Hello Alice

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November 3rd, 2013. The words had permanently written themselves into his memory. Or rather, Alice had written them into his memory. Meanwhile, he had simply sat in slack-jawed awe as he watched the words appear, penned by an invisible hand.

Dear Diary,
Imagine my surprise when I opened you only to find that someone else had written in you before me! It’s probably just a mistake with the store and its return policies – employees not realizing that a returned diary had already been written in. But just in case it isn’t, hello, Bob.
Yours truly,
Alice

Quickly, he had written his own reply, hoping she would see it before she closed the book.

Hello Alice

And that was how it had all started.

Their relationship blossomed much in the way that a child learned to walk – carefully at first, cautious and wary, then running wildly, words tumbling out onto paper as fast as their fingers could put form to thoughts.

It wasn’t long before he trusted her with every detail of his mundane life. It didn’t matter that he had no idea what she looked like. He could have passed her on the street thousands of times. For all he knew, she could be from a different universe. Or they could already be friends with one another, neither knowing the other’s true identity. But he didn’t think so. After all, he didn’t know any Alices. And even if he did meet one, a magical diary is not something that you bring up in casual conversation, not unless you want to be committed to an institutional facility.

But all that was irrelevant. He knew who she was, even if he didn’t know her outward appearance. Their lives were entangled, bound by a secret that only the two of them shared.

Five years later, he still didn’t understand how it all worked. But while the mechanism behind the two diaries remained a mystery, something else was quickly becoming clear. They were running out of space.

In the beginning, their words had taken up a lot of room, scrawled hastily and messily during the hour-long conversations that took place every night. But as time went on, the letters began to change. The words grew smaller. Letters were cramped, squeezed together as though they were children playing sardines. Margins were scribbled in as the two of them realized that they were running out of pages.

They tried writing in pencil and erasing the conversations, but the erasures didn't carry over. In the same vein of thought, they tried using white-out. That idea had also failed. They even tried writing over their old conversations with other colors, which had worked for a short while before the resulting visual atrocity became completely illegible.

Soon, they were down to the last page, which they both agreed to leave empty in the hopes that they could come up with a solution. Alice suggested photocopying it, but it hadn’t worked. The new particles were different, and the copies weren’t the same as the originals. He still went ahead and photocopied every single page, though. For documentation purposes, he told himself. Sentimentality was a more truthful answer.

For the next year, he faithfully checked the diary every month in the hopes that she had figured something out. Alice was smart. She would find a way. But still, the final page remained blank.

Life went on. He applied to universities, was accepted to his dream school, moved into a dorm. Before he left home, he spent a full hour looking at the diary, wondering if he should bring it with him. In the end, he left it behind.

Life went on. His breaks were hectic – each day filled to the brim with family reunions and holiday parties. He simply didn’t have the time to check the diary. And truthfully, a small part of him was afraid that he had dreamed it all up.

Life went on. A prestigious internship in investment banking ate away his spare time during the summers. He needed to spend New Year’s hanging out with his hometown friends – he had neglected them far too much already. He had to polish his CV and work on his interview skills during spring break. There were always plenty of excuses to keep him from checking up on Alice.

Finally, one fine March afternoon three years later, nostalgia forced him to open the diary once more. He missed their conversations, and besides, a small part of him needed solid proof that she hadn’t been a product of his runaway imagination.

It was empty.

Perhaps he really had been crazy. He flipped through the book, trying to find any evidence of the conversations that they’d had. Blank page after blank page awaited him. Those late nights lounging on his bed, waiting for her reply…had none of it been real?

There!

On the very last page, there were three simple words.

I missed you. - A

He didn’t understand how she had done it, and to be quite frank, at the moment, he didn’t care.

Smiling, he put his pen to paper and started to write.

About the Author: 
Stephanie has just graduated college, and has no idea what she's doing with her life! It's exciting!