The red marble notebook was, at one time, new, but now has stains on the cover and is held together by duct tape. It is the third of its kind; each time its pages are filled, a new notebook with empty pages is bought. Every time I find the notebook on my bed it is as if I have discovered a precious gift, waiting for me to unwrap it and unearth the mystery of its identity.
I feel perfectly content when I am in this book, taking in life’s lessons that its pages divulge and when I, with pen in hand, empty my spirit’s trials and tribulations as well as my most joyous moments.
The red marble notebook originated as a series of letters between my best friend and me but gradually evolved into the notebook when we started losing the letters we wrote to each other. One day my best friend, the person who gave me life, came into my bedroom and handed me the red marble notebook with its first entry. And so it began. We wrote to each other two to three times each day at first, later simmering down to a steady entry each week.
It is when I am immersed in this notebook that I feel a calmness within myself. I am able to talk to my Chava and divulge my deepest secrets without any fear of her reprimanding me. The notebook is a place where both can go and leave the troubles of the world, if only for a moment. It is where we can tell each other our deepest regrets, fears, and joys. The notebook is not a place to escape from the problems of the world, but rather a place to step back and make a plan to tackle our adversities with resilience. In this notebook I tell my Chava my high school boy dramas and she tells me her eighteen year marriage problems. We share jokes and funny stories, sometimes writing to each other in my mother’s native tongue.
The notebook is a constant when all else is not; it is always within reach when I seek to pass through its doors. It is a crutch to lean on, a pedestal to stand upon. The red marble notebook was there when my father lost his job. It was a safe place for me to express my shame when I was embarrassed to use food stamps. It welcomed my screaming and shouting when my brother’s rebellious acts were tearing our family apart, and comforted me during the two month period when my father refused to speak to me. The red notebook’s doors were wide open when a hurricane passed through our community, filling our home with nearly five feet of water and leaving my family homeless. Its pages were itching to be stained with the ink of anger, frustration, and pain.
They were, however, just as enthralled to hear my moments of happiness, my best friend’s pride and joy. The pages were eager to learn of my awards and recognitions and excited to hear all my endeavors. Every time I entered the red marble notebook, I could trust that my Chava, my biggest supporter, would be there to cheer me on when I was doing great, but also there to brush the dirt off my clothes, wipe away my frustration and tears, and give me a pep talk when I had fallen on my face.
I feel perfectly content when I am in this book, for it is eternal, never fleeting. Two people have filled its pages and in return, it has filled their hearts. In entering this notebook, I have discovered that my mother, my Chava, is my best friend and that of all the emotions and feelings one can have, love is the strongest, for it supersedes all others.