I sit here at my kitchen table staring at it. There really wasn’t nothing much to look at. A bulky looking briefcase sized box with a screen displaying a very attractive woman with a very obvious touch screen button flashing off to the side.
That’s all, just an over large tablet or odd shaped laptop. No identifying trademarks or even a seam. Hell the damn thing didn’t have a cord or battery either. It shouldn’t work at all.
But what it did do was something else again.
All I had to do was press the button and nothing would be the same for me ever again. I can’t claim that my life was that bad, but not all that happy either. All my life, I’d my deep dark secret that at times I’d kept zealously even from myself. It’d ridden my back as insidious as any addictive monkey or big black dog hounding my every step.
My secret couldn’t be escaped, but at times it rode less heavily on my heart. But always, the shame and guilt not only made me continue keeping it a secret but bury it even deeper until it once more dragged me down into depression.
And now this: me and this button. One simple act would erase all need for that secret that I’ve kept for so long. The hell of it was if I did then there would be other secrets. Would these new ones prove less of a burden than the old?
I sighed. I knew of boi and gurls who would’ve already broken their arms reaching for the damn thing. I however was conflicted. Was this really what I wanted? In a very real way this was a suicide.
The me that everyone thought they knew would cease to exist. I would be so different that for all practical purposes I would be another person. Someone that lived only in my heart and dreams, kept hidden for so very long.
No I decided, the problem wasn’t the secret or even with me. It was everyone else. They all believed and accept me as fitting in a certain way into their reality. Hence lay the problem. If I pressed that button, I will be defying all they thought they knew. Some, perhaps all, would not be able to accept that. I would lose friends and almost certainly my job.
I eyes tracked over to the clock. Like out of a bad western, the hands slowly moved marking my time was running out. My wife would soon be home. The one who above I loved with all that I am. Who I expected to live out the rest of my life with … But.
Except for my long kept secret and now this button.
I’d made vows and promises to her that I’d never broken once in all the years of our marriage. I’d never dreamed it would come to this.
Was it a betrayal?
I shook my head still staring at the button. The figure floating there beside it wasn’t another woman. She wasn’t trying to steal me from my wife or commit some kind of infidelity. It was only me in a different wrapping. Perhaps in a very real way, a me unwrapped from the secrets that’d kept that part of me hidden for so very long.
Should I talk about it with my wife? Would she understand? I knew for certain that she was aware I was different. How many wives could honestly ask their husband fashion questions and get good advice? She’d complain at times I had a better sense of style and trends than she did. I’d replied I had the strengths of my weaknesses. I wasn’t the most masculine of guys on the block, but that also meant I avoided a lot of their macho BS.
One of the few people who knew my secret once told me, “It’s an intrinsically selfish thing.” She was right. I did want this. That was why I was still here staring at that damn thing.
On the other hand everyone else was selfish too. They all wanted me to be like this and act like so. While I gave lip service to all of that, I knew I fell short. My hair was longer than most and my nails weren’t cut into the quick like so many I worked with. Small things maybe, but they helped keep me sane. I would never ever be exactly what they wanted me to be. The best I could do was fake it sorta kinda.
I knew my wife. She was kind and had a heart as big as the sky. But after years together, she was definitely not bi-sexual. If I pushed that button our relationship as we knew it was over. It might survive in another form as friends since that was how it’d began but never that so close intimacy we shared for so long.
However, I also just couldn’t push the button and disappear. Just leaving without any explanation or knowing if I was alive or dead would hurt her more than I could bear imagining. Our marriage had survived for so long because we had very few secrets. Like I said before I suspected that my secret wasn’t much of one for her.
Sitting there I stared at the button.
So what do I do? What do I do?
Inspired by the Box and Elrod’s MAU stories.
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