Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Secret Keeper

I am a Keeper of Secrets. People always tell me their most hidden innermost hush-hush stuff. My theory is it’s because I’m fat. Fat people are like Switzerland. Innocuous. Neutral. Unlikely to cause a stir. Since I was a small child, I have kept other people’s secrets in sparkly coloured jars in my room. The jewel encrusted green jar was home to the story of Tina pulling the arms off her favourite doll, then blaming her sister. Later, it kept the secret of Jo’s mother’s latest trip to the hospital, which had nothing to do with her breaking her arm and everything to do with the litre of scotch she drank before fetching the kids from school. The ruby red jar held lust secrets. How Lance lusted after Roger, his sister’s boyfriend, how Elise was secretly seeing Tracey’s ex without her knowledge, how Jarred was selling dope to make enough money to pay for the earrings he promised Lisa. The flaming yellow jar was for secrets of cowardice – how Elaine faked an epileptic fit to get out of running the school marathon, how Rodney left his best friend bleeding in his garden after hitting him in the head with a rock, how Rowan blamed Kevin for the home bomb they made even though it was his idea in the first place.

I kept all these secrets tight, tending to them regularly, making sure the jars that held them were secure.

But the funny thing about secrets is that, before long, someone (usually the person who gave me the secret for safe keeping) would sneak into my room late at night and open the jars, letting the secrets out. There was the inevitable aftermath. Accusations, tears, break-ups. And from me, relief. The secret was no longer mine to keep. Even then, I feigned ignorance. Third parties would tell me the stories in all their sordid details and I would act out my surprise and shock. I would never have guessed, I’d tell them. I always suspected, they’d tell me, unconvincingly.

But the problem with being a Keeper of Secrets is that you get used to putting things in sparkly jars. You get used to closing those jars very tight and never opening them. You get used to pretending not to know what you know. And for every jar of Other People’s Secrets I owned, I had ten of my own. Mine never got opened for air. Mine were never broken into in the night. Mine remained so tightly sealed that if I were to open them now, the pressure would make them explode in my face. Also, I know for a fact that worms hatched in the jars and grew fat living off the juice of my secrets. Everyone knows what you should never do with a can of worms, let alone a whole jar...

The secret I am now holding must come out. But I am scared. Of what people will say and how it will hurt me and them. Of how to tell it. And mostly, of the secret itself. It’s a big, life changing one. It’s very beautiful, but also very frightening. And while I have it in my jar it’s still pure and clean and mine. Who knows what sort of horrors it will be exposed to when it’s let out? My cocoon of denial is warm and snug and, although it’s getting pretty tight in here, it’s a place I know and trust.

I glance at this secret in its bright pink jar. I feel the lid to see if it’s ready to be loosened…


Blogger Ova Girl said...


You had me at hello.

PS. What are you, Suspense Queen? Those jars are made for smashing I say!


11:57 am  
Blogger Mommy Drinks said...

Awesome writing. Sounds like the start of a novel.

6:02 am  
Blogger Lin said...

I really liked the way you wove your tale in this one, too. The Secret Keeper, by Yidchick. I can see it now.

2:05 pm  
Blogger Stacey said...

Great writing! I feel the same way about a big secret I am keeping myself right now. VERY scared to let it out.

7:31 pm  
Blogger Ova Girl said...



*taps fingers impatiently*

2:55 pm  

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