“This is crazy.”
“I know, but I have to know.”
“Are you sure about this? My investigative skills are seriously unparalleled.”
“I don’t know if I am totally sure, but I have to know.”
“Lemme get on the computer and make a few calls. Give me a couple of hours”
“Ok. Let me know.”
My friend J is gorgeous. And not like, “oh she’s my friend so I have to say she’s pretty” pretty. She is a damn near 6 foot, model type. Think a slightly more Black looking version of Cassie’s face on Hoopz’s body.
Yeah, chick is COLD.
If that wasn’t already reason enough for me to hate her, she’s incredibly smart and successful, she makes a ton of money, she’s almost unrealistically sweet, and one of the most thoughtful and loyal things on earth next to a golden retriever.
Yeah, we hate her.
I say all this to say, she isn’t really the type you woulda wanna fuck over.
Unless of course you’re her fiance.
J has been engaged for a year to Mr. Perfect. Well, Mr. Perfect to everyone else. To me he was Mr-I-got-something-to-hide-because-my-shit-is-always-a-bit-too-together. And before you go all buckwild in my comments hollerin‘ about how women don’t know a good man if they see one and prefer someone all fucked up, let me clarify that I am not talking about simply a man with no baggage. I mean he’s Guy who has a Seemingly Rehearsed Answer for Everything but Never Says Anything. You know I mean?
So they have been engaged for a year, ever since last year when he made a big show of flying home with her for Thanksgiving, asking for her father’s permission, and getting down on one knee after dinner and making her whole family sob at his proposal. They have yet to set a date. And, in the interest of transparency, I will admit that this was mostly her doing.
Or so he would have her believe.
Over the spring this year, they separated for a time. They quickly started doing the whole counseling/dating again thing to see if they could reconcile their differences. They started out with one counselor, but after a few sessions J decided she didn’t like her and they switched to another who started helping them through their issues. By late summer, the wedding was back on, the ring was back on her finger and they had set a date for spring of ’09. Despite everything, their work to reconcile was all good.
One weekend he went missing. “Coincidentally” it was July 4th weekend when she would be in Chicago with her friends for The Taste and he would be in the city where they both live “working.”
Now of course Mr. Too Perfect is far too perfect to just get missing
like trill niggas would. But suddenly, her calls that always get answered roll to voice mail. He’s responding to her texts all weekend, but his answers are delayed. When they do speak, the convo doesn’t last longer than 10 minutes. just long enough not to be missed.
Over the months since then, they have rebuilt their bond, and started making strides towards the alter. But for some reason, J just can’t shake feeling some kinda way about that weekend.
And that’s when she calls me.
“I need you to find out some information for me.”
“What kinda information?”
“The kind I need to know before I get married.”
“I need his full name, where he works, the kinda car he drives and his email address.”
I will admit to doing this quite a few times over the years. Sometimes it’s as simple as a G.oogle search. If we know some of the same people without them knowing we know some of the same people, I make a few calls. (Even for significant other’s I haven’t met, it’s hard to get around this. I know alot of people. God bless any meccas of young black people up to and including Atlanta, DC, Howard, and NYC.) But in this day and age of technology, there are no secrets. Or at least not for long.
A few hours later, she calls me before I can call her. Her breathing is shallow and anxious.
“You must have found something,” she says to me. “Otherwise you wouldn’t be taking so long.”
“I found something.”
She takes a deep breath on the line. I can almost hear her preparing herself.
“What is it?”
“When’s the last time you’ve been home?”
“Home like California or Mexico?”
“Oh God. Like, 2 years ago for Christmas. I haven’t been since.”
“Oh yes you have. You went the weekend of the 4th. Stayed from Thursday the 3rd to Monday the 7th at the Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas.”
“What? No I haven’t. I made a reservation there for our honeymoon.”
“Well, Mr. Too Perfect stayed there that weekend with someone he called his fiance.”
“How on earth could you possibly know this?”
“He wrote a review about it on some travel site. He said he stayed there on those dates with his fiance.”
“But no hotel in Mexico showed up on our account.”
“That’s because she paid for it.”
“WHAT?!?! How do you know that?!?”
“I had the hotel fax me a copy of the bill.”
“Who is this woman?”
“Does the name __________________ mean anything to you?”
There is silence on her end of the phone. I hear her already shallow breathing come faster and harder.
“That was our fucking counselor.”
“WHAT?!?!?” I screech, forgetting that I am sitting at my desk at work.
“Yeah. Our first counselor we got rid of. That’s her.”
“Well, you said you didn’t care for her.”
“Now I see why.”
“There’s more, sweetie.”
She takes a deep breath on the other line and I wonder if I have made a mistake in telling her. Even though she’s angry now, I am sure she will be devastated soon.
“Send it to me. Send me everything. He has to get out of my house today.”
I’d like to be able to say that Mr. Too Perfect was a good dude who just made some bad choices. But whether we like it or not, it’s the things we hide that detail who we really are. It’s our silences, not our words, that shade people’s perception of us, add dimension. If the things we don’t say are a shade of gray, consider our secrets the long shadows we cast.
The thing about secrets is that they are never really secrets. They never stay in the dark because really, they are not composed entirely of such; darkness is but a composition of light. The thing about darkness, and secrets to be assumed, is that they are conditional. They are subject to outside influence. And whether or not we trick ourselves into thinking so, they are never just ours to keep. They affect us, yes, but they also hold captive those who share our lives. They sense something behind the scenes even when you say nothing is there. They see the large shapes casting shadows, even when they can’t make out the distinct form.
They use google to go looking for what you won’t tell them because you’re blocking their light too.
There are no such things as secrets.
I hope you’re listening. Because she is gonna catch you.