I Was Their Secret Keeper

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
I've always been the secret keeper. Now I wish I wasn't.

Submitted: January 12, 2013

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Submitted: January 12, 2013

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I started keeping secrets when I was six years old.  I started keeping things hidden because I knew that the truth, that knowing the secret, would cause more pain for people than if I just held on to them. So I kept them. I hid them away. I tucked them into my shoes and I walked with them, I slept with them at night  where they'd haunt me,  I had a box for them in my head that would shake and rattle when they tried to escape. I'd turn to them in my mind and say, "Sshh, secrets. No one can know about you." 

It wasn't until I was a little older that I realized I shouldn't have been keeping some of those secrets at such a young age at all. Those were secrets that belonged to adults, not children. But I continued to keep secrets. Don't we all? Some big, some little. We hide them from our parents, our siblings, we hide them from one friend but not the other. Why? Well, because we make secrets about each other. That's all a secret is. Something tainted about yourself or someone else. It's something that's supposed to hurt whether it gets found out or not. It's the dirty truth whispered in the ear of the secret keeper.  I became the secret keeper. 

I moved around a lot when I was a kid but there's one thing that stayed constant in every place I went.  I kept people's secrets for them. I don't know why they told me. I don't know what made me so trustworthy, but I was. I never told. Even the people who hated me, who bullied me and kicked me around, they knew. That girl. The freak. We can tell her things. And I never said no. Why would I? It was attention. Attention that wasn't about people calling me names or playing tricks on me. I craved those secrets. I wanted them more than anything.
"Tell me," I would say. "You can trust me."
"But you can't tell anyone. Really you can't. Do you promise?"
"Of course."
It never helped that I've always been such a curious person. I want to know everything desperately. I know there are answers and I want to find all of them. I loved it. I loved knowing things. I loved the fact that I knew things no body else ever did. I would hold the secrets over people's heads in my mind when they picked on me. I would think, "I know things you don't. Things about you and things about the people you love." And they would call me names, they would shout at me while I read on the swings, they would "accidentally" push me into walls, but hey...at least I knew a secret.
It was the same with my friends only these were people I cared about. I think I've gotten things out of people that they would never have shared with anyone in their entire lives if I hadn't come along. And it's always better when someone else knows, if you can trust them then it's like lifting the world from your shoulders. I know and you know. We can share the weight of it together.
I had grown ups tell me things too. I would smile at them, be innocent and smart and the next thing you know I was the proud owner of all kinds of gossipy news. "But Abby," they said. "I'm not supposed to tell you this so you can't tell anyone." I'd shrug and say, "Of course. I don't like anybody anyway so it doens't matter."
But those were the secrets of others. What about my own? Well let me tell you. I had a bucket full. Still do. I put them under my bed, push them into my sock drawer, stuff them into the back of my closet, and hide them in the words that I write. And most of these secrets...well let's just say they're not small. The very first secret I ever kept for someone, the one when I was six, became my own. Because it was information shared that I wasn't supposed to know or be any part of. Here I am right now saying that I've only ever told one person in my life about that secret. The part of it that was mine. I'm still to ashamed to talk about it. Some may say it's not be a big deal but it set me on a road I had no business being on and to me it was scarring.
But the secrets got bigger than that. So big. Huge. Secrets I wish I could tell you because I've been walking around with them and they're so heavy. They're heavy and obnoxious and painful. A person can only hold so much inside themselves before they fall apart. And it kills me because all these secrets were under my control. I didn't have to listen to people tell me things. I should have left it all alone but I didn't. I didn't have to make those mistakes or choices but I did and now it's like a disease inside of my soul. Because those secrets become lies and lies become someone else's truth and then the truth that is a lie goes in a circle and I watch it as people spout it back to me. I watch as people tell me about the truth that is a lie that I am responsible for. "Here," they say. "It's like this and it has been like this before." And all I want to do is scream, "No!" It is not like that. And it has not been like that before. It is different and it is more.
And my own secrets get used against me. They trap me. And I call them my own secrets because they are but some of them I share. Some of them are "our" secrets but it's so funny because when it all comes down to it, the other person will do anything not to have been a part of it. So, I'm left with it. I'm left to hold it in my belly and let it eat away at my insides. I'm left with all of the consequences and all of the blame. But no, don't worry. I'll be okay. I'm the secret keeper right? It's what I do. So please, 
Let me hold your secrets for you 
Let me put them next to mine
Then I'll be the one that suffers
While you go on and shine


© Copyright 2020 Rogan Wynter. All rights reserved.

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