The pages caressed each other, tightly bound by the imposing front and back covers. It didn’t help that their owner was clutching the leather bound square so hard as if her life depended on it. “Do you see anything?” whispered one page to another, anxious for their little mistress. The pages wondered what she was so worried about. Their pages had no new clues and currently everything seemed to be going fine. Why! Just last night, she had been scribbling about how her mother was coming to see her in the hostel. She had been very excited at the prospect of meeting her. In fact, the pages had been discussing that their little mistress hadn’t been any happier than last night. The poor thing didn’t get many visitors and was probably the only child to not receive a birthday gift and the only one whose parents never came for Family Day. The diary was her only friend and her confidant.
The pages had stopped becoming startled nowadays whenever she suddenly opened the diary and started scribbling furiously. At least they would know what the problem was, they thought, sad because they couldn’t do more. Her father had given the diary to her before she left for the boarding school as a going-away present and the diary had been ecstatic. Not only was it finally out of the drawer where it used to live with the other diaries which were always mean because their pages were full of important stuff they never shared, but it also got to be the companion of the lovely young daughter of their grumpy old master. The little girl had initially just scribbled her name, ‘Megan’, in a dirty scrawl on the top right corner of the first page. A week later, when the little diary was finally starting to believe that it’s pages would never talk because its mistress refused to fill in anything, little Megan had opened it. She had stared at the top right corner of the first page where her name was written for a long time until her eyes had turned glassy. It was the first Family Day and her parents hadn’t turned up.
That was the day when she started her story. The little mistress was a meticulous writer for her age and had started from the beginning and the pages were alive and singing her story in no time. But as days went by, the singing stopped and the pages were troubled. Their owner was very sad and very alone. Soon, the writing became a regular pre-bedtime ritual and Megan had filled almost all the pages by the time her summer break arrived. The day her mother was supposed to come and pick her up from the school. She was very happy at the prospect of going home after almost 6 months and was looking forward to spending a long vacation with her parents. She knew they were very busy all the time and hardly had time to sleep, let alone play with her. Eventually, she had accepted that she was going to be alone on her Family Days and even though it killed her just a tiny bit to see all the happily chirping families all around while she sat under a tree and ate her lunch alone, she had never complained. She was a good girl.
Hours went by. Megan was still sitting at the foot of the steps when the guard came to lock the gates well after it had become dark. She stirred when a hand touched her shoulder lightly. She looked up to see the night-guard staring at her curiously, “What are you doing here, little girl? Go to your dorm now. It is dark.” and she let a sigh escape. Standing up, holding back her tears, she walked to her dorm room, empty except for her. “It isn’t fair!”, she wailed and fell to the floor and the diary fell from her hands and lay open on the floor. She stared at the pages and grimaced. The pages could see how agitated their mistress had become and still had no idea what was wrong. Suddenly Megan flipped to the first page and tore off the corner which had her name on it and packed the diary in a bag. Slowly making her mind up, she walked to the nearest window facing the lake and flung the bag out with all her might.
With one tear, she had broken all her bonds with that little book. She was never going to pin her hopes to paper. Still holding the little scrap of paper, she climbed onto her bed and curled up to sleep.