Sunday, 18 August 2013

Can You Keep A Secret?

'The key to a successful relationship', he muses, 'is to keep secrets'. We both look at him as though he's just announced he's won the euro millions and is planning on immediately buying us both a combine harvester. He predictably ignores our baffled expressions, and carries on regardless. He doesn't mean big secrets, he explains. Not the earth-eclipsing kind that lay with you in the darkness and forbid you from proceeding down that peaceful path towards sleep. No, not those.

His semi-English twang fades out slowly as I turn to look at you, and you look back at me and we smile in unison. A certain familiar cheeky glint in your blue eyes tells me you're considering the time last month when you pleaded with me to rub cream on your asshole because it was sore, and I felt so sorry for you that I finally succumbed to your begging!

Likewise, my brain is in overdrive as I look at you and I remember the other day when you insisted on cleaning my ears for me, or how you know exactly what it looks like when my infection resurfaces, or how you've picked up all my dirty pants from your bedroom floor and put them in the wash, no questions asked! And I wonder to myself if we're doing this wrong, and if we know far too much about each other already.

But then today I found a notebook full of song lyrics that he had written, and I finally began to comprehend what he meant. Through his words, someone previously more or less unknown to me became just that little bit more alive. And I understood that this was his secret. Not his late teenage years rife with substance abuse and inconceivable heartache, but instead a dozen simple white pages abundant in love and emotion that he normally kept so well-concealed beneath witty charisma and potentially-feigned optimism.

And I realised that maybe our secrets don't have to be elements of the past that we shelter from others for fear of judgement, but rather tiny aspects of our present that those who know us best simply cannot reach nor relate to. And I thought that perhaps this is mine. I liked that. And I swore to keep his secrets.