Chapter 1 - The Diary

Daniel West exited his bathroom wearing a pair of black boxer shorts.  He had one hand over his head with a towel to dry his damp hair while his other hand held his cell to his ear.

"I promised Dad to stop over at Ed and Anna and they insisted on me staying for dinner."  He paused to listen to the teasing innuendo from one of the two callers who were listening to this conversation over their speaker phone at home.  "Well, they can try as much as they want, but it's not happening!"

"Well, you're single!  She's single!  Maybe sparks will happen at our wedding ..... Ouch!  Why’d you hit me for?!"  Daniel knew his brother's question was not meant for him.  He also heard the loud smacking thud and was pretty sure his soon-to-be sister-in-law had reprimanded his brother for encouraging the possibility of him getting together with Ed and Anna's daughter, Alice.
 
"Don't listen to your brother, Daniel!  You're not getting together with Alice!  You know long-distance relationships don’t work for you!"  Suddenly her laughter cackled over the phone and then she broke out in giggles.  Daniel could only imagine how his brother was seeking revenge by tickling his soon-to-be sister-in-law after stating that Seattle to Vancouver was not considered long-distance.

"Your soon-to-be sister-in-law is trying to set you up with ....."  His brother's voice turned into a mumble.  Daniel envisioned his brother’s soon-to-be wife had put her hands over his mouth to stop the words from being uttered.

"Hey!  Thanks but no thanks!  Emily, I don't want you setting me up.  I don't have time right now!  I need to concentrate on my work in the new office!"  Daniel said assertively.  "Seriously, I'm not interested in having a relationship right now!"

Emily finally calmed her giggling fit and spoke into the speaker phone.  "I'm not setting you up but you do have a lunch date with your brother and I today!  Remember?!"

Daniel heard his brother added an 'and' in the background but Emily shushed him right away.  Daniel shook his head and asked with care.  "Why do I get this feeling it will not be just the three of us having lunch today?"

"That’s right!  This is the Best Man meets Maid of Honor lunch!"  Emily announced.  "We'll be at your place by 10!"  She still had her last words.  “And Daniel, dress nice!  Like you are meeting a potential client!”

Before he could respond, the line was cut off.

Half an hour later, Daniel stood by his bedroom window looking out at the mountains and city view on this icy December morning.  Though it was sunny, he could tell it was also cold because of the white sheet of glistening frost over the ground.  So he dialed his cell phone and waited for his brother to pick up.  "Hey Gor!  Can you bring the luggage you brought back for me last week?  All my sweaters are there!"

Just before ending his call, Daniel heard Emily telling his brother how cute it was that he still called him by the respectful title of an older brother instead of by his name.  He thought about her comment and shook his head with an amused smile to himself.  Sometimes he couldn't even recall his one and only brother's name.

Just before they were about to leave Daniel's company provided three-bedroom executive condo, Ethan asked to use the powder room at the end of the hall.  Emily took this golden opportunity to hand him the diary she found a few weeks ago when her future mother-in-law had asked her and Ethan to sort thru and dispose some of the boxes tugged away in the garage.
When Emily saw the surprised reaction on his face, she knew the answer to her question before even asking.  "I suppose this is your diary?"

Daniel cleared his throat and swallowed hard to allow air flow from his lungs to his nostrils before taking the diary from her hand.  He flipped through the pages at a speed where he could catch a written phrase or two in his own teenage handwriting.  After a good 30 seconds of flipping through the pages, he finally looked up at Emily with a dash of bashfulness.  "Where did you find it?"

"In one of the many boxes your Mom had kept in the garage, remember?  Your mom called to ask if you wanted to keep anything."  Emily could tell Daniel was totally affected by the diary but kept her smile hidden.  "I know you said to throw everything out, but I thought you might want to keep this for memory sakes."

He took in a deep breath and gave her a surrendering smile as he exhaled.  "Thanks!"

Ethan returned to Emily's side and acknowledged the diary that was in his brother's hand.  "Emily thought that was mine at first!"

When Daniel noticed Emily was still looking at him keenly, he thought he had to explain. "It was just a silly project I gave myself to complete throughout the course of high-school."

"I think it's cool!"  Emily gave Daniel a light punch on his chest for support. 

"Ready to go?"  Ethan asked and Daniel placed the diary on the foyer table by the door and grabbed his keys. 

"So are you still in touch with this Shamayim person? Is that how you say her name?"  Emily asked when they had stepped outside of the condo when Daniel was about to lock his door.
 
Shock registered Daniel’s eyes at the mention of the name, but he disguised it by turning it into a breaching of his privacy.  "You actually read my diary!  That’s so unethical of you!"

Emily could tell her soon-to-be brother-in-law was not truly mad at her; especially when he turned around and put one arm over her shoulders and the other one over Ethan's.  "Hey Gor!  You’d better not let her find your diary!  She'll dig up all your secrets!"

They both laughed because they knew Daniel was being jovial.  Ethan reached over to grab his soon-to-be wife, breaking the hold from Daniel.  Ethan turned his head behind to look at his brother.  "No worries!  I don't keep diaries and we have no secrets between us!"

Inside the elevator, on the way down to the visitor parking, Daniel finally answered Emily's question.  "No, I haven't seen Shamayim since high school."  He surprised himself when he said her name out loud, something he hadn't done for 15 years now.

"So she never said another word to you since high-school?"  Emily went on.  "There's no continuation to your diary?"

He looked at Ethan who only gave a shrug of his shoulders.  Daniel gave his brother a light punch in the upper arm.  "You actually let her read my entire diary?!"

"I really did try to stop her!"  Ethan admitted in defeat. 

"But it was so sweet and innocent!"  Emily giggled at the memory of her own undisciplined actions which took place three weeks ago when she first discovered the diary.  Daniel tried to knock her on the head playfully, but she was beyond interested.  She was addicted to their story.  "So you've never seen her since the last day of high-school?"

Daniel shook his head with sadness in his eyes, though it was more for the fact that he couldn't believe she had read his entire diary of five years. 

Emily sighed with emphasis.  "I was hoping there might be another book to follow!  It was so romantic!"

Ethan scoffed at her comment which earned him another smack in the arm from Emily.  But it didn't hurt him a bit since he was protected by the thick coat he was wearing.  But her hits and punches could never hurt him, he just wanted to make her think they did ... even though he knew that she knew they wouldn't.  It was a language of love only the ones in love would truly understand.

Daniel watched the two of them at play as they walked out of the elevator.  In the deep chambers of his yearning heart, he wished he had someone to communicate that same language with as well.  Sure, he had had one fiancée and three girlfriends in the past, but they never did speak the same language of love.  He knew that when he learned to truly listen to his heart.

On the ride to the luncheon, Daniel’s thoughts shifted to Shamayim.  He admitted to only himself that every once in a blue moon, whenever memories of high school were triggered, he would think of her and wondered how life was treating her.  He would wonder what she looked like now, if she was happy, whether she had settled down and had gotten married.   Then he would tell himself that she must have and told himself to be happy for her. 

The last blue moon happened to be last night when he settled into his new bed for the first time as he pondered over the events of the last four days when he drove himself to Vancouver from Los Angeles where home was for the last ten years.  In fact, the same blue moon had appeared over the last four nights in each of the hotel room he stayed at. 

Right now, sitting in the back seat watching the sceneries, he realized in order to stop his brain from playing games with his heart, he had to force himself to think of events that held the lesser memorable moments during his high school years.  Things like first kiss, first date, first engagement, and so on.  Memories of such things did not touch his heart or soul anymore, but they would always lead him back to thoughts of his Shamayim.  And he couldn't shake off the fact that thoughts of her were creating a warm churning at the pit of his stomach.  

Finally, he took in a deep breath and admitted to himself that she was after all, the very first person who smiled at him in high school; the very first girl who captured his heart with her smile.  The very reason he took on the project to write down every single word she ever said to him during the five years of their high school life.  He had hopes back then, hopes and dreams of so much more that could have been with his Shamayim. 

Once again, it was time to bring his thoughts back to reality.  He had accepted that they did not part as friends.  She told him back then they were just 'classmates' and nothing more.  And when thoughts of her got pathetically out of control, he would tell himself to get real.  It was not like she was the one who got away.  He never got her in the first place.  By the time he admitted to himself that he indeed liked her in that special way, he was not brave enough to let her know.  By the time he sensed she may have feelings for him, he was not available.

Unknowingly, Daniel let out a louder than usual deep sigh.  Ethan caught his eyes from the rear view mirror and Emily turned around to look at him.  They both asked at the same time.  "What's wrong?"

"Nothing!"  Alarmed at what he just did, he gave his habitual spontaneous response.  He voiced his half-truth reasoning to justify his action.  "Just tired, I guess!"

When in fact, he knew this blue moon had been a constant presence for the last three months since his company had decided he was the best candidate to relocate to Vancouver, where his home was during his high school years.  He’d wondered if Shamayim’s home was still here as well.

Where are you now? – Jimmy Harnen