From the Diary of Catherine Elizabeth Harlowe

Sunday, August 13, 1944

Was just digging around in my bag and found that I’m somehow still carrying this diary around with me. I haven’t written in months…but I suppose now is as good a time as any.

There just hasn’t been much to write about, I guess. This summer has been…foggy. Not in a literal sense. Just…well, I dunno. Let me see if I can explain.

When I was a kid, my whole family used to go on vacations together. This was between the wars, and my parents were doing pretty well for themselves, so we used to rent a summer home up on Lake Michigan. I remember distinctly one afternoon lying on the beach, no towel, just skin and sand and heat. I had to close my eyes to guard from the bright sun. As I listened to the gentle gurgle of the waves cresting, and inhaled that unique smell of fresh summer air combined with gobs of sunscreen, the insides of my eyelids gave me a blazing fireworks show. The light made the world inside my head burn a deep fiery red, with shapes and patterns exploding and dissolving in the illusory landscape under my eyes. When I finally sat up and opened my eyes to look at my parents wading in the shallow water, the world was suddenly tinted a hazy blue as my eyes adjusted to the real world. It was like opening my eyes underwater.

And that’s sort of what this summer as felt like. When I sleep, my dreams are ablaze with all the things I’ve been promising myself these last few years. Moving to the city, becoming an actress, or a writer, or a painter. Meeting someone with ambitions as large as mine. That red fire illuminates my mind with a pulsing energy.

But then when I’m awake…everything is covered in the blue haze. I sit at home. I listen to the radio. I drive around Lansing. I think about Danny. Sometimes I cry about him, wondering if I threw away the nicest boy in town because of some silly, unattainable dreams. All those dreams seem as far away as the people that I called my best friends just 3 months ago. And even with all the mental pep-talks and plans sketched on scrap pieces of paper in my childhood bedroom, I just can’t shake the haze. I can’t resurface.  

To be honest…it’s absolutely terrifying.

…Jeez. I should write in this thing more often. It seems I have more to get out of me than I thought.  

As I write this, I’m sitting on a bench on the banks of Grand River. The sun is starting to set. Tomorrow I’m going to start turning things around. I’m going to start looking for a car, I’m going to look up apartment prices…I’m going to get to work.

But tonight…I think I’ll sit here in the fog and look out at the water. I’ll gaze at the sunlight bouncing off its gently rocking surface, a shifting mirage of rippling thatchwork, colored gold and black and red…and I think I’ll get lost in it.

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