Quick Message from the author:
Hiya! This time I did schedule this post but I hijacked it because while I was on the shower this morning I had a sort of… epiphany.
So, I’ve been pretty disappointed at myself because I totally missed the chance to share a ton of ghost/scary stories throughout the month and I had come to a decision about it… but I just thought better of it.
Basically what I was going to do was share two Secondary Sundays with you all today: The scheduled one about Bobby and Louise and another one that was supposed to be a little scary. But now I thought, why do two if I can do three, right?
So, now I’m going to share three Secondary Sundays with you: this one and two extras. One of the bonus stories will be a scary one a little less involved with the overall plot of the series and the other one is a truly bonus one that I’d thought of doing for a while but didn’t have an exact date in mind for when to do it.
So, thank you for your patience (because the three pieces will go up one after the other with an hour or so between them, so… sorry about that!) and I hope you enjoy this week’s Secondary Sunday… With a Twist.
Now back to the story.
Welcome to a new Secondary Sunday.
Today we’re going straight to the point because we’re going to talk about someone you already know lots about. I know I don’t have to tell you about these people because, what would I know about them? I barely even know about myself, right? I mean, you were the one who used to say that, right? That I didn’t know a thing about the world, that I spent too long with my nose in a book, or that the notebooks I kept were useless if no one was ever going to look at them.
You were so funny back then.
And mean. But mostly funny.
So, since I don’t know about what I’m talking about anyway, I don’t think you’ll mind that I lie in this one, right?
So, here it is… the usual jumble of lies:
Bobby and Louise
Not About your Parents
I will not begin talking about the fundamental role your parents had in your life or anything that they did that directly influenced your life. I will not being by saying things other people say when they talk about other people’s parents or even their own.
I am not going to bore you with meaningless information that might not mean a thing to you right now.
Instead, I’m going to say this.
Your parents’ names are not Robert or Louisa. They may or may not still be together.
They may have loved each other. They maybe still do.
Maybe they even still love you.
But I don’t know that. You do.
So I’m not going to talk about the things that I know, but about the things that I don’t.
I don’t know how they met or even when, but I do know that it had to do with a park… or maybe a school.
So I’m going to create a story. I’ll bend the truth so much that it’ll become another thing altogether. I am going to lie to you because there is nothing you can do to stop me.
You are the Main Character of your life but not of mine. Your power ends where mine begins, just like your lies and my lies cannot entwine more than we allow them to. But you’re not here to set the limits so you won’t.
So here is the lie: You parents met years ago, a lifetime ago some would say. They were young in the way people often are in their memories. The subjective kind of young, the one people only truly grasp once graying hairs and tired wrinkles have given them a new perspective in life.
They didn’t really like each other at first.
No one ever does.
Your parents don’t believe in love at first sight and the same way you don’t believe in ghosts.
Love was complicated back then. People say it wasn’t as complicated as it is right now but they are often lying. Complications then are not the same complications as now, but they felt just as impossible to overcome.
I was difficult for them to move through the different stages a healthy relationship requires people to go through. To be completely honest, everything was difficult for them. Not because theirs was a Romeo and Juliet type of affair. No one would look back on their story and think it to be a gran love story instead of a comedy. They at least didn’t have that miscommunication problem.
Theirs wasn’t a romantic comedy either.
It was just life.
A life that started away from each other and then tried to intersect at several, randomly selected points in time, until one of those intersections managed to become a tangle, and then a knot, and then a promise. Until, finally, their lives run through the same lines and lanes, touching at point but never losing each other in their combination.
They were very pragmatic people.
Just as pragmatic as you.
They had fights, as people often do. But they were mostly able to overcome them all.
It was painful, as life often is, to look at each other some days. Both knew too many things the other didn’t. Both had secrets and thoughts and doubts that they thought were better off not being shared.
There was a vast silence carefully cultivated between them. A whole universe of words no one would ever pronounce, and words that rested on top of the jumble, trying to hide it from view.
But was it ever possible to hide that many lies? That many untold secrets and thoughts and doubts?
You know it still is.
There was something about silence. About keeping words to yourself and not noticing things.
Silence was a weight but also a relief. The first word you ever thought of when someone talked about home.
Silence was your home.
Not that your home was ever quiet. You were not a quiet family.
Louise had a knack for laughing with her whole body: head thrown back and flailing arms, bent knees and contracting muscles. There was something about that complete abandon of silence that was captivating about her.
She is the kind of person that doesn’t seem to be hiding a thing.
That is a lie.
Bobby was different. His laughter was always contained, like he had been taught how to exist inside a limited space that was never to encroach in someone else’s. When he laughed it was always about careful movements and deep, composed sounds. But he was also always in a flurry of movement.
Picking your sister up from where she was trying to eat the dog kibbles, finding everyone’s perpetually lost stuff, and making a mess out of a careful order and then a careful order out of a mess. With him you learnt that sometimes spaces could be shared, that breath and laughter and movement weren’t always supposed to be kept inside the silence.
You learnt that, but you hardly ever put it to practice.
He also taught you how to play an instrument, I think.
I know he taught you something, maybe he taught you what loneliness meant or how to exist on your own in a world that is often careless and cruel.
I don’t really know what you learnt from him, only that it had a deep impact in your life.
I’m sorry for not knowing, and for bringing it up, and for lying about it in the first place.
I promised I would lie about all this. I am.
I will lie now and say that your parents never made you sad, that you had a perfect life. I will lie and say that your room never smelled of anxiety and pain.
I will lie and say that if it had, you would’ve at least told me.
I will lie and say that no one ever broke your heart, and that you never broke anyone else’s.
Your parents had perfect marriage, it would never fall apart, it would never need to be rebuilt. Your brothers and sisters were kind to you, always. And you were always kind to them.
Your mother often snuck away from family parties to have a little smoke were no one could see her. She didn’t have a complicated life, but it wasn’t easy either.
She kept many secrets from so many people that she had even forgotten how to talk about the easy stuff without censoring part of the information out of habit.
She told you that everything could be the truth if you firmly believed it to be. She taught you that oftentimes the truth was not what some people wanted to hear.
She was too loud to make up for the mountain of silence inside of her. You knew that, you understood that.
You never wanted to be her.
You wanted to be someone else.
You told me that.
That is not a lie, because anything can be the truth if you hide enough lies inside of it that it negates itself.
You are often a truth negating itself over, and over, and over, and over, and over, until there is nothing left but the mountain of lies and truths and silence that no one will ever hear or understand.
I believe you learnt that from your parents.
Or maybe you learnt that from me.
I remember how quiet you used to be.
That is a lie.
Bobby and Louise were never silent and never loud.
That is true.
You were never quiet.
That, I believe, is the truth.
Your parents didn’t meet on a sunny afternoon, or even a cloudy evening. There was nothing about a park or a school. They never taught you the meaning of silence because they didn’t have to.
Their names are not Robert or Louisa. You didn’t have brothers and sisters… you had something.
And I don’t remember you, not really. I don’t remember you in the same way you don’t remember the name of that one kid in the park the other day you went out and your feet somehow took you there.
I am sorry.
I promised I would lie.
And I did.