The Secret Keeper

“If you could just hold on to this for me,” is what you so gently asked that windy day back in July when the sun and the moon graced the sky simultaneously for some time. The sky held the sun and the moon so beautifully as it sat in neither day nor night. No one wanted to go inside, except for you that is. “You see, I have a lot of baggage, and I just don’t know where to put it all.”

I tried telling you that there was not enough space for your things, that I was already full to capacity. “Just a couple more things can’t hurt,” you kept saying. But you shouldn’t have been the one to decide that. You knew that then, didn’t you? But you didn’t care. “Please,” you begged. Red veins, etched with stress and sadness, filled your eyes. You were lost; and my heart inevitably ached for you, just like it always does for your kind.

“I could pay rent if you’d like.” But you knew, just as well as I, that was pointless to even say, merely offered out of courtesy to some societal script that I refused to believe I followed, but that in actuality, enslaved me. “Don’t be ridiculous.” You smiled. “What kind of friend do you take me for?” That made you laugh, and I was glad that I could do that for you.

“Only one night,” is what you promised me. “Tomorrow, my stuff will be gone.” You simply needed a pit stop to lighten your load, and I was happy to be that for you. “Keep it here as long as you’d like,” I stupidly said, because that’s how I was raised; this is all I know.

And so you did. One night turned into one week, turned into one month, turned into one year. And I kept your things for you, just as you had asked of me. I sat with your baggage, piled high from wall to wall as I struggled to fit in my own home. Your baggage displaced me, but I was glad to see you rid of it. I was happy you were happy. I was happy you were free.

It was that hot day in July, when you couldn’t step outside without a trail of mosquitoes clawing at your skin, that you came knocking on my door. When you hugged me, I realized just how completely weightless you had become. “You look tired,” is what you said to me. But you didn’t have time to talk. “I’ve just come to get my things,” is what you said.

“Where will you keep them?” I asked. “Oh this junk? I had almost forgotten I even left this here.” You laughed as though that baggage were an old joke that you were becoming reacquainted with on the streets of a town that you had surely outgrown. “I’m so much better off now, can’t you see?” But I realized that I hadn’t really seen much of you in the past year. You got angry when I pointed that out to you. You dismissed it, much like you dismissed your baggage.

Right before you left, you turned to me and said, “I can’t wait to get rid of all this trash.” And I was happy for you, even as I tirelessly scrambled to rearrange the now gaping hole that your once precious baggage filled.

What I wanted to say to you is that I kept your baggage despite the inability to manage my own. What I wanted to say to you is that despite the ease with which you threw everything away, I carry the remains of your baggage with me everywhere I go. But I said nothing. I simply smiled and closed the door. And you inevitably left me for bigger and better things as I sat alone feeling empty and used. TC mark

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