My dad always kept a diary, a diary that none of us was ever allowed to see. He guarded it like a hawk, always kept it in his safe. Even Mom never saw it. He’d spend hours up in his little study with it; we could see him through the window from the tree in the backyard. We’d have to be quiet, though, ’cause if he saw or heard us he’d pull down the window shade.
So we spent our childhood in that house, my dad coming home from work every day, locking himself up in that room with his diary, coming down for dinner, then going back up afterwards. He didn’t like television like Mom; thought it was a waste of time. But we never knew him to be doing anything else, like building stuff in a workshop or playing with us, or walking the dog. He just went up there with that damned diary.
I think Mom didn’t mind, even liked that he did that. We didn’t think this ’til we got older, but maybe something happened that made them lead separate lives. They didn’t seem to like each other that much. I mean, not hate, or even dislike; they just didn’t want that much to do with each other past dinner and once in a while visits to relatives. We thought it was normal, like kids do.
Then one day my dad died. He was in his study and didn’t answer my mom’s dinner call. We’d all moved out by then but I’d come over for dinner that night. We had to break the door open with a pry bar. There was my dad slumped over his diary, still as death. We only ever found that one diary, forty years old, not a word written in it.