There’s an insidious consequence for being a writer:
You slowly relinquish the right to be a stranger.
That’s the exhilaration in life:
When you meet someone who is brand new to your senses;
You explore them like a continent yet to be discovered.
And, you know, you are new to them, too.
You become a detective, a puzzle solver,
Trying to put their pieces together until that day you can say:
Ah, I know you, but wait, there’s more! I want to know your secret…
Every person is made of boxes within boxes,
That can only be opened and their contents revealed with time and trust.
Strangers pick and choose who gets to know them
And who gets to open their smallest box, the one with the secret inside.
I’ve already opened that box and given it away.
I have to live with the pulls, tugs, cradles and abuse of my secret, every single day.
My secret no longer belongs to me.
I don’t get choose who knows it or who holds it.
I have no control over it anymore.
There’s captivity within this freedom:
Strangers do and say whatever they want with my secret.
Some of them know how precious that secret is,
And they protect it.
Others take it and condemn it.
I feel it, and it hurts.
Some strangers hold my secret up on a big box,
Like it’s more valuable than their secret or the stranger’s beside them.
And, I try over and over again to remind them,
That nobody’s secret was born out of reach;
It nestles all the way down,
Deep inside the layers and layers of flaps, creases, and tape of darkness.
We all have the ability to dig down there and open it
And maybe if more people did,
Our secrets wouldn’t be secret anymore.
We’d understand that we aren’t strangers,
Rather, we are meeting again for the first time, here.
But, what would life be like then?
Without the unpacking and the anticipation of being able to say:
I know you, and there’s more to know…
And there always is; I have more boxes to open, too.