Dear Diary,

I am guilty as charged. As I flip through these pages I notice that I do not ever call you dear. Which raises the question: are you, in fact, dear to me? If so, then what is it that makes you so? Maybe it’s just something people say without thinking too much about it. Like the people who give you a nod in the hallways and say ‘How are you?’ or ‘How’s it going?’, but keep on walking. What they really mean to say is ‘hey’ or ‘yo’, something to quickly recognize your presence as they walk by. Had they really meant the questions they asked, they would slow down or stop and wait for a response. It’s just something people say, dear. They don’t really mean it. So with the thousands of diaries around the world, with thousands of entries in hundreds of languages, how many mean the dear they call out to?

Perhaps we are all swept by the motions around us, barely pausing to think twice. Some barely pausing to think even once. And yet I think, and I think again every time I come to write here. But I do not call you dear, at least not in the greeting. What does this say about our relationship? It is largely one-way, isn’t it? You are like a sounding board where I hear the echoes of my words. And where you listen to the ink. A shelter for these words – a safety that is, at times, not afforded to them elsewhere. My mood and musings are often with you, and yet I barely know you.

I continually change and evolve with the passage of time, and you… you remain a constant. The binding is the same and the paper is the same. You have, however, lost that new book smell you used to carry. Like perfume that wears off after a while. That is a good thing. I am allergic to perfume. But I am worried, you will not last forever. You, like others, are bound by limits. And when those limits approach, I will simply have to get another diary, another book. But another dear? Or, perhaps, you are a collective? Volumes of a saga? Really, tell me, what are you? What is it that you want?

I would have thought that I had the upper hand in this relationship. But time after time it is I who gives of myself to you. You know me. Which, then, makes me wonder: am I dear to you?

Zackeria Zaheer