What’s The Secret?
By Audrey W.
Jennifer DeSoto ran inside the house, anxious to find her dad. Joanne followed behind the girl after taking two shopping bags out of the back seat of the station wagon.
“Daddy, Daddy!” Six-year-old Jennifer shouted as she hurried through the livingroom and kitchen. She found her dad and her brother, Chris, out in the back yard fixing the wooden picnic table they had had for years.
“Daddy! Look what I got!”
Roy set down the hammer that was in his right hand and, still squatting, reached out for the item in Jennifer’s hand. He carefully examined the pale pink hard-cover book with a lock on it. Turning it over, he read the imprinted gold letters on the front.
“Uh huh,” the girl said, nodding.
Roy looked up at his wife. Joanne had just come outside to join them. The woman shrugged. “She wanted a diary.”
“Yeah, and it’s a secret direy with keys!”
“That’s dumb,” Chris said. At nine-years-old, he was finding most girl things silly. “What do you know that needs to be secret?”
Jenny stuck her tongue out at her brother. “It’s my direy and I like it. You’re jus’ jealous!”
“You can’t even say it!” Chris retorted.
“Alright, that’s enough,” Roy said, as he handed the diary back to his daughter. “Did you tell mommy thank you?”
Joanne and Jennifer both nodded.
“I’ll get dinner started in about twenty minutes,” the mother stated. “Think you two’ll be ready to eat in an hour?”
“Sure, we’re almost done.”
Roy and Chris went back to work while the two gals headed into the house.
After dinner, Roy and Joanne were watching television while Jennifer was lying on the floor ‘writing’ in her diary. Chris was outside in the front yard playing with two of his friends.
Jennifer chewed on the pencil eraser, a thoughtful expression on her face. She glanced down at the first page of her diary. The girl had managed two words:
“Yes, sweetheart,” Roy said, still staring at the television screen.
“How do you spell ‘bought’?”
“B – o – u,” he paused while Jennifer wrote down the first few letters. “G – h – t.”
After a few more minutes, the little girl asked again. “What about ‘direy’?”
Jennifer wrote down the word, then read her first sentence out loud. “Today Mom bought me a direy.” She looked up at her parents. “Is that okay?”
Joanne nodded, while Roy replied, “Sure, it sounds good to me.” To his wife he mumbled sarcastically, “Good thing the ‘secret diary’ has a lock on it so we don’t know what it says.” Joanne elbowed him in the ribs.
“How do you spell ‘fixed’ and ‘picnic table’?”
“Gee, I can’t imagine what she’s writing about now,” the paramedic whispered, this time being rewarded with a playful punch in the upper right arm.
Realizing he was going to be spelling every other word in the ‘secret diary’, Roy moved down to the floor near his daughter. Jennifer quickly covered the page with her hands, hiding what she’d written so far. Her dad sighed.
Girls. . .no matter what the age, I’ll never figure them out.