Quite recently I found my old notebooks — the ones I had before the internet, before it started to hiss and whistle in my dial-up modem, way before my digitalized friends started to blink in the corner of my eye asking for some attention and paying me off with likes and shares. It was blank, paperback, plaid and lined time — the very end of it, to be precise — which I luckily caught out.
Notebook one, 1999. It starts with the words: “Property of I. V. B. (my nick at the time — J. W.), O. S. A. Corp. (my imaginary enterprise at the time, I don’t remember the full form), if found, please return to owner at…”, the letters are big, shaky, they have shadows and wannabe gothic decoration on them. In “Contacts” field stands my old home phone number — the one that was always busy due to the legacy interlocking system that forced us to share the line with some other guys we didn’t even know — next comes the email, one of my first — or, more accurately, first dozen of emails that I’ve created in my pursuit of perfect nickname while killing time at dad’s work computer. Shaded letters, splashes, booms, all that stuff.
Next page is the diary entry from November 1999. It takes some time to decipher my awful script (it only got worse with time), to put the letters into words, to reconstruct the writing, as if it was ancient hieroglyphics, the puzzle pieces come together, and suddenly it starts to glow. Crippled letters and blurred ink unravel themselves, disentangle like a DNA helix, it clicks with my mind, my imagination finds the memory rail, and instantly I see my quindecennial self being synthesized right before my eyes — safe and untouched, as rosy and pube-mustached, as cracked and torn, as innocent and blond as I was when I was writing this — without even thinking to publish it and collect some acknowledging likes.
I turn the page, read another note, put the notebook aside, I take another one — year 2000 A. D., it says on the cover, first page design is pretty much the same, it is followed by a quick pencil note made at 4 a. m. — I even remember that morning, right before my birthday, in the middle of the summertime haze, warm, bright and empty, I couldn’t sleep in my spacious whispery flat, parqueted floors reflected the dawning day of my seventeen, I sat on the corner of my bed and wrote down what was in my head. I flip though, next few pages are blank, a couple of random scribbles appear here and there, then a smiley, an ink stain, blank pages to the end. It was the moment I went online.
It’s 2015, October 19, I’m 31, this notebook is property of J. W., if found, please return to owner at address so and so, this is the first page of my new diary that I write for no one. It’s important to do things for no one, because they store your DNA for the future you. It’s important to sometimes live for the universe rather than live for other people. To me, it’s good to sometimes produce this stuff that’s not intended for human consumption, that rather keeps the dark matter dense enough to hold the galaxies together, as I tend to think.
I’m closing the laptop, turning off the lights. It’s 12 a. m., I should’ve been asleep an hour ago. There’s something that forced me to break the schedule again, and this something is now contentedly strolling away, obscured by the night clouds that run over the thin October moon.