Sunny by Jason Reynolds

To the weirdos



Dear Diary,

It’s been a while. And because you’re back, because I brought you back (after spiraling your backbone back into place)—backity back back back—Aurelia, for some reason, feels like she needs to be introduced to you all over again. Like she don’t know you. Like she don’t remember you. But I do. So we don’t have to shake hands and do the whole “my name is” thing. But Aurelia might need to do that. Today she asked me if I still call you Diary, or if I call you Journal now. Or maybe Notebook. I told her Diary. I’ve always called you that. Because I like Diary. Notebook, no. And Dear Journal doesn’t really work the same. Doesn’t do it for me. Dear Diary is better, not just because of the double D alliteration action, but also because Diary reminds me of the name Darryl, so at least I feel like I’m talking to an actual someone. And Darryl reminds me of the word “dairy,” and “dairy” and “diary” are the same except for where i is. And I like dairy. At least milk. I can’t drink a lot of it, which you know, because it makes my stomach feel like it’s full of glue, which you also know. But I like it anyway. Because I’m weird. Which you definitely know. You know I like weird stuff. And everything about milk is weird. Even the word “milk,” which I think probably sounds like what milk sounds like when you guzzle it. Milkmilkmilkmilkmilk. I should start over.

Dear Diary, This is my start over.

Aurelia asked me how long it’s been since I’ve spoken to you. I told her, a while. When I was a little kid and was all yelly-yelly and Darryl wanted me to be more hushy-hushy, he gave me you and told me to put the noise on your pages whenever I felt like I needed to, which was all the time except for when I was running or sleeping. Told me to fold it up in you, so he could get some peace. So he could have quiet for concentration when we picked at our puzzles after work. Yes, Diary, we still do puzzles together. It’s still our way of, I guess, bonding. Anyway, after a while, my brain stopped pushing so much loud out of my mouth. Stopped noisey-ing up the puzzling. Thanks to you.

You know how a health bar makes you less hungry, but don’t really make you full? Diary, that’s what you are. A health bar. You take the hunger-growl out of my mind. And once I got to a place where the growl was pretty much a purr, I stopped writing in you. But now the volume on the growl is turning up again. And even though it’s being turned up, I can feel it working its way down, pushing behind my eyes, and marching over my tongue, ready to come out. And my father, well, he still doesn’t want to be disturbed. And I don’t want to disturb him and his work, and his newspaper, and definitely not the puzzles, because the puzzles are our time. So, Diary, thanks for still being a friend. Something for me to bite down on. Something for me to whisper-scream to. Because sometimes I have too many screams up there. And they boing boing in my brain boing boing in my brain like a jumping bean,

boing boing in my brain like a jumping bean

my brain a moon bounce at a party nobody’s invited to.

And now I can put them in you, again.

And now Aurelia’s asking me about it. About you. Asking me about journaling. No. Diary-ing. Which sounds like diarrhea-ing. Which is sorta the same thing. Aurelia told me she thinks it’s a good thing I’ve been writing again. Even wanted to make sure I understood that whatever I write down don’t have to make sense as long as it’s really me. Really my brain and heart stuff. And that’s a good thing, even though I already knew that, because making sense makes no sense to me. Sense should kinda already be made, right? It should already exist like love, or maybe sky. You don’t have to create it or choreograph it or nothing like that. At least I don’t think you do. So none of this has to make sense, it just has to make . . . me, me. I’m already me, but it has to make me . . . something. Make me quiet and calm, and maybe also make me brave enough to do what I’m going to have to do tomorrow at the track meet, which is probably not going to be quiet or calm. That’s the real reason Aurelia’s interested in you, Diary. She thinks I don’t know that, but I know. I know because I know she knows I’m scared. That’s why I brought you back. I’m so scared. And scared don’t sound like eek. Or gasp. Scared sounds like glass. Shattering.

Scared sounds like glass shattering.

Diary, after all these years, you ever not want to be written in? On? Am I writing on you or in you? Or both? And how does that make you feel? I’ve never really asked you that. You ever just want to stay blank? Just be paper or whatever you think you are? Because I know what that’s like. And tomorrow, my father will too.

Also, Aurelia called you a journal, but you’re a diary, so I will call you by your name.



Dear Diary, I know—at least I think I know—everything has a sound connected to it. Has a tick or a boom. Or something. Like a tickboom. Or a tick-tickboom. Or a tick-bada-bada-boom-bap-bap-ooh. Or a . . . I’m weird. I’m not really weird. I’m just . . . tickboom. Yeah.

It’s been three weeks, and something like 1,814,400 ticks since I was watching Patina watching Patina, watching Patina, tee-nuh, tee-nuh, tick-tick boom and come from behind and crush the last leg of her first 4x800 relay. Sounded like shum-swip!-shum-swip!-shum-swip!-shum-swip! all the way to the feta-feta-finish line. She was cheesin’, and the crowd . . . went . . . wild. Cushhhhh! Deja and Krystal and Brit-Brat went wild. Cushhhhh! Coach and Whit went wild. Curron and Aaron and Mikey went wild. Cushhhhhh! Cushhhhh! Ghost and Lu went wild. Threw their arms around me while Patty did some kind of power strut over to us, a winner. Wih-wih-winner. Wih-winner. Patty’s a winner. A big winner. Number tenner, and a grinner, a bleep bloop blinner, that’s not a word but I’m a beginner, not like Patty, Patty’s a winner, wih-winner.

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