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Big City, Little Magics: The Would-Be Diary of Amygdala Wroth

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Somehow, I have taken it into my head that I want to be a diarist.

I don’t know where this desire came from. First hearing the word ‘autobiographer’ did nothing for me. Nor ‘memoirist’. Actually, I’m not remembering if I ever have heard the word ‘memoirist’. My mind is going so far as to blank on whether ‘memoirist’ is actually a word. I would look it up, but my dictionary is buried away in a box somewhere, I forget which of my jacket pockets currently holds my phone, and anyway, I’m driving. One cannot search through a lexicon and drive.

The word ‘diarist’, though. I came across it last year. Whom it was used to describe, I don’t recall. I probably couldn’t name five diarists off the top of my head. Anne Frank. A Wimpy Kid. That’s all I’ve got.

Obviously, I’m not in it for the fame.

Mind you, I have yet to begin writing a diary. The opportunity is there. Has been since I was a wee lass of seven or eight and my aunt started gifting me notebooks. Perhaps she saw my diarist potential. Perhaps she’s merely projecting her obsession with stationary onto me. Whatever the case, I’ve been making steady use of the notebooks. Just not as diaries. That will have to change if I’m to achieve my self-determined destiny.

I’m also going to first need to start living a life worth recording.

My first twenty-eight years of life have fallen sadly short of this goal. I have been worth writing about. (Maybe. Probably.) My experiences have not. Remarkably, I have managed not to experience anything at all resembling a rich outer life while holed away in my mother’s attic. Figure ye that.

But twenty-nine is on my horizon, and I am at last taking steps toward cultivating an existence of interest. Beginning with this drastic relocation from Mom’s place to The City.

The drive across the bridge is scenic enough to inspire a diary’s page in itself. The bridge itself, a geometric web of chocolate-colored steel. The mist-shrouded hills way out yonder, stacked with tiers of twinkly-windowed buildings, the stuff of travel calendars. And the water beneath… Mmm, the water… Appallingly, I haven’t the first clue how to write about water in a diary. My feelings for it would either come out too personal for even posthumous publication, too incoherent with feral passion, or both.

Maybe I’ll just throw in a lot of ellipses whenever water comes up in my writings. Surely any audience of mine would be bright enough to read between the lines.

A more immediate concern: The evening is getting dark. Not even evening, it’s barely five o’clock. Late autumn is a terrible time to drive into a strange urban area with half my worldly goods. I’m going to get lost. Miss all my vital turns. Never reach my destination. Which of my pockets hold my phone, again?

Steady on, now, Dame Wroth. You can do this. Focus up. Your lapis lazuli is still dangling from the rearview mirror, isn’t it? There you go. Lean in.

I forget off the top of my head which spiritual properties are associated with lapis lazuli. Past Me, however, thought them applicable enough to navigating the road that she made sure I’d never be in the car without it. With a nod of gratitude for her, I meditate single-mindedly on the address I’m after. “Keep me on the straight and narrow, friend,” I request of the gemstone. “Or on the queer and broad, if that’ll get me there any faster.”

Call me a technophobe, but I’ll trust any of my gemstones to have my back over a GPS with unknown loyalties eight days a week.

Finally, finally, I reach my destination. Many thanks to my pretty blue rock, zero thanks to a malevolent legion of one-way streets, oddly angled intersections, and a cavalier lack of clear signage. If photographs are to be believed, it’s an attractive building in daylight. Tall and narrow and wildly pink and green, with Spanish-inspired ironwork around the windows. In the dark, I’m mostly hung up on the fact that the apartment on which I’m here to stake a claim is up two external flights of steps. Also, I haven’t been given instructions on where to park. I’ll try my luck in the driveway. Lights off, engine off, and off I go with two arms full of baggage to meet my new roommate.

The door flies open while I’m still half-a-flight of stairs down. Cast in dramatic silhouette from the light behind, the figure snarls menacingly: “Do you need any help carrying your stuff?”

“If you could help me get some of these duffles and totes off my shoulders once I’m inside, that’d be great, thanks.”

The silhouette steps aside to let me pass through the doorway, glaring balefully all the while. Still, I get the duffle and tote assistance I asked for, plus an extra set of arms for the next three loads from my hatchback. It’s not until we deposit the last boxes onto the entryway’s purple-and-gold rug and the door is locked to the early-dark night that I receive a grim impersonation of a smile.

“So,” says my roommate. “You are Amygdala Wroth.”

“And you,” I return, “must be Couch.”

Dragons always have the most peculiar names.