Dear Diary

July 17, 2013

Everybody cares, nobody understands.

Britney

My birthday was amazing, despite a small stomach ache. I spent the day with my mother, going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the exhibition Punk: Chaos to Couture. I got a typewriter, an acoustic guitar, a gift card, and a card that my mother made for me. I had a great time, contrary to my prediction that I would spend the day saddened by the fact that yet another year has gone by.

The next day my mother goes to work, and while she’s there I spend some time in a used bookstore, scouring the shelves for hours. I end up in the art section, and as I’m thumbing through a book of Mary Ellen Mark’s photos a pale, green-haired girl suddenly appears next to me.

“You like her?” she asks, tapping the cover. I can’t place her accent, but it’s definitely foreign. Her voice is warm like fur.

“Yes! She’s one of my favorite photographers!” I say a little too excitedly, because I am happy to have another teenager to talk to, and because this apparition is probably the only other person I have ever met who is into Mary Ellen Mark. We end up talking for a while, about school, video games, flowers, and our mutual love of the 1990s. She tells me her name—Lula—and that she’s from the Netherlands. She’s staying in New York with her aunt for the summer.

She invites me to hang out at her aunt’s place. One call to my mother later, we’re on the train, listening to Nirvana on my cassette player. Thirty minutes after that, we’re walking down the street together, whispering and laughing like we’ve know each other for more than a couple of hours.

The first thing I notice when we walk in her aunt’s house is that just about everything is white. White rugs, white sofa, white roses, white tables.

“Whoa,” I say.

Lula rolls her eyes. “I know. My aunt is…odd.”

We go upstairs to Lula’s room, which thankfully is a bit more colorful than the rest of the house. There’s a quilted bedspread, tulips on the nightstand, and Pearl Jam posters covering an entire wall. Across from the bed there sits a scarred rocking chair. Lula walks over and plops herself onto it. “Make yourself comfortable!” she says.

I sit at the edge of her bed and let a few moments of nervous silence pass. We have been talking so much that it takes me by surprise.

“So,” I say finally, “how come you’re staying with your aunt for the summer?” A longer silence follows as Lula stares at the floor. “You, um, don’t have to-”

“No,” she says, holding up a hand. “It’s because of my boyfriend…Klaus.”

“Oh. Did you two break up?”

“He…died. He, uh…” She takes a deep breath. “He committed suicide.”

“Oh my god.” I don’t know what else to say. “I’m sorry” is too generic; “He’s in a better place now” is, in my book, the worst thing anyone could say in a situation like this.

“My mother sent me here because she thought I would follow in his footsteps,” she continues. “I probably would have if I could. I was serious about him.”

“I think I sort of know how you feel,” I say softly, because she looks so vulnerable right now. When she doesn’t respond, I tell her about what happened with Zoey.

She nibbles on her stubby nails before saying, “But this is different. When you lose the only person that you love, you lose a chunk of your soul, you see?” She drops her head into her palms, her fingers tangling themselves in her hair. She stays that way for a while, and I sit on the bed, completely still.

She looks up and gestures at the quilted bedspread. “Klaus’s mother gave that to me at the funeral,” she says. “There was a note with it, but I’m too afraid to read it.”

“Why are you afraid?”

“Because it will mention Klaus for sure. I don’t want to let it become reality.” This I understand. ♦

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24 Comments

  • Sophie ❤ July 17th, 2013 7:06 PM

    Katherine, Ruby, Britney- once again, I simply feel you. And also: I hope you’re back soon, Naomi! It feels a lot more empty with you missing!

    http://plainlysophie.com
    http://guessip.wordpress.com

  • Britney July 17th, 2013 7:35 PM

    Katherine, I hate when people say things like that. You are you, pale or tan, smiles or no smiles. Ruby, I know how you feel. In my opinion, your writing is amazing, and I highly doubt that you will fail as a writer. Really. And as always, I love your artwork, Caitlin!

  • OTotoro July 17th, 2013 8:44 PM

    I was you. And I did have to go to community college and it did feel pathetic and it made me stall completely for a long time. I finally was able to get back in gear (sorry for the prolonged car metaphor here) and transfer to a not-unfortunate but nothing-to-shout-about university, where I was able to thrive, graduate cum laude, and go to graduate school. I’m now in a pretty good PhD program in my chosen field and more or less back on the track I thought I’d take.

    If you can stick it out, the long road can get you where you want to go. Brooklyn is not off the table. I promise.

  • Marian July 17th, 2013 9:03 PM

    Katherine- I hate it when people think it’s all right for them to provide unsolicited commentary on one’s appearance. Ughhhh.
    Ruby- I totally agree with Britney, you’re a fantastic writer. Please don’t give up.
    Britney- I’m glad your birthday was fun and I’m glad you met Lula. I hope you two can help each other through the grief of losing a loved one.

    http://thelunalovingbookworm.tumblr.com

  • jessmargo July 17th, 2013 10:11 PM

    Your entry tonight is really beautiful, Britney.

  • Ruby B. July 17th, 2013 11:41 PM

    Britney, this was very beautiful. You are brilliant.

  • HelloAbby July 17th, 2013 11:59 PM

    Ruby, many people judge others’ lives (as well as their own) based solely on their career, but this is a silly way of thinking. Life is defined by the little things, not just one big one. Being a kick-ass bestfriend isn’t mediocre. Being an awesome lover isn’t mediocre. Being a caring mother isn’t mediocre. You know what is mediocre? Giving up before you start. As long as you stay passionate about who and what you love, your life will never mediocre.

  • elliecp July 18th, 2013 2:04 AM

    All of these are so beautiful and enlightening, and the collage is beautiful too x

    http://roseandvintage.blogspot.com/

  • Miss Erin July 18th, 2013 2:33 AM

    This is my favorite thing you’ve ever written, Britney.

  • julalondon July 18th, 2013 3:00 AM

    Katherine; Yesterday i was walking down the streets in shorts and all of a sudden, two strangers i was passing started talking about my ‘ugly legs’…normally i would have shouted at them, but i just couldn’t and quickly walked away…i mean, WHY DO OTHER PEOPLE EVEN CARE ABOUT HOW WE LOOK FOR F*CKS SAKE?????

  • Sam July 18th, 2013 3:31 AM

    Katherine – I feel you. This is exactly how I feel much of the time. I have a grandmother who is very keen on my being as feminine as possible which is…not my style. Keep rocking your autonomy and standing up for yourself.

    Ruby – I turned seventeen last week, moving out of the so-called golden age of being sixteen. There were good times, but it was actually on the whole pretty shit. I spent it dealing with the aftermath of a bad breakup, and later, with unrequited-then-requited feelings for someone else who turned out to be a bit of a douchebag. Add in some other stresses, and it was a bad time. I was pretty depressed. And I felt like you did about the future. That’s not to say there wasn’t good, though, as well. But that didn’t end upon turning seventeen. Actually, things are looking up. They will for you as well. I’m a firm believer that how you do in school, whether you get into a good uni – these are not indicators that your life will be mediocre. At fifteen, your writing is brilliant. If nothing else, you won’t lose that. It can’t be taken from you. There is so much more to life than school and uni/college and jobs and careers, and there is so much you will have. And be fair to yourself – you’ve had a rough time of it of late. There’s no reason to say that school won’t pick up again. But if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t define you.

    Britney – all I can say is that this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read of yours. I hope the two of you can help each other.

    And Caitlin, as always, your artwork is beautiful.

  • diniada13 July 18th, 2013 4:26 AM

    Katherine, people say things like that to me too and I don’t know what to respond to that. It’s kinda hard to politely tell them to piss off I guess since I don’t have the right amount of sass.
    Ruby, THIS IS IT WHAT I’VE BEEN FEELING RECENTLY THANKS FOR WRITING THIS DIARY BLESS
    And Britney, this was very heartbreakingly beautiful. Brilliant.

    http://sorryimoutofgoodurls.blogspot.com

  • ashleylynn.nl July 18th, 2013 4:36 AM

    Probably one of my favorite features on rookie are your diaries. You are all such great writers! What I was wondering though, do you keep such a thorough diary on paper as well? Are these entries straight out of your diaries or do you write these especially for rookie? I’m just curious, because I myself have never been good at keeping a diary. I always quit after one page (scared to ruin the paper).

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts/lives every week, I love reading them!

  • hannan July 18th, 2013 4:53 AM

    actually it’s “cory” not “corey”
    it’s kinda make me sad :(
    any chance to correct the typo?
    thank you guys!

    • Tavi July 18th, 2013 5:10 AM

      Sorry about that and thanks for letting us know. Will fix now.

  • keepingantler July 18th, 2013 7:03 AM

    ruby, your words are lovely.
    i’m fifteen still, but i’m already calling myself sixteen somehow habitually. i kinda miss feeling my age.

  • dragonfly July 18th, 2013 8:23 AM

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  • Narita July 18th, 2013 10:40 AM

    Ruby, I feel you.

    I’m turning sixteen in exactly 9 days, which is the strangest. I’ll be a senior. And I’ll try way too hard to be a normal teenager once again – which I’ve done for over years. But it feels more real, because, SIXTEEN. It also feels so mature. And it’s strange, because people tell me I’m mature, but I’m not sure if I want to be. Maybe I just want to be a teenager, but I can’t. Too much responsibilities. (I mean, teenagers have sleepovers and drink too much and I can’t drink because of my medication, and I get all anxious when I sleepover.)

    The idea of having to look into colleges scares the hell out of me. Meh. Ugh. Sigh.

  • alisatimi July 18th, 2013 12:12 PM

    Katherine – I know how you feel. The people at my old school had zero interest in fashion, so whenever I wore something slightly unusual they’d be like “OMG why are you wearing it’s so ugly you look like a grandma”. Once a guy even told me “You should wear flats instead of combat boots, your boyfriend would like it more.” There’s not much you can do about this except giving them your best bitchface and moving on.

    Ruby – I used to watch movies and TV shows about teenagers and think that my life from 15 onward would be one long party and that I’d magically become this perfect person who has it all figured out, but when the time came I still felt the same as I always had. I had a lot of great experiences but also a lot of shitty ones, and it’s only now, at 17, that I’m beginning to look back at the past couple of years nostalgically and really appreciate all the good bits. So I guess my point is – don’t expect the year to feel amazing as a whole, just enjoy the individual experiences.

    http://teenagebrat.wordpress.com/

  • Sharon July 18th, 2013 3:55 PM

    @Ruby I just finished being 16. Coincidentally it was the only year I had any issues whatsoever relating to boys, but besides that it was just another year. 16 is over glorified. I was still the same sack of meat and bones. I’m in the process of picking a college and major and I strayed away from the liberal arts bc I have the same worries as you. But you are already talented and successful so yeah go for it.

  • unicornconnect July 18th, 2013 5:27 PM

    Britney- wooowowowowowow, that story is so magical in a sad way. But seriously it’s kind of interesting and cool that you guys met:)

  • Saana V July 18th, 2013 6:12 PM

    somehow it feels so strange to read your diary entries – i mean, so much stuff happens to you and like if not all the time, at least sometimes. And if nothing happens you find something from the emptiness. nothing happens to me and i’ve tried to make my life more interesting but it’s just, really, really boring.

  • abby111039 July 20th, 2013 12:40 AM

    I’m sending virtual hugs to you all <3

  • annadaly July 21st, 2013 11:14 PM

    Ruby, college really does not define you.
    I went to a super elite hippie school with no grades (?) and was kicked out for well, not caring enough.
    I moved in with my boyfriend, squatted on a roof of an apartment building with only an air mattress (ala jim morrison and pam). I moved to Berlin and dated a norwegian porn star. I rented an apartment in paris and met alexa chung.
    Life is amazing, and it’s all about circumstances. Interesting things happen to interesting people. I’m in community college now and transferring to mcgill in the fall, and I’m sad because it will be way more boring than my normal life.
    Point is, you will have adventures. You will be amazing. Life is amazing, no matter how bleak 16 is.