Athena wanted to take the diary home and read it at her leisure, but everyone else was curious about it as well. They all pretended to ignore the cows, who were slowly approaching the group of people. All eyes remained on Athena as they moved out of the cows' way.
"OK, well, this first entry is dated October 5, of ... wait a minute. That can't be right. That's the year I was born. I was just a few months old when this was written."
"It looks a lot older than that," said Valeria.
"Well, maybe the man had it a long time, but didn't write in it," Carlo suggested.
"How do you know it was a man who wrote it?" asked David.
"Because it's a man's handwriting. Can't you tell?"
"How can you tell it's a man's handwriting if you can't read cursive?"
"Oh, for Pete's sake! Let her read the thing!" Taryn practically stamped her foot. In the meantime, though, Athena had been flipping through the book. Years of reading the ends of books ahead of time led her automatically to the diary's final pages. It was there that she found the envelope.
"What's that?" Yamileth, David's mother, came closer. Athena opened the envelope, and pulled out a folded letter and a photograph. Since the subject of her father had suddenly come up, she half expected it to be him, but it wasn't. The man in the photograph had darker skin, and wore a coat with the collar turned up and a hat. The coat looked thick, but otherwise along the lines of a trench coat. Basically, it was a city coat, not the sort anyone local would wear.
The man stood in the doorway of what could be a city apartment building -- but any city, anywhere. The number on the door behind him was 722. Athena opened the letter and read it.
"Dear Mrs. Rafferty,
Thank you for your recent hospitality. I'm not in any danger of starving soon, thanks to your great cooking. I'm sorry that I couldn't stay beyond your daughter's engagement party, but I'm pleased that I was able to attend that affair. I will be sure to call on your again when I next come to town.
Athena scowled as someone noted "You've got to be kidding me!"
Someone else added "What kind of letter is that?"
Even David added "Is that supposed to mean something?" Athena looked from the photograph to the letter and back again, sure that some sort of hidden meaning eluded her.
"Check the handwriting in the diary," her mother suggested. "Is it the same?"
"No, doesn't look like it." Athena was baffled, and only stopped staring at the letter and photograph when a cow bumped into her.