Graham finds a journal and makes it his mission to find the owner and return it.
Graham Wall marched down the busy New York Street, avoiding the eyes of the citizens who shared the side walk. They avoided his in return.
It was November, and a snowy drizzle - sharp, wet little flakes that bit into your face when the wind hit them - was beginning to fall from the heavy grey sky. Graham squinted against the precipitation and walked faster, feeling the strain of the heavy briefcase in his shoulder. His trench coat flapped behind him in the wind. His hands were icy and turning red. It was still several blocks before he would reach his apartment building. The sidewalk crowds were thinner now. Traffic was barely moving. Yellow cab cars dominated the street, completely still.
The sleet, or whatever you wanted to call it, was freezing and melting and slushing on the ground, sliding precariously underneath Graham's unpractical black work shoes with the laces that always managed to come undone. He leaned and pinwheeled to steady himself about every 10 steps. He chuckled as a woman fell on her bottom climbing out of a cab.
Graham chose his steps more carefully now, opting for the areas that were less shiny and slick. His toes were cold. Finally, just before reaching the intersection across from central park, his feet came out from beneath him entirely and the world spun and he was on the ground and his head hurt.
Graham could feel the ice melting under him and soaking into his pants, but he was too stunned to get up right away. He sat there, dazed on the sidewalk. Several people walked past him, not making eye contact, not even slowing down. He got up and dusted himself off, too cold to fully feel his embarrassment. It was then that he noticed something on the ground. A passerby had accidentally kicked it, scooting it a couple inches, making a scuffing sound against the pavement. Graham knelt and picked it up, nearly tripping a woman who had not succeeded in walking around him. She grunted and moved on. No apologies or reprimands to "watch where you're going!" This was New York after all.
Graham inspected his findings - a book, leather bound, with no title or markings of any kind on the cover. A brown ribbon attached to the binding marked a place about 20 pages from the end. A journal, perhaps. The cover was wet and dirty. Graham looked around, holding it high, wondering if someone around him would claim it. "Is this yours?" he asked the woman pushing a stroller hurriedly past. "Excuse me, did you drop this?" he questioned a man carrying a tray of coffees. Nobody gave him a second glance.
Discouraged, Graham wiped most of the slushy grime off the cover with his sleeve and opened it. Instead of a name and address, there were only three words on the first page, written in the hand of a child, with large crooked letters:
DO NOT READ
Graham chuckled and ignored the warning. He turned the page.
I meen it. This is PRIVET PRIVATE
Graham smiled and turned the page. Written in pencil, in the same childish handwriting, was a longer entry:
Dere sole soul mate,
Mom says that somday you wil come and sweep me of my feet. I have dic decided that I wil wait til I am older and then you can come sweep me of my feet. I am riting you letters in this jurnel because I dont know your adress.
Graham was still smiling. He flipped the pages, stopping at one in the middle. The writing was neater, the spelling much better. Evidently, either someone else had written in the private "jurnel" or Becky had grown since her first entry. He flipped to the back, hoping to find an address or phone number or even last name. Where the ribbon marked, the entries stopped.
A sudden wind broke through Graham's concentration. He put the book in his pocket and hurried home, careful not to slip again.