a secret garden
after desire has conceived, it gives birth… – the Book of James
That was where I met Sandra Dee. In that secret garden. Well it was not really a secret to us neighbourhood children, it was just hidden, and also Mrs Dalloway’s garden. We always played there, us neighbourhood children.
A ring, a ring o’ roses,
A pocket full o’posies-
Atishoo atishoo we all fall down
And we would. All fall down laughing. Mrs Dalloway would sometimes watch from the window but she never chased us away, bless her Mrs Dalloway, bless her.
We became best friends in that garden, Sandra Dee and I. Best of friends, and when the children stopped playing she and I would still meet at our secret garden for little chats. Mrs Dalloway would sometimes leave out two cups of milk on the stairway for us and we would sit and chat over milk.
Yes best of friends we were and now we are grown up we would still have our secret garden moments, except Mrs Dalloway was gone, and we have left for the big city and so we would meet at a different garden, a not so secret one, and chat over coffee. But it was always in the garden we would share secrets, our deepest darkest ones.
“It is our secrets that will push us apart,” she often told me. And so dear Sandra Dee would share everything, and so will I. She made me and we would wrap ourselves tightly every evening in cardigans and talk, and lots of secrets.
When we both got jobs we got a place together where there was a garden, and we would still have our secret garden moments, over tea. We would talk about work, and the girls at work, and boys, the boys we would meet.
Then life got more complicated and secrets were not so easy to tell no more. I did things I was ashamed of, and so was she, and our daily secret garden moments became weekly ones, and then monthly ones, and then I just did not bother no more. Sandra got upset.
“Secrets puncture relationships!” she would yell, as she complained how we don’t share them secrets no more. And we would try hard. But we would both desire so much to maintain our perfection in one another’s eyes so we would sweep flaws under the mat and we would choke on the things we find hard to share and give up.
So began the fights.
“You never told me this!” she would scream. “Why am I always the last to know?” She grew angry, and never told me and then she sprung a big one on me.
One Sunday afternoon I walked into what was an embarrassing couch moment she casually introduced him to me nonchalantly, with a tone in her voice that was slightly contemptuous.
“This is Tim,” her voice said but I swear her tone said, “there here’s a secret in your face,” very clearly.
“I know Tim,” I said back, “Hello Tim.” That was the last I said to her I think. We stopped talking after she began dating Timothy McPhee, who she never told me about and after a while she moved out into Tim’s.
I guess she was right, secrets did drive us apart, but more than that I thought we just outgrew each other, and I would sit on the porch steps with my coffee sharing secrets with myself.
“I saw Timothy first,” was the first secret I told myself. “But of course she would be the one who dates him, she was the pretty one with that lush hair and that perfect skin, she gets all the boys.”
I had liked Timothy McPhee for a long time now, he would appear in my dreams as Mr Darcy and I as Liz Bennet, and he would come rushing in my front porch a nervous wreck and say a little out of breath:
“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
Those dreams happened long before Sandra moved out, but it was one of the things I never told her. So she never knew.
I secretly began to hate her and there in my secret garden. I gasped, my secret had horns. I began to plot against her. I swore I would spring an even bigger secret on her, that bitch.
My psychology teacher once told us that a familiar face gets prettier. If you want someone to fall for you, appear in front of him or her daily, he said in his Scottish accent one lecture.
I started working out daily after work, and after losing some weight and access inches I went shopping. I got a new haircut, and a new wardrobe that was included that short bodycon dress, those red killer stilettos, the flattering pencil skirts with the high slits and the silk shirts.
Tim worked in the building next to mine, and so I would wait at the news stand after work until I saw him. I would “bump” into him daily, in the first week it was the casual hello, and then I would begin walking with him to the bustop and sometimes even sat next to him on the bus.
We began talking, first about television, about American idol and the new burger stall down the road. Then we started talked about work and the gossips at work and our bosses. Before I knew it we were having conversations about our families, and sisters’ divorces and then Tim said.
“I never told anyone, except Sandra this…”
We shared our first secret, the three of us, and I smiled.
I never shared a secret back, not yet, I was saving it letting it grow its ugly head of horns and a mouthful of fangs. I let it fester and shared only what would strengthen my reputation of being quite perfect.
He began sharing his secrets with me on the bus over takeaway coffee, and before long we were taking long walks through the park towards the bus-stop after work. Before long we stopped taking the bus, and he would walk me home and we would have talk in the garden, over tea.
Like how Sandra Dee and I used to, I thought.
And then when I was convinced that my secret would be ready to fly I told it to Tim.
“I never told Sandra this, but I always had a crush on you.”
He looked at me, at first in surprise and then he smiled. He took me and kissed me a long deep kiss, and we shared a dirty little secret right there in my back porch and he whispered, “this is our secret, I won’t tell Sandra.”
At that point I climaxed and I smiled at my sacrificial lamb while stroking my perfect little secret’s ugly head.
“Sandra hates secrets,” I whispered back.