We all have layers and layers of secrets. I love those secrets. I want to know if you look at your turkey on Thanksgiving Day and think I wish you were steak. I want to know if you’d hate to say it, but you don’t really like your aunt’s pumpkin pie.
(Her crust is sad. She really needs to brown her butter and add gingersnap crumbs.)
I want to know where you keep your family photos, and how often you look at them. I want to know if your childhood lives on in a very humble buttermilk biscuit.
I want to know if you crave something comforting and warm on a windy November night. What would you make?
I want to know where home is. Is it still in one place? Would you tell me if you’re no longer sure, if you’ve forgotten this feeling?
I want to know if you still have an active imagination, and if you’d say that you have a good sense of humor. If you’re still lovable when you’re hungry.
I want to know if you like the company you keep. And if at the end of a long day, that’s enough to drown out everything else.
I want to know if occasionally you don’t eat with a fork. Do you do this in public? (Please say yes.)
I want to know when was the last time you learned something new. If it felt like you were seriously lacking in the dexterity department, and if you gave yourself an A for effort.
I want to know what you do when you can’t sleep. I want to know who you look for in a crowd, even when you tell yourself you’re not looking for anyone.
You know so many of my secrets. You know that I write about how lonely I am and instantly feel less so. Here’s another secret: it’s so hard to be vulnerable. To stay soft and open, to deliver words in whispers. It’s especially hard once you’ve made a tiny world with someone, and you could have had that life, but now you’re having this one.
Now people ask how are you and how are things, but they don’t want to hear anything other than good and fine, thanks.
You must remember that you will meet other people who will say come as you are. You will meet other people who will listen to your secrets, and who will say why carry all that around? You will meet people who will know just what you mean when you say where can I put it down?
Eventually, you will meet someone who will trade secrets with you, back and forth. This person will ask you where it hurts. Can you remember the last time somebody asked you that? You probably had a scraped knee, a bruised elbow, and a wail at the ready. If somebody asked you now, I’ll bet that you’d look away and pretend you didn’t understand.