Calvin boarded the VIA train in Toronto, Ontario with his ticket and a briefcase in hand. His destination was Ottawa, Ontario where he was to be the keynote speaker at a zoologist convention. He had six hours to make it to Ottawa, check into the hotel, and arrive at the Shaw Centre.
He entered the lounge where men and women dressed in business attire sat with laptops, tablets, or other devices in hand, focused on the glowing screens. The car was nearly silent except for the sound of the metal wheels racing along the tracks.
Two leather-bound seats sat side-by-side with a small table in front of them. Upon the aisle seat, sat a black book with a plastic bookmark sticking out of it. On the cover was printed, “My Diary.” Thinking that someone would be returning to that seat soon, Calvin chose the window seat.
For ten minutes he waited, but still, nobody had returned. He continually glanced over at the black book that sat beside him, curious as to who it might belong to. When curiosity got the best of him, Calvin reached over and lifted the book. He flipped it open to the inside cover hoping to find a name, but there was none.
Two hours had passed, and still nobody came to claim the book, so Calvin took the initiative and started asking everyone in the lounge if they owned the book or happened to see who was sitting in the seat next to his, but no answers were to be found.
Returning to his seat, Calvin thought that if he read some of the diary, then perhaps he could find a clue as to who it belonged to. He opened to the first page and read.
March 20, 2022
Today is the beginning of a new life for me, which is why I decided to chronicle my feelings, adventures, interests, and such into this diary.
My life up until now has been difficult, between my parents divorcing and my break-up with Brad, I have been an emotional wreck. Some days I just wanted to end it all.
Calvin closed the book and wondered if he should be reading about this girl’s personal feelings, but if he didn’t, how would he ever find out who she was? He read on.
My friends try to be supportive, but they just don’t understand what I am going through emotionally. Then again, I think my best friend, Liz has a pretty good idea.
Anyway, enough about the negativity of my past, it is time for a fresh start. Like that quote by Carl Bard said, “Although no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.”
Calvin continued to read through several more entries but was still unable to find out the girl’s name or clues to where she lived. Her story, however, was beginning to become intriguing to him.
December 31, 2022
With most of the COVID-19 restrictions now lifted, I agreed to go out with Liz and a few other friends to bring in the New Year in style. We rented a limousine and took it to a club in downtown Toronto called “Call Her Juliet,” where the DJ was spinning the latest hip-hop and Top Forty hits all night.
I wore this gold minidress, while Liz and the other girls wore black. Needless to say, I stuck out in the crowd. There was a group of guys who were buying us drinks all night. I know that they were hoping to score with us, but the one who kept coming onto me was totally obnoxious. Our friend, Casey, however, found “Mr. Right Now,” and went home with him instead of us.
When the clock struck midnight, I was ready to run back home like Cinderella, but the girls wouldn’t let me leave until 2:00 A.M.
I am too tired to say anymore tonight…this morning, so I will say ciao for now. Goodnight.
Finally, a clue, Calvin thought. He knows that she likely lives in the Greater Toronto Area, but that covers quite a distance. It will still be like finding a needle in a haystack. He was sure that there were more clues to be found, so he continued to read.
Before he knew it, however, the train had pulled into the Ottawa train station, so he opened his briefcase and tossed the diary inside before exiting the train.
He had just over an hour to get checked in and make his way to the convention centre, so he hailed a cab and had the driver step on it so he wouldn’t be late. When he arrived at the convention, the organizer was at the front desk ready to greet him. His name was Robert Anderson, a renowned research scientist in Zoology.
Robert led Calvin toward the green room in the back so he could prepare for his presentation and asked him if there was anything he required before going on. All that Calvin requested was a cup of hot coffee and some quiet while he read over his speech.
The presentation went well. There were roughly 1,000 people in attendance inside the Trillium Ballroom, and other than forgetting to introduce himself in the beginning, he was able to get through the remainder of the speech without error.
Afterwards, Calvin spent the next hour shaking hands and answering questions with people in the crowd, while in the back of his mind, he was more interested in reading more of the diary that now laid upon the hotel bed, waiting for his arrival.
When he returned to his hotel room, he quickly showered and laid in bed, propped his head up with pillows, and opened the diary to the next entry.
January 2, 2023
I received some tragic news yesterday. My friend Casey was found in a hotel room, apparently overdosed. Her naked body was sprawled across the bed with a needle in her arm. In all the years I knew Casey, she was never one to do drugs like that. She could drink any man under the table, mind you, but never drugs. I am guessing that guy she went home with had something to do with her death.
The girls and I gave our statements to the police yesterday. I could barely get the words out at first, but I gave a description of each of the guys and the names that they gave us. Liz also had pictures that she took at the club. I hope they find this guy and he gets what’s coming to him.
The next few journal entries were sporadic, but one caught his attention.
March 18, 2023
It has been almost a year since I started these diary entries, and I have to say, there have been some ups and downs. They caught the guy that Casey left the club with and charged him with manslaughter. He was spotted at the same club trying to pick up another girl.
Liz and I decided to take a much-needed vacation out to Alberta and make our way along the Rockies. I have always wanted to see Lake Louise and Jasper in person. They look so beautiful in photos.
We will be taking the train out April 29th, and we should be returning on May 12th.
Calvin realized that May 12th was today, and that means they were on the same train, but she got off went he got on. He searched to see if there was more information. He was getting close, and it with so many things now running through his head, he couldn’t sleep.
The following day, Calvin was already up and dressed before his wake-up call arrived from the front desk. He helped himself to a bowl of cereal and croissants at the continental breakfast, then washed it down with two cups of strong coffee that left a bitter taste in his mouth for the journey back to the train station.
He popped a couple of mints into his mouth when in the cab and opened the diary once more while they drove. He came to the final entry and hoped it would guide him in the right direction.
May 12th, 2023
It was quite an adventure in Alberta, but I am happy to be heading back home to my little house on Bank Street. The wildfires in Alberta were out of control, and we were forced to cut our hikes short. I wasn’t even sure the trains would be running.
I feel bad for all the wildlife who live in those forests. So many will lose their lives, or at the very least, their homes.
Today is day two of our journey home, and I am beat. We should be arriving at Union Station in the next two hours. I feel like I have been gone for months. Liz would have stayed forever if they let us.
I think I will go to the zoo tomorrow for one last fun thing before I head back to work on Monday. I haven’t been since I was a teenager. Liz will likely want to spend the day sleeping. She loves her sleep!
That was it. There was no more information. He did find out that she lived on Bank Street, but also, that she was going to the zoo, the place that he worked. The question was, what time would she be there? Or even more importantly, how would he find her among the swarms of people who visit the zoo every day?
When he arrived back at Union Station, Calvin decided to head straight to the Toronto Zoo. The zoo opened at 9:30 a.m. and he should arrive soon after that.
As he parked his car in the employee parking lot, Calvin scanned the crowd that stood near the gate, trying to imagine who owned the diary. He then rushed inside to the office and asked them to read an announcement.
“Would the owner of a missing black book please report to the box office to reclaim your property.”
Nobody came to claim it, so they continued to repeat the same message each hour. At 2:30 p.m., a woman in her late twenties entered the box office. She had long, flowing golden blonde hair, and wore grey track pants and a light jacket over her grey ROOTS t-shirt.
She approached the desk and inquired about the book stating that it was her diary, and she had misplaced it, but she couldn’t understand how it could have been found there.
Calvin approached her and introduced himself. He told her that he was the one who found the diary and asked if she would like to sit down so he could tell her how he came about finding her.
The girl introduced herself as Wendy, and she accepted his invitation, curious to hear his story. Wendy was so impressed at what lengths Calvin went to find her and return the diary to her, that she overlooked the fact that he read about her personal thoughts.
He then offered to take her on a private tour behind the scenes of the zoo which she gladly accepted. They went into areas where only employees are permitted and got up close with some of her favourite animals.
After the tour, Wendy gave Calvin her phone number and asked him to give her a call sometime. She then went home and opened up her diary.
May 13, 2023
I met the most amazing guy today. His name is Calvin, and you won’t believe what he…