Status: Complete.

Letters of the Loneliest


"This is exactly what I'm talking about." Lily's eyes widen when she realizes her boss is holding up the notebook. "Who does it belong to?"

His eyes scan the room, eagerly awaiting someone to claim it. No one does. The smile begins to fall. Her hands are feeling clammy, knowing it was a terrible idea to bring it to work with her.

She had wanted to return it, though. That's what she told herself, at least. Truth be known, she had planned on reading the next entry while on lunch.

Something about the journal keeps tugging her back to it. In an oddly sadistic way, she enjoys reading the misfortunes of others. Not that she wishes unhappiness on anyone, but it's akin to a catastrophe. It's heartbreaking, but people eat it up like it's their last supper.

"No one going to claim it?" Still more silence. His bushy eyebrows shoot halfway up his forehead. Cheeks begin to flush. He's about to explode. "Then how the hell did it get into my damn building?! You bunch of lying, incompetent slimeballs! Get out of my face!"

With that, the meeting is over. His office door slams, sound resonating down the long corridor. Lily finches, panic clawing at her throat. She'll have to face him if she wants the notebook back.

Deciding there's no time like the present, she leaves her bewildered colleagues and shuffles down the hallway. Head dropped, she feels like a prisoner on death row. If she was a puppy, her tail would be tucked most assuredly.

Something crashes on the other side of the door, and she cringes. Her boss is one of the best in the business, but he doesn't care to verbally abuse his employees. After her first couple of tongue lashings, she had learned to do her job and stay out of his way.

Tapping lightly, her blood pounds in her ears. The room goes silent.

"What!" He shouts as soon as he rips the door open. Lily instinctively takes a step back. "Why the hell would you think it's a good idea to interrupt me-"

"It's my notebook, sir," she spits out before she loses her courage.

He stares, mouth hanging slack. After running a hand through his thick hair and down his beard, he straightens his tie and pastes a smile on.

"Come in," he says, voice smooth as he sweeps a hand behind him.

She'd only been in his office on a few occasions, preferring to drop any work off with his secretary. The only communication they share is through e-mail, where she updates him on progress and if something promising pops up.

"Would you like a drink?"

Lily shakes her head, wanting to keep this short and sweet. She swallows her nerves, standing awkwardly. He motions to the chair in front of his desk. She sits, butt teetering on the very edge.

"So, the notebook belongs to you," he states, light eyes seeming to cloud with mild disbelief.

He sizes her up before smiling again. She assumes it's supposed to put her at ease. It doesn't.

"Yes, sir."

Nodding slowly, he moves to the wall offering a panoramic view of the city. He turns his back, shoving hands in his pockets. He appears to be deep in thought.

"When will you be able to finish it?"

"E-excuse me?"

"The story? When will it be finished?" He spins to face her, irritation flashing briefly, before returning to its usual impassive state.

"Oh, it's not a story." She clutches the bottom of her skirt, unsure of where this is going.

"It's true?" His eyes round, followed by a toothy grin. "That's brilliant! I want it finished by this weekend."

"O-oh, no, sir," she stammers, "You don't understand. It isn't mine."

"You just said it was your notebook."

"I mean I brought it, but it's not technically mine. I found it. On the subway. A couple days ago." Anxiety is through the roof.

"Find who it belongs to and get their permission to publish it."

It's Lily's turn to stare at him slack jawed. He moves to sit in his plush chair. It creaks under his large frame.

"But sir, there are thousands of people on the subway each day." The man ignores her, typing into his computer. "Plus, I've got all the others to go through still."

"Give everything else to Shelly." His eyes never leave the screen.

"Sherri?" Lily briefly wonders if he even remembers her name.

"You're interested in Broadway, aren't you." It comes out as more of a statement than question, as if it's common knowledge what she does in her spare time.

He's once again thrown a curveball at her. She's taken aback, unsure how to answer. Is he angry that she's waiting for her chance to leave the office?

Before she has time to say anything, he spins a framed picture around. It's a family portrait. She struggles to find the parallels between the man in front of her and the man grinning with his wife and four kids. Two are twins.

She has no idea why this surprises her so much. Obviously, he has a life away from the office.

"That's my wife, Mandy," he says, tapping her mega watt smile.

Lily forces a smile, glancing between the picture and her boss. "She's beautiful."

He acts like he has to fight the urge to roll his eyes. "She is. She's also friends with some very important people. People that have strong connections to Broadway."

If she was shocked before, she's blown away now.

He leans back, steepling his fingers. "If you help me with this, I'll help you get another audition."

Her cheeks flame red. So he knows that she's been trying for Broadway, and that she completely blew the last audition. Wonderful.

Despite the fact that he's basically blackmailing her, not to mention asking something borderline impossible, she agrees.

"Great!" He claps his hands, causing her to jump, before digging in a drawer in his desk. He holds the notebook out to her, which she hesitantly reaches for. He hangs on a heartbeat, eyes turning to steel. "Don't blow this."

Mouth dry, she merely nods. His face morphs back into his cheesy grin and he dismisses her.

At the door, she stops, wondering something. "What would you have done if no one had claimed it?" she asks, deciding she has nothing to lose.

"Publish it anyways," he responds, already engrossed in the next thing on his screen.


Lily has never been as glad to get out of the office as she is right now. She takes another sip of her cappuccino, propping her feet in the seat across from her. Despite it being lunch hour, the coffee shop still remains semi-private, offering the exact quiet she needs.

Not wasting anymore time, she nibbles on her sandwich and immerses herself back into the journal.

August 17, 2014

Me name is Yuko. From japan. Not good english. I right as awful as I speak. So lonely. So tired of this city. My teacher say I keep notebook. To right and get better. To not be so tired and lonely. Home. I want go home again. Nothing there now though. No family no more. Mother say Yuko, go to united states. Get education. Its her last wish. I promise so I'm here. Me trying. So hard. People here not friendly. So much to learn. I work at little place on corner. At night. I sell lots of drink and cigarettes. I want to be actor. No sexy movies. That all I offered. Need good english first. Tiny living space with other girls. They no speak good english. No japanese. Very quiet in living space. I get lost riding under the ground. So many places to go. To see. So pretty. I get scared. And so lonely. So tired of having noone. I want home. No money to go back. So lonely.

Lily shuts the notebook and finishes her sandwich and coffee. She's about to head back, even though it's still early. As she's throwing her garbage away, a woman sitting alone catches her eye. She looks uncomfortable and out of place, and Lily immediately thinks of the entry she's just read.

Making her mind up, she strolls over to the table. "May I join you?"

Her small eyes widen, but she nods. A smile curves her lips and her cheeks turn pink with pleasure. Lily returns the smile before seating herself and striking up a conversation.