Pain pain go away….
“See you tomorrow Alexx,” says Bella, skipping as she leaves the school ground, heading for home to enjoy the weekend’s slumber party.
“See you Bella,” I reply, waving slowly concentrating on whether Roxie is close enough to hear the conversation.
The day has almost arrived. I only have to survive the walk home and then I can avoid Roxie for the remainder of the weekend. Every time Roxie and I are alone, there is a constant reminder that she isn’t sharing in this part of my life. We are all friends but with the obvious exclusion of Roxie I am one of them and Roxie isn’t.
I am fooling myself to believe this friendship is real, that we are all friends and that Poppy’s Mum did set the rules for the party. We are keeping this secret from Roxie to protect her from getting hurt. I want so much to believe this story but too much of this story is hard believe.
Roxie often says she isn’t really part of the group. The girls accept her most of the time and that’s only because of our friendship. This creates mixed emotions for me, both of excitement to be liked by friends so much and horror that friends could actually treat people with such contempt.
I try to decide whether to leave the school now while Roxie is nowhere to be seen, making an excuse I thought she must have already left, or behave as I if there is no conspiracy and wait by the gates as we always do.
Before I get a chance to make the decision, it is made for me when Roxie comes running out of the toilet block, heading towards me. She seems a little pale, her eyes narrow and confused, as if she has something on her mind.
“Hey, Roxie, Are you alright?”
Roxie hesitates. Maybe she is sick and can’t find the energy to speak. Some times being sick is a good thing. You get to stay in bed all day, reading books, listening to music, watching movies and eating junk. Mum never lets me stay home unless she thinks I am about to die and even then she will hesitate.
“Yeah, I’m alright, just the umm, toilets, they stink.”
“I know what you mean. I went in there when lunch ended and I thought someone had died, it’s foul,” I reply, relieved the conversation is about anything but the weekend.
“Well you would have thought boys had been in there the way it stinks. It’s just gross.”
“Super gross,” laughs Roxie.
As we head home, walking in silence, my head concentrates intensely on each step. With each step I am closer to home and further from sharing the secret.
“Alexx, I think something is going on with Poppy,” says Roxie disrupting my concentration. “I over heard some girls talking in the toilets before.”
Oh no, I have been caught, it is all about to unfold. Roxie knows and she is about to put me right in the centre of it.
“Huh,” is the extent of my vocal intelligence.
“When I was in the toilet before, I heard some girls saying they wished they were invited to Poppy’s slumber party and how cool it would be and stuff.”
“Ohh, not really sure, maybe Bella is sleeping over and you know how Bella can be, talk,talk,talk,” I respond so quickly I am unsure if any of it even made any sort of sense.
It feels like Roxie is looking right through me, deep into my soul. I try to blank out any thoughts I have on the party just in case she can actually read my mind.
Shrugging her shoulders, happy with my response, not concerned about Poppy and whether she is part of her social life, Roxie says, “Yeah, maybe she is just having Bella to sleep and people think it is some big party.”
As my house comes into view, each step taking me closer to the beginning of the end of this secret, I feel as though I am doing something against the law. Immense guilt floods over me, surging through my veins. The guilt pounds into my stomach like I have been punched in the belly, making me bend over in agony.
Not realising the two could possibly be related in any way, my immediate thought is that I am coming down with something. I am going to sick like I have wished for sometimes, but not on the weekend and not when I have a slumber party to attend.
“What’s wrong Alexx?” asks Roxie, with a concerned look ready to run for help.
“I don’t know, I have pains in my stomach,” I say still bending over breathing heavily to stop the sensation of vomiting.
“Do you want me to grab your Mum?”
“No, no, just wait. I’ll wait to see if it goes away,” I reply hastily, not wanting mum involved.
If Mum becomes involved then that will be the end of my weekend and that is not an option. I am going to this party even if I am really sick. I no longer care about anything else but going to this slumber party.
“Alexx are these the same pains you get when your parents fight?” asks Roxie curiously.
“Not sure,” I manage to say.
“They seem the same. Is every thing okay at home?”
I nod, now panting a little heavier.
“If you want you can stay at my house this weekend, to get away from your parents. I will ask Mum. She won’t mind.”
With the pain still surging through me, the blood pumping hard in my head is causing a headache. Roxie has asked me over for the weekend. Normally I would love to so I can get away from the arguing or the twins. I don’t need to run away from home this time, I need to run away from Roxie. For a moment I contemplate telling Roxie about the party. A good friend would do that.
If Roxie knows then I won’t be able to go and I desperately want to go. This party is so important on the ‘social calendar’ for the year. The most popular girl is having me at her party, it would be wrong to not accept the invitation.
I am certain, well almost certain that if the roles were reversed that Roxie would go and not tell me. She knows I would understand that this is a life changing party, one not to be missed. If I understood then so too would Roxie.
“Thanks Roxie but things at home haven’t been too bad lately,” I lie.
“Oh that’s really good,” replies Roxie, genuinely elated by the news. “Did you say something to your Mum like we discussed.”
Once again I nod, feeling like a trap door will open up and swallow me into its darkness full of lies. The words continue to flow from within me, the lies, the untruths. It is never ending the amount of lies one person can tell.
With lies come secrets and with the secrets come the pains. The connection between the two I have denied, not wanting to believe the two are related, but standing outside my house with my body fighting me, my mind screaming at me and my friend consoling me, the two clearly go together like cheese and crackers.
Lying to people is not a natural behaviour of mine. Some people lie easily, the stories becoming more elaborate with each telling. I use to be afraid to lie, especially to Mum and Dad.
I remember Mum pulling me aside, talking in a soft convincing voice that if I was asked about my age, I had to say I was only 4 years old. The movies are free for kids under 5 years old but this information is something I didn’t quite understand at the time. I had only just turned five and I was extremely proud of being so old.
I wasn’t questioned on my age. No one even looked down at me or the twins who were strapped in the stroller. I remember being nervous, believing my parents would get in trouble with the police for telling a lie. I didn’t want them to be taken away to jail. I didn’t know how to look after the twins. I didn’t WANT to look after the twins.
As we walked into the movie theatre, I burst into tears, shaking all over. Dad picked me up in his strong, comforting arms to console me, confused with my reaction to a movie that hadn’t begun showing yet. I spent the entire movie huddled on Dad’s lap, not letting him out of my site for fear the police would be taking him away for lying.
The fear this instilled in me never really left but now I didn’t have the comfort of Dad’s lap. I am too old for that and I know I have to own the decisions I make, but the fear remains deep inside, the fear develops into a darkness that intensifies with each lie, each deceit.
“I gotta go,” I shout as I run towards my house leaving Roxie stunned.
“What about staying over,” I hear Roxie screaming back but I pretend not to hear her, waving my hand to hide my true feelings.
- “Keeping Secrets” – Ch.10 – Growing Apart (2nd storyline) (ourparallelconnection.com)
- “Keeping Secrets – Ch.11 – Darkness (2nd storyline) (ourparallelconnection.com)