Dear Diary,

Why is this so hard? I mean, I’ve always loved writing-don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved it ever since I received the first gold star in a sea of red ink. Typically, I just add in some Miriam Webster vocab words to a weak plot and-BOOM!-an easy A. But writing about my feelings? It’s a bottomless chasm of confusion and empty-mindedness. Ugh. I can’t even come up with something better than a hyphenated, flimsy excuse of a word. Stupid Kyle Cardin.

You see, this all started with the note I found in my locker after second period. The one started with Dear Hadleigh, and signed with Love, Kyle. The contents of the note, ‘I’ve liked you since the fourth grade. Sorry it’s taken me this long to say it.’, were almost as surprising as the handwriting the not was written in. For seven months, I have sat next to this guy. Never once have I seen him take more care in anything then to scribble something unreadable on his worksheet. But the strangest part of this whole ordeal is the last sentence. Nothing out of the ordinary about the actual words, but the writing is shaky. Kyle Cardin-the Kyle Cardin- was actually nervous about telling me this!! And that’s ridiculous considering everyone and I mean EVERYONE knows that I have a crush on him. But how do I say that without sounding like a weirdo?

Then what happens next? I mean I am so opposed to dating. I once sent in a text: “I’m fine with crushes, but not like ‘let’s all go date in sixth grade even though we probably aren’t going to marry each other and then break up after three days’! The cynic I am. I’m not sure what I am going to do. More on that later.

Hadleigh Conrad


Dear Diary,

College is stressful. Constant lectures and exams and pop quizzes and papers-it’s too much! I swear, the teachers are in some sort of a competition as to who can assign the most work to their students if for no reason other than, well, I don’t even know what! The stress just tends to build up each week, and it keeps building and building until I just feel like I’m going to explode. I can’t deal with it anymore. A couple of weeks ago, I forgot to get back a textbook I had loaned to my roommate. When I was instructed to find a certain chapter in the book, in front of the whole class, Professor Cartige made me come up to the front of the rotunda and give an impromptu speech on the importance of preparedness. I was so flushed and embarrassed; as soon as class was over I ran to the hallway and burst into tears. At least Kyle was there.

It has been really great having Kyle here. Originally, it was comforting to just be seeing a friendly face around campus. But now it’s turned into something more than that. We’ve been on a couple of dates; nowhere overly romantic. Always some new pizza joint or the Chinese place on the corner. God, their sesame chicken is INCREDIBLE! But last time, something new happened.

We had just been walking back to campus from the fro-yo shop next to Starbucks when he leaned over and kissed me. As simple as that. No hot, steamy romance novel action. He just had his arm around my shoulder, we had been laughing about a stupid joke, and then he kissed me. It was warm; it felt safe and protective. Like a dream. And I really do like him. He’s great. That night, I mean. Fantastic. I wouldn’t have spent it any other way. I really hope we stay together. He is everything I want.

Hadleigh Conrad


Dear Diary,

I look back at my first entry and find myself in the same position. A creative writing major from an Ivy League school, a published book series, and yet I’m still struggling to fill this small index card with the words of my love. Yes, I’m in love. And engaged!! And the wedding’s tomorrow.

I agreed to writing our own vows because I thought I could take refuge in my words. But what to say in front of all of our family and friends? What to say in front of my groom? He has always been so good with grand gestures and storybook speeches. When I’m with him, well, it’s the only time that I’m at a loss for words. Which does not work in my favor for WRITING MY FRICKING WEDDING VOWS. I don’t know how to write how he makes me feel, or my promises to him. I promised him everything in that very first kiss. My love for him is just-it’s beyond words. And that scares me. I’ve built my whole life upon words. My whole life upon adjectives and nouns and verbs and pronouns. They have given me a career, and education. So the fact that they’ve stranded me on this precipice of chance is terrifying. What if I say something so wrong, so offensive, that one of his family members objects to our holy matrimony? What if I say something so crude and awful that he leaves me at the alter? Oh, I’m feeling faint. This can’t be happening.

Wait, what’s that? Oh, thats the. . . WAIT! This is perfect. Ok, I’ll fill you in later. Wish me luck!

Hadleigh Conrad

Present Day

The dress is beautiful. A fitted corset with a ballroom skirt and a trimmed vail. Lace decorates the torso. Seeing through the vail creates the perfect illusion of this day: dreamy.

My little sister, Carolyn stands behind me, holding the long tail of the vail so it doesn’t catch on my shoes. I turn around and give her a meek smile. She has a glistening tear in her eye. The crimson carpet meets up at a vertex with the red wood doors. Behind those doors lie the rest of my future.

I raise a finger to trace the lines and ridges on the left door. I wonder how many other brides have stood behind these majestic doors on the most special day of their life, racked with as much worry and excitement as I. I reach down in my bouquet for a petal of a baby’s breath. I gently weather it down to a fine powder between my fingers and trace with it a small heart on the doors. Maybe the next bride will see it and wonder about who might’ve traced that heart, and how her day had gone.

As I stand admiring my work, I hear the Bridal Chorus begin to play. The doors gently open. On the fifth beat of the song, I take my first step forward. Then again. And again. All the way until I’m standing at the alter, parallel from Kyle, my groom. He gives me a reassuring smile and mouths “I love you.” I smile back, and turn to the Priest.

“Today we are gathered here to celebrate the joining of two families, Cardin and Conrad, in holy matrimony. The bride and groom have requested to write their own vows. Mr. Cardin, if you would?”

Kyle smiles again at me, and pulls an index card out of his breast pocket. “Hadleigh, since the moment we met in grade school, I knew that I wanted to marry you. You were always so full of joy and positivity and god, you are so smart and talented. I’ve loved you since before I knew what love was. Thank you for sharing so many years with me, and hopefully-” he turns to the pews and flashes a fingers-crossed sign. It gets a couple of laughs. “-so many more.”

The Priest smiles at Kyle. “I hope so too. Thank you, Mr. Cardin. Now for Miss Conrad.”

All eyes shifty my direction. I smile quickly, and grab a well-hid index card out of my bouquet. I begin, “Kyle, when I was in sixth grade, I found a note in my locker saying that you had liked me for two years. When I wrote my response, I didn’t know that I was writing my wedding vows.” A couple of uncertain laughs from our families. “So I stand before you today and read for you how I have felt for over 15 years.” I take a breath and read: “Kyle, you make me laugh like no one else, and while you are funny and always up for a good time, you can always tell when something is wrong. You will stand by me, stand up for me, and support me. I love that about you. I like you too, Kyle.” I pause reading from the card and look up. “Well, a little more than like.” Some laughs. “I will help you if you ever need it, I will play with you at recess and sit with you in the cafeteria.” More laughs; some sound teary. “I wrote that in the sixth grade, and I can still say that today. Our love has lasted this long; let’s keep it up. I love you, Kyle.”

The Priest smiles at me. “Thank you, Miss Conrad. May I have the rings?” Kyle’s nephew brings them up. “Thank you.”

Kyle slips mine onto my finger. It’s gorgeous; a rose-gold band with a diamond in the middle. I slip Kyle’s titanium band onto his ring finger.

“By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife.”


Dear Diary,

Thank you for so much more than I ever though I could’ve gotten out of some pages bound together.


Hadleigh Cardin

April 09, 2020 18:56

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Carille Durbin
05:58 Apr 16, 2020

I liked the story and how it was developed. This idea was a challenge because diary entries can get too self centered. You did a great job.


Paige Owen
15:19 Apr 17, 2020

Thanks, Janet! I appreciate that.


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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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