On the front steps of his apartment building, Graham pulled his keys from the pocket of his damp trench coat. Fumbling them through his icy fingers, he finally managed to find the correct key and shove it in the lock. Graham made the climb to his fourth floor apartment, noticing the weighty presence of the journal in his pocket with each step.
In the apartment, he dropped his briefcase onto the floor beside the door. He shrugged his shoulders and then flexed them, giving a small moan; the hunched walk home against the sleet had made them sore. He removed his trench, tossing it onto the coat rack beside him, but then remembered the journal still resting in the pocket. He pulled it out, glanced over it one more time, and made his way to the kitchen.
Graham's thoughts were pulled away from the journal as life began to crowd him once more. A stack of dishes lay in the sink, waiting to be washed. Floor plans stretched out across his kitchen table, where he had left them the night before, needing attention. More lay in wait in his briefcase, abandoned in the entrance for the time being. He thought of the meetings scheduled during the upcoming week at work, and the dizzying amount of preparation needed for each. He then thought of Catherine; how long had it been since they had seen each other? He reminded himself again to call her before the weekend. The journal was tossed onto the counter, joining an ever-growing pile of unopened mail.
It was nearly two weeks later until the journal resurfaced and presented itself to Graham once more. He sat down at the table, defeated, and began opening weeks worth of mail. It was then that a small leather corner jutted out from beneath stark white envelopes. He put down the light bill and picked up the journal. The leather was soft, now that it was dry. Graham ran his hand across the supple cover to rub away some of the dirt that was now dry and caked on. He opened it again, to the first page, and saw the scrawled warning as before:
DO NOT READ
He flipped now to the second entry and began reading.
Dere soul mate,
How are you? I am good. I wish that when I ask you how you are that you could anwser and we could have a real convrsaton. But I will keep riting thees letters to you until we can. Hopfully I will be old enugh by then to. I can't rite much more tonite because my mom says that I have to finish my math homwork befor bed. But I will rite to you toomore tommorow again.
Graham's brow wrinkled in confusion and amusment. Was this girl writing to a real person? Or some fanciful Prince Charming she made up? Intrigued, Graham moved onto the next entry, and then the next. Before he knew it, twenty minutes had passed and he was ten entries in. The writing was still crooked in places; it seemed as though the handwriting was still in the process of searching for it's style, looking for a rythm but not quite finding it. It was the writing of a teenage girl, a young woman.
Dear soul mate,
It's been awhile. I feel bad for not sticking around like I said I would. I spent the weekend with Dad. It's weird getting used to this whole living in two houses thing. I hate it. I hate every second of it. Mom has already gone on a date with some jerky looking guy. I can't believe her. Like, seriously?! UGH! I wish I could explain how mad at her I am.
Sorry to complain to you. Anyway. I went to the park today after school. I sat on my favourite bench for awhile. I meant to read a little but I got distracted by the people. I think I may have seen you. You passed right by but I couldn't call out to you. I guess we'll meet soon enough. Talk to you soon (I mean it this time).
Graham rubbed his eyes. He didn't know what to think of the journal. He was beginning to feel intrusive the farther on he read, like a sleazy old man spying on the private goings on in the life of a girl. He wondered if he should continue. He put the book down. It was late anyway.