Sometimes in life, everything turns out exactly as it should. This morning, I accidentally found this little diary, untouched, as if waiting only for me. I put my name on its first page in a perfect cursive. The Diary of Dora Dominic. A claim of ownership.
I decided to write in the diary every evening, before going to bed, even though I knew I might get bored with it eventually. Not much happens in my life. But just as I made the decision, another interesting event followed.
He came for a visit! Yes, Henry Price visited us! I was sitting in the garden, looking at the greying sky. The summer had finally come to an end. It had been a warm, quiet summer, both pleasing and horribly uneventful. Most of the families went to their summer houses, but we stayed behind. My parents’ decision was final and I didn’t complain. I understood their reasons. Secretly, I hated them for it. I knew Henry would leave as well and I wouldn’t be able to see him. The entire summer without Henry! What if he forgets all about me and falls in love with another girl?
But today, he was here! I knew it was because of me, but at first I was a little reluctant to approach him. He noticed me and greeted me with a kind smile.
“Mr Price, I’m so happy to see you!” I tried not to sound too excited, and I kept my greeting formal.
“I’m happy to see you, too, Miss Dominic”, he replied. “Could you please tell me where your father is? I would like to have a word with him.”
“Oh, of course! Follow me.”
I turned to head for the house, but Henry didn’t follow me immediately. He looked around, as if searching for something. I was concerned by his quiet. We used to talk so much before and he wanted me to be his partner on every dance. Why did his attitude change? I couldn’t just stand there and do nothing. I approached him and reached for his hand. Henry withdrew quickly, and looked at me almost in shock. I didn’t understand why. Did I do something inappropriate?
I lead him to my father’s library without saying a word. He followed in silence.
“Father, Mr Price is here to see you!” I said, without looking at Henry.
My father called his guest in and Henry entered the library. He didn’t look at me either. I closed the door behind me to leave them to talk in peace, but because of my sorrow and disappointment, I decided to do another inappropriate thing. I leaned on the door and pressed my cheek on the cold wood. I could hear the voices from the other side.
“Mr Price, it’s a pleasure to see you!” my father greeted his visitor cordially. “What brings you here?”
“I actually wanted to talk to you about something… Quite serious”, Henry’s voice was faltering.
“Dear young man, it’s best to say it without delay. What’s on your mind?”
“Well, sir, you know that… Your daughter Dora and I had spent a lot of time together and we grew very fond of each other. I love her dearly. And I came here to ask for her hand in marriage.”
I thought I was going to faint from the sudden change of emotions. My entire body trembled. The disappointment I felt was erased by a flurry of joy. That was why he was acting so strange earlier! He was probably afraid my father might refuse him. But father would never do that! He loved Henry! Oh, such happiness!
“Well, if you didn’t change your mind the entire summer, then you never will!” my father laughed. “Don’t be so nervous, Henry, it’s great news.”
“So, you agree?”
“Of course! Dora will be so happy!”
“I can’t wait to tell her! But, sir, I have to tell you that I saw your other daughter today.”
“Francine? I hope she didn’t cause any trouble…”
“No, no… She just acted a little strange.”
“Oh, I’m afraid my younger daughter has completely lost her mind… Sometimes, she thinks she is Dora. I’m certain she even thinks she’s in love with you.”
“I suspect she is the reason you stayed here during the summer.”
“Yes. It would be cruel for us to enjoy our days and keep her locked up at home. I love my daughter, but I don’t know how to help her. Certainly, I would never take her to one of those horrible institutions…”
“No, of course not.”
“Anyway, enough of this sad conversation. We should celebrate! Let us go and see Dora!”
It was too late for me to run away and they saw me in front of the door. My father’s face changed once he saw me.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I was just…”
“Come on, Francine, go to the garden. These are the last days of summer”, my father tried to smile.
I started to scream. Why would he call me Francine? Is he insane?
“We have to celebrate! I’m going to get married!”
“Go find Dora. I’ll take care of this”, my father said to Henry.
“No! Don’t go!” I screamed after him. “You are my fiancé! We must celebrate!”
Father took me to his library, using all the force he had to drag me. I fought, and I hit. He hates me! I know he does! He acts all nice in front of Henry but he is a tyrant! He said that we are getting married! Why is he doing this now?!
I hit the door, hardest I could. My knuckles got bloody but I didn’t stop. I heard my father scream and cry. Everything was wrong. The story made no sense. I’m writing it down and it sounds illogical.
I’m in my bed now. I woke up here after I lost my consciousness. And now I realize – it didn’t happen. I fainted when I realized that Henry and I are going to get married! I dreamt it all! Oh, how silly I am, confusing dreams and reality! Tomorrow, I will be fine. We will have the celebration. Everything is going to be perfect!