she doesn't read my own personal diary. Do bad things happen twice to the same person?