The Secrets We Choose To Share

Yeah, I have secrets. Not just one, two or three but somewhere close to a hundred. Not sure how or why it happened, but I know that it did.

Some of it is just because of how I was raised and some of it is just how it works, life that is.

People have secrets, even those who say they don’t really do. They might not realize it but if you ask the right questions you’ll stumble upon them.

Most of my secrets aren’t really important. You wouldn’t call them important but for the request of another. They are secrets I share.

Perhaps the reason they aren’t important to me is because they aren’t mine. Maybe it is a mischaracterization to lay claim to them. Maybe it is more accurate to provide a different answer.

I don’t really know and I don’t think it matters. I keep them because they are important to the people who asked me to put them in my vault. Those requests come from people I love and hold close to my heart so I treat their secrets like my own.

But the few secrets I call my own are big. They are huge and at times they have made me wonder what I got myself into.

There is one that sits in the middle of the ring that Frost wrote about. It stares at me with eyes that cut through the poker face I try to maintain.

It demands my attention and asks for a declaration of intention. This is not something I can just ignore or forget. It requires more because to pretend it didn’t exist is to dishonor it and that I cannot do.

For a long while I have ignored my gut and the knowledge that one day the secret would break free of the shackles I placed upon it and force me to face it.

I don’t want to say I am afraid of it because fear is a weakness and men don’t like to be weak.

Yet the only way to figure out why it bothers me is to look at it during the daylight hours. The day is coming when I’ll do that and then we’ll find out if what I sense is real and discover if I am going to end up where I always suspected I would be.

It is hard to imagine it going any other way than that but not for lack of imagination or effort.

I did my part to keep my side of the street clean and dedicated my efforts to tending the garden we planted but sometimes life has other plans.

Don’t ask me to tell if it is fate, karma or coincidence because the how and why don’t matter as much as the what.

There are some things that you can’t ever outrun.

Some Stains Can’t Be Washed Away

More than twenty years later I am lying in the dark holding the phone in my hand listening to your voice- wondering how you found my number and why you called.

My heart is pounding and my mouth is dry. I feel like my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth.

“I am in trouble and I need your help. They’re back.”

And then the other memories hit me like a torrent of water and I remember why I had to walk away from the woman I planned to marry.

Twenty-five years ago the boys and I graduated from college and decided to travel around the world.

We started in London and gradually made our way through Europe and hop scotched around a couple of continents flipping between Asia and Africa.

The plan was to follow our hearts and go wherever they took us, regardless of whether it made sense. Logic was for school and since we were out of school we ignored it. Took a freighter one direction and then hopped on a plane in the reverse two days later.

Time was meaningless and so was money.

That was because of my friend The Duke. His real name was Chadwick, but he preferred to be called Chad.

It is a tossup as to whether he hated being called The Duke more than he disliked being called Chadwick.

The Duke came from old money. He grew up on a monstrous estate and lived a life out of a movie. His graduation gift was control of a trust worth in excess of $100 million.

So money wasn’t a problem and neither was time. The only real problem we had was that we were young dumb and stupid,

Took a trip to city in Thailand called Phuket only because it looked to us like it was pronounced “Fuck It.”

Our time in “Fuck It” was punctuated with lots of moments that should have gotten us arrested. Somehow the members of the great fraternity of young, dumb and stupid managed to avoid those particular problems.

Things didn’t get crazy until we were in Paris. It had to be Paris. I didn’t like the city, didn’t want to be there and would have happily skipped it.

But Young, Dumb and Stupid was overruled by the power of the penis. Yep, young horny men met girls and got dumber, or maybe I should spell it dumberer because it was really bad.

I still have the letter that started it all. A handwritten note with flowing cursive letters and heart dotted ‘I’s sent by the girl who Chadwick swore would be his.

If the jerk hadn’t been thinking with his dick he might still be here to help me figure out what to do now.

This letter is a stain that I want to wash away, but I can’t. I had just begun to believe that maybe it was over but now I see I was wrong.

I dumped a trunk somewhere under the desert sky and now I need to find it.

Need to find it because I need to confirm that what was intentionally lost will never be found. Need to find it to confirm that it cannot be found.

Part of me can’t help but laugh out loud because I said this would happen. I knew that it was a mistake and now I want to kick myself for not forcing the issue way back when.

I let them convince me that I was being paranoid and that the desert knew how to keep a secret.

It is possible they were right.

It is possible they are still right but the problem is we can’t say with the sort of certainty that would make me comfortable that it is true.

And now a quarter century later when I have a 1000 times more to lose than I did then I have to figure out where my loyalties lie and decide what to do.

The funny part is that I don’t have to ask the question because I know what the answer is. The choices I made then aren’t bound or restricted by…anything.

There is no statute of limitations to rely upon.

And even if I were willing to think of hiding that is not an option.

Guess I better find my passport and start thinking real hard about what comes next because when it comes it will come in a hurry.

First Published here