Diary Pieces

by jkatejohnston

January 4

Dear Max,

Enzo: “Why do you think I’m so strong and fast?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Enzo: “Was I just born this way?”

Me: “I guess so. Also, you play a lot. That makes you strong.”

Enzo: “I can’t believe how—every part of me is accounted for. It’s like a puzzle. Every part of me fits together exactly.”

It must be fun to live in a body like that. A few days ago we played Monopoly on the bottom bunk. He put his bare feet on the window sill and grabbed onto the railing of the top bunk with one hand, so that his flat body was suspended sideways over the game. He rolled the the dice with his free hand, moving his piece, buying hotels—all while hanging there with monkey-like ease, as if gravity were nothing but a pleasure.

January 8

Dear Max,

When Teresa gives Enzo his allowance, they sit at the computer together and transfer the funds from our account to his. Enzo never sees the green money. He has direct-deposit. When he wants to buy something, Teresa pays for it and then transfers the money from his account back ours. He gets three dollars a week for clearing the table after dinner.

Last week he wasn’t around when Teresa was doing the banking, so she transferred his allowance without him standing by as witness. Later she told him that she’d transferred the money, and he asked how much he has in the bank right now. She told him.

“Darn it, that’s huge! I’m a rising empire!”

January 13

Dear Max,

This is reported second hand, but Teresa has a good memory. She and Enzo were in the car, and he said, “Do you ever think about your life?”

“I guess so. What do you mean?”

“Do you ever wish there were things about your life that you could change?”

“Um, sure. Do you?”


“Do you have regrets?”


“About what? School?”


“Does it have anything to do with girls?”

“No.” And he never told her.

When Teresa told me about it later she said, “He’s nine years old! What does he have to have regrets about?”

But I think: lots of things. It’s astounding how large and inaccessible kids’ lives are. I say that partly because I remember as a kid having a huge internal life, and it wouldn’t have occurred to me to call it secret, but no one knew anything about it. And when I see Enzo in the backyard, swinging on his one ring, in another world—I know it’s another world, and that’s all I know.