From the Diary of Catherine Elizabeth Harlowe

Sunday, May 14, 1944

GRADUATION!!!!! oh my WORD it feels so FANTASTIC to be out for good. As soon as the bell rang on Friday we all ran down Cavanaugh as fast as we could and jumped in Sycamore Creek. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and we stayed in the park until long past curfew, laughing and swimming and talking about everything except next year. We all knew it was the last time that we would feel like an everlasting, unbreakable unit; there was no need to talk about it. We just enjoyed it.

Danny wanted to drive me straight home, but after some pleading and arm-tugging I convinced him to park on the edge of one of the massive corn fields off of Cedar Street first. The night was just too perfect to give up on.  

We sat on the hood of his car, staring into the pitch. We held hands whenever we weren’t swatting bugs, silent in our own thoughts. Every so often one of us would point out a constellation, or bring up some silly joke that had been told at the park earlier, but mostly we didn’t talk. If we had talked, it would have turned to the future, and then we would fight, and the lasting memory we had worked so hard that day to build would be tainted forever.

Besides, there’s really nothing to talk about. I’ve been waiting for this day for years. I’m done with Lansing. I’m ready to pack up, move on, and find something better. Maybe California. Maybe New York. The where doesn’t matter, it’s all in the leaving. It’s all in the fresh start. It’s all in the promise of becoming something great. And that’s a promise I intend to fulfill, no matter what Danny says.  

I’ve told him this a thousand times, but he’s never taken me seriously. He still thinks I’ll stay here, doting patiently by his side while he goes to Michigan State, studying some godawful boring subject so he can get some godawful boring job and live a godawful. boring. life. 

Which is why that night, sitting on that car, holding hands and staring at the endless expanse of stars shining their light down through the fresh night air, I decided that I’m going to leave Danny.

If he won’t believe in me, then damn it, I’ll find someone who will.

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