March 31, 2013

In high school my best friend and I went to a Post Secret event where brave souls stood to tell everyone else their deepest desires and fears. I sat in my chair, worrying that they’d drag me from it and force me to a microphone where they’d wring from me the admission that I was unhealthily addicted to romance literature in a way that made its effects as damaging as pornography. It made me hate myself. That was my secret.

My best friend told me that she’d tell me hers if I told her mine. Walking across the sheet-white linoleum floors of the Taggert Student Center, she told me, not looking at me, that the only reason she liked black licorice is that her grandfather loved it, and when he passed away, she didn’t want that to pass away, too. She looked unblinkingly at me, and I didn’t say a word. We sat at the bus stop in pouring rain and drowning silence, and I didn’t say a word, humiliated and ashamed. As our ride pulled up to the curb and drove us to her house, rain pouring against the windows, I scribbled a secret on the edge of a Statesman copy. 

My worst fear is being alone

It wasn’t true back then, not entirely. I was used to being alone, being recluse, finding comfort and dissatisfaction between the pages of another book. Being alone was entirely natural to me. I only wrote it because I didn’t want her to know how ashamed I was of myself. 

We moved on, she and I, and I discovered that her biggest secret wasn’t that she liked black licorice or that she ate it for her grandfather. She had a lot of other things she never told people. I developed another secret, too, a secret that didn’t come from reading too many novels. I learned it:  

When I listened to the way Two sang hauntingly alongside The Black Keys. 

When I listened to One’s favorite song and it described our relationship. 

When I listened to the way Four’s tongue rolled over Bon Iver’s name when he said it. 

When we sat in his car in the rain as he explained a song about a man who was left by every girl he ever loved, and when he nonchalantly tapped his fingers against the steering wheel and said, “Story of my life.”

When I listened to Kei$ha’s “Die Young” on the radio for the billionth time, not because I liked it, but because it was the last song Four and I ever listened to and I loved how awful it made me feel.

When I listened to Tegan and Sara yesterday —

Go, go, go if you want
I can’t stop you
Go if you want
I can’t stop you

Go (Please stay)
Go (Please stay)

My new secret? 

_Broken hearts terrify me. _

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