Two little girls sit in the schoolyard, huddled together like kittens from the same litter. Their identical white sneakers with silver glitter shoelaces make it difficult to discern which leg is whose, intertwined to make one lap wide enough to balance the array of milk bottles, Hostess snack cakes, and diaries. One girl opens her diary, keeping her eyes fixed on her friend. “You can’t say anything, okay?”
One boy walks into the locker room, looks for a place to drop his equipment in the hot, sweaty room. His friend is sitting alone on a bench on the far side of the room, not taking part in the usual banter. He joins him on the bench and asks what’s up. His friend’s eyes are clouded as he lifts his head and begins, “You can’t tell anyone.”
The book club ladies have known each other for over 20 years, so the conversation flows easily. They move from topic to topic seamlessly, until a moment comes when no one is speaking. One woman bites her lip, surveys the group, takes a sip of her wine. “So, I’ve got some news, but before I tell you, you have to promise this won’t leave our group.”
Secrets are everywhere, a part of our everyday atmosphere. They appear to be treasures, small gifts we share with only our most trusted friends. When we receive them, they are exciting, all-consuming, a bright new shiny object to consider from all angles.
Eventually, we realize we don’t really want to carry around this secret with all its sharp edges – but we are stuck with it now. We try to place it on a shelf in our mind, sometimes we even succeed in locking it in our mind’s cabinet.
But secrets somehow smolder and grow in our subconscious. And when you least expect it, they force themselves out into the world. They are living, breathing creatures beyond our control. We soon realize they have been the driving force of many of our life’s decisions.
It’s a very disturbing concept.
So, please, don’t tell anyone.