Tag: Secret

SECRET: The Secret Becomes Known by G. Ackman

Word: SECRET
Word Count 450
The Secret Becomes Known
by G. Ackman
It started out with minor incidents. Ones that happen to everyone. Ones that they would share a laugh about. Like when he could not find his keys anywhere. They looked high and low, then gave up and got the extra set. When she started to pack her lunch, she grabbed the ice pack from the freezer to put in her lunch bag, and there were his keys. He was embarrassed, but she just waved her hand. We all do those things, she told him. I once got in the passenger seat when I came out of the grocery store. I sat there for a few minutes before it dawned on me that I was driving. They laughed and moved on.
But then it became more frequent, more disruptive, more worrisome. He could not remember their grandson’s name. He no longer knew how to make coffee. He left the car running when he came back from the store. After that, she hid his keys and when he said he wanted to go somewhere, she enthusiastically wanted to go there too, and never mind, I’ll drive, she would say. Soon, his long habit of getting in the driver’s seat was replaced with him getting in the passenger seat.
She never said anything to him or to anyone else; she just quietly made sure that his life ran smoothly. She covered over his mistakes and filled in the gaps for him when he could not find the proper words. She allowed him his dignity, the greatest gift she could give.
But now, she was gone. She had kept his secret all those years and now she was gone. He stood in the middle of the room holding the red and gray….what was it?…oh yes, shirt. That was it. Shirt. He looked at it and could not see how to put it on. He picked up the phone. She had programmed all the special numbers in it and worked with him until it was second nature for him to push 1 to call her. 2 for their son. 3 for help. He looked at the phone, its numbers mocking him for a moment until he reached out a gnarled finger toward the keypad. He would call her. She would come in and help him and then maybe they could have a peanut butter cup. Those he remembered.
His finger hovered over the one, but then the kernel of himself that remained at the core of his being recognized that she would not answer and moved his finger to the 2. As he listened to the distant rings, a single tear trickled down his cheek.
At his son’s hello, he quietly said, “I need help.”

SECRET: The Secret Becomes Known by G. Ackman

Word: SECRET

Word Count 450

 

The Secret Becomes Known

by G. Ackman

 

It started out with minor incidents.  Ones that happen to everyone.  Ones that they would share a laugh about.  Like when he could not find his keys anywhere.  They looked high and low, then gave up and got the extra set.  When she started to pack her lunch, she grabbed the ice pack from the freezer to put in her lunch bag, and there were his keys.  He was embarrassed, but she just waved her hand.  We all do those things, she told him.  I once got in the passenger seat when I came out of the grocery store.  I sat there for a few minutes before it dawned on me that I was driving.  They laughed and moved on.  

 

But then it became more frequent, more disruptive, more worrisome. He could not remember their grandson’s name.  He no longer knew how to make coffee.  He left the car running when he came back from the store.  After that, she hid his keys and when he said he wanted to go somewhere, she enthusiastically wanted to go there too, and never mind, I’ll drive, she would say.  Soon, his long habit of getting in the driver’s seat was replaced with him getting in the passenger seat.

 

She never said anything to him or to anyone else; she just quietly made sure that his life ran smoothly.  She covered over his mistakes and filled in the gaps for him when he could not find the proper words.  She allowed him his dignity, the greatest gift she could give.  

 

But now, she was gone.  She had kept his secret all those years and now she was gone.  He stood in the middle of the room holding the red and gray….what was it?…oh yes, shirt.  That was it.  Shirt.  He looked at it and could not see how to put it on.  He picked up the phone.  She had programmed all the special numbers in it and worked with him until it was second nature for him to push 1 to call her.  2 for their son.  3 for help.  He looked at the phone, its numbers mocking him for a moment until he reached out a gnarled finger toward the keypad.  He would call her.  She would come in and help him and then maybe they could have a peanut butter cup.  Those he remembered.

 

His finger hovered over the one, but then the kernel of himself that remained at the core of his being recognized that she would not answer and moved his finger to the 2.  As he listened to the distant rings, a single tear trickled down his cheek.

 

At his son’s hello, he quietly said, “I need help.”  

SECRET: Secret By Anne Nassar

Word:SECRET

Word Count 324

Secret

By Anne Nassar

Her husband had been dead for ten years. And he had been unconscious for the two years prior to his death. So, she had been a widow for a long time. She was reminded of him daily. He had been a very famous man, and so people were constantly writing to her, telling her that they had referenced his work in their book or article or dissertation. But it was her grandson Alek that brought him to mind most often.

Generally, her grandchildren were attractive and stupid – they took after their mothers. But Alek was intelligent, and his mind worked like his grandfather’s. He disassembled and rebuilt machines for fun, he taught himself languages, he played the piano by ear.  Also like her late husband, he was melancholy.

She knew a bit about sadness, herself.The trick, she often repeated to Alek, is never to be idle. Always be working on something. She tried to take her own advice.She painted every morning from dawn until noon. She did not allow anything to interrupt her, not the phone, not the doorbell. Though she had studied watercolor painting for several years, and knew how to compose a picture, whenever she chose what to represent, it was a complete failure.

And so, each morning, she would prepare her palette, renounce her will, and enter a trance-like state where she watched as her right hand painted. The resulting images were of places she’d never been. She liked to think that her spirit travelled and sent back postcards.

But then, her spirit somehow found her ancestral home, and it began to return there obsessively. She did not want to see the small, dank rooms of the thatched roofed house. Or the kitchen that smelled of decaying vegetable matter. Or even the chimney where the storks nested. There is no one there, she told her spirit. It was looking for something.

You won’t find it, she told her spirit.

 

SECRETS: Legacy of Lies By Peg Scarano

Word:  Secret

Word Count: 491

 

Legacy of Lies

By Peg Scarano

 

Whoever prophesized, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” was wise beyond their years.  Have you ever thought about all of the lies we have told our children that they will most likely continue to tell to their children?

 

Let’s start with the tooth fairy.  When I was little, the tooth fairy gave me a dime for regular teeth and a quarter for molars.  When my kids were little, they got dollars for all of their teeth.  Remember how we had to stay awake long enough for them to be sleeping so deeply we wouldn’t wake them when we shoved our cold hands under their warm pillows searching for that tiny piece of enamel and then replaced it with a crisp dollar bill while trying not to wake them?  And, making sure when you disposed of the tooth, it was hidden deep in the garbage pail so they didn’t accidently find it.  Or, God forbid, you kept the little treasure in a memory book and they found it years later and put you through third degree guilt by asking you why you stole from the Tooth Fairy?

 

And how about that Easter Bunny?  It was our family tradition to visit my sister-in-law and her family every Easter weekend which meant we had to get all three girls out of the house (usually they went with their dad to fill the car up with gas).   I, meanwhile, made up some lame excuse about having to stay home a few more minutes to finish packing or feed the cat or some other ridiculous lie.  In reality, I spent 20 minutes running around the house like a lunatic hiding Easter eggs and placing three pretty Easter baskets on the fireplace so when we got home Sunday night, they knew the Easter Bunny hadn’t forgotten them.

 

And then there is Santa…When Jenny was ten, Julie six and Emily one, I felt the need to be proactive so she wouldn’t inadvertently ruin Christmas for her little sisters.  It was time to share the big Santa secret with my oldest child.  Mistake.  Big mistake.  Jenny was absolutely devastated.  She had no idea at all that Santa was a sham.  I back-pedaled as best I could and tried to explain that Santa is really the “spirit” of Christmas and he lives in all of our hearts forever, but she would have none of it.  She sobbed for the longest time and to this day, whenever the subject comes up, she will give me a frightening scowl and remind everyone that her mom ruined Christmas for her when she was only ten.

 

So now Jenny is going to have her own little baby boy – I can only hope I live long enough to see how she, in her own infinite wisdom, passes on our legacy of lies to her little boy.  God bless the Tooth Fairly!  Happy Easter!  And Merry Christmas to all!      

 

SECRET: Untitled By B.A. Sarvey

Word:  Secret

Word Count 489

Untitled

By B.A. Sarvey

These are not my thoughts. These are not my words. This story—this secret—belongs to someone else. I will tell you, but you must promise not to tell. I also promised not to tell. The funny thing about secrets is, human nature dictates that we share them. A secret, untold, eats away at us, like a worm inside an apple, leaving the skin unblemished while the flesh within is destroyed.

Scandalous, the secrets some people have.

What is a secret? Something others cannot know: hidden information about joyous surprises; a locked box hiding bad decisions. Enticing. Too interesting to keep to oneself—whether it is our own or someone else’s. Things that make guilt fester, threatening to explode without an outlet. Things that make us burst with happiness—willing to spoil the moment of revelation in order to fulfill a personal need.

Secrets are almost as good as rumors.

The secret in my heart is as sullen as the sky that hovers, ashen, above black tree skeletons whose bony fingers reach out to dine on crisp leaves littered across the white tablecloth of snow. It blankets me, yet chills me to the bone—smothers me, fills my lungs with oxygen-starved blood. My brain screams out for release, relief, someone to share this thing with.  They say three people can keep a secret—if only one is alive. Are you certain you want to hear? I once watched a man die and did nothing to stop it. Does this shock you? Make you yearn for lurid snapshots secreted away in my memory? Perhaps you want to know who the man was, how he died, and why I stood by. Is this a secret? If so, is it mine?  I know it, but it might belong to another. I told you, these are not my words. But perhaps I lied before. Perhaps I am lying now. Are you the third person to know? Will you be the next to die?

This secret, if indeed it is a secret, and the unknowable information behind it, is only one of many things I have been privy to throughout my lifetime.  Are you afraid of sharing my knowledge? We could trade secrets, if you like. What—you must own a secret or two. Not willing to share? Please do not back away—I spoke in jest about dying. And the man—that was real enough, but had nothing to do with secrets and was not a secret itself. I only told you to unburden myself of something that makes me feel uncertain, uncomfortable; and to gauge your reaction to shocking statements.

The thing I know, the thing I must own, the thing I cannot share, I swallow whole, like a dusky purple Damson plum. It sticks in my craw—it will not go down and it will not come up. I will choke and die on this secret. But I will never tell.

 

SECRET: Untethered Moon By Mike Cecconi

Word: SECRET

Word Count 495

Untethered Moon

By Mike Cecconi

 

There are the things in your life you regret then there are the things in your life that you miss and you rue and you feel bad about but you don’t exactly regret them. The things you learned from and wouldn’t take back but know you also grew out of or, anyway, that also out-grew you.

 

The girl with the rich curly mane of hair like a bottle of ice-cold root beer that could never finish overflowing no matter how long the Lord God let it remain unstopped. The woman with the Irish freckles as if her skin were cappuccino foam flecked with cinnamon sprinkles on top. Or the one with the hazel almond-shaped eyes and the mathematically perfect derriere. Or the one who was six foot tall and yet seemed to somehow also possess seven-foot long legs. Sometimes you find a book on weird conspiracy theories you borrowed from one of them at the back of the drawer. Or maybe a hair-comb unmoored when you finally moved that old cat-scratch-mangled couch.

 

When your tastes in the opposite sex run toward the unstable genius, you find your life littered with little secrets like that. Ticket stub from an avant-garde art show. A half-full tin of candies all shaped like Pac-Man. Pac-Men? It all comes back to you in scents and in tokens, in little bits of history adrift in the loose change cup next to your keys

 

You wouldn’t want her back, of course, she left you because her family offered to pay off her student loans if she left you, you the untethered art-bum with the big ideas and the Swiss-cheese resume but still. You wouldn’t go back to her but wouldn’t undo the past either. Before it was bad, it was really good once, so you hold on to the tiny secrets that remind you of the wonders without hanging onto the trauma. She stole the car when she left, for Christ’s sake, but still.

 

Even the things that you didn’t even consciously pick up then, that were background noise in the day but come into sharp relief now. The mint of the chapstick she wore on her lips. The steam from her favourite tea in some stranger’s hand at the coffee shop. The faint chemical sting of her deodorant brand on someone else’s body, there, in a slow elevator at shift chance. You didn’t notice the label back then but years later now that it’s over, you’ve put together what it was.

 

Secret. She covered her sweat up in Secret. Store-bought coupon-clipped Secret. From shower to sleep, she demurred her true self in a thin layer of Secret. You never even thought to ask back then though now that it is years dead and over, now you know. That’s what she wore, she always wore Secret.

 

There are things that you miss but you don’t regret. But you still miss them, in a weak moment, in a grocery store, here and there.

SECRET: Once upon a Time By Sally Madison

Word: SECRET

Words: 485

Once upon a Time

By Sally Madison

 

Eleanor looked at her newborn baby wrapped in a tiny blanket, as she rocked him gently.  He was her own little knight in shining armor.  “I’m going to tell you a story, my love, so that you can never say that I didn’t tell you, and I can say: ‘I told you, you must have forgotten,’ for I will never tell you, again.” He paid no attention.  With eyes closed, he sucked ferociously.

 

“Once upon a time, there was a mother who ran a school for the deaf and blind, and a father who was a riverboat pilot.  They had three little girls who were very happy.  One day, a terrible tornado came and the father was killed, while rescuing a runaway boy.  The mother took the little boy in and treated him like her son.  She paid so much attention to the boy that she ignored her girls.  The oldest daughter was especially inclined to music and went away to college, never to return. The second was her mother’s pet, and worked as a teacher in her mother’s school. The youngest girl grew up, but was very sad and very angry at being orphaned, physically by one parent and emotionally by the other.  Then, the youngest girl fell in love with a handsome man. She thought he was perfect and he would be her way to escape from the family she believed did not lover her, any more. So, she ran away with the handsome man. But before she did, she did a very terrible thing.  She was so angry with her mother, sisters and that boy… she stole the family jewels.”

 

“That’s when bad things began to happen.  The handsome man had deceived her into thinking that they would get married. But, he had lied to her and left her to fend for herself.  He took the jewels, only leaving the draw string bag to remind her of her shame.”

 

“So now, my baby Tommy, it is our secret. Only you and I know.  Life has not been easy for your mother, and she’s made some bad decisions.” Eleanor’s face began to frown, both with regret of her actions and those of the handsome man who had deserted her six months ago.  

 

She had a good childhood and was financially secure, but she threw it away – one bad decision after another. Fortunately, she was hired as a housekeeper by Joseph Rigby, a widower with two small children, a little boy and a little girl. At least now, she and her baby would have family to love them, even if they lived in a shabby hut, and Joe was a poor farmer.

 

With hope in her heart, she continued, “God willing, things will work out for us. We will start by going back to church every week and, after that, we’ll just have to see what God has in store for us.”

 

SECRET: Sharing By Sharon Collins

Word: SECRET

Word Count 493

 

Sharing

By Sharon Collins

 

Nearing the sea, I remove the loop from Sister, as she no longer wants to leave me.  We have shared much on our journey.  I know her true name now; it is not a sound I can make with my mouth. It is much prettier when she sings it. Her name means the same as the Clan’s word for Snow-Moon.  

 

Snow no longer falls in the lands of the Clan, but the Wiseman tells tales of dark and brutal winters from the time of the great, great, grandfathers.  When the snow was about to fall, the Clan would heed the Snow-Moon’s misty warning and stay close to the caves. He says the Warrior-Men of the Endless-Ice however, must still battle the deep snows and terrible storms.  Mother told me stories of the same, but added the courageous deeds of the Ice-Maidens and their white wolves.  Oh how I longed to be one when I was younger.  “Mother,” I whisper to the salt-breeze rising from the sea-grass, “Look at me! I have a white wolf…Perhaps someday, I will….”

 

My words clot in my throat as we reach the top of the dune.  In the distance, gather the women of the Clan.  They are harvesting; I can hear the crack and clatter of stone upon shell.  Dropping to the sand, I pull Sister close.  She senses my terror and begins to whine.  “Silence,” I beg.  “Danger,” I warn.  She stills.  We wait, finally drifting into sleep cradled by the warm sand as the tide turns, sending the women away.  I wake as the last disappears carrying her clay bowl.

 

Drooling at the memory of the clam’s juicy sweetness, I tickle Sister’s belly to wake her and we race to the water’s edge.  Spotting a telltale bubble hole, I dig.  Sister quickly understands and digs too.  When we have enough for our meal.  I ask her to stand guard against the greedy gulls and climb the cliff-path.   Soon we are feasting.  Full and happy for the first time since Mother left, I lead Sister along the shore away from the Clan’s Sand.    There are many empty caves and not all fill with salt-water when the waves are high.   I will find one for us, and we will settle.  

 

Hours later, a bright flames warm our small cave as Sister and I lie on the brindled fur of her mother.  She dreams puppy dreams and I watch the moon rise.  Her pale face, crossed occasionally by an arrow of honking birds, saddens me.  I do not believe I will journey to the Great Gathering of Clans, as I have nothing to trade.  But I will next summer.  I will harvest the precious salt to bring with much dried-fish.   I will also make more sewing tools.  “We will be most welcome,” I speak aloud waking Sister, who sings her name to the moon.  I join her, singing my own true name, “Yy-Sha…” Sisters, we keep nothing secret now.