the secret

Day 8 :: The Secret

prompt from

how complicated a secret can be, especially when it is known to everyone and said to no one.

my father golfed with the pastor, my mother sang in the choir, i wore white cotton gloves, did what i was told and attended confirmation. it breaks me open to say i can’t remember my two younger brothers.

she sang with his mother in choir as well as the other woman, all together like the trinity, walking down the red carpeted center aisle. his parents (a little snooty) were best friends with her parents (owners of an ice cream joint). or at least that is how lore goes. churches can do that. they can make social friends out of anyone. i think he may even have sung with them, but that is part of the trickiness of my memory, of untold stories, of pretense, of trying to be good enough.

i remember sneaking home one night, walking from the park, following the winding backstreet, up the red cement stairs, through the iron gate to the back door. there was a tiny porch-light, i’m not sure if it was on the wall or lit from above. the door was locked. i couldn’t believe i was locked out of my own home. i was too young then to have made a backup plan, which came later in life when i would shimmy up the clothes line, cross the garage roof and climb in through my brothers bedroom window without anyone knowing.

that night though, standing outside of my home, he was the one that let me in. in the darkened house i saw him come from my parents room, turn right and walk through the dining room, into the kitchen in his white skivvies.

as an adult the dates and houses and events have been documented by my brother. but as a child, as a kid, as a teenager, i didn’t really remember when my father left. the summer we were at the lake we returned and he was gone. i’m not sure when the other moved in or when they married. one day he was there. he never left. then we moved. then his three sons came and we became the Brady Bunch, all boys, one girl.

then the baby was born, two months early. whatever that means.

early October, 1967 my 35 year old mother gave birth to a son.

we didn’t talk about it. the secret was set.

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