I was terrible at keeping secrets as a child.

Once, something was pumping out of Theresa’s boombox (it’s It Takes Two by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock in my head, but I know that’s false. I was five when that came out, and this was earlier). At some point during the song, Theresa told me to “Kick it,” as in “Don’t just stand there, bust a move.” I took it as, in re the potted plant I was next to: “Can I kick it?” “Yes you can!”

“Why did you do that?”

“You told me to kick it.”

“I didn’t mean kick the plant!”

I probably would have had a snarky reply if I were older.

Theresa righted the plant, cleaned up all the dirt and no one would have had any idea something was amiss.

“Don’t tell anybody.”


My mom comes home about 20 minutes later.

“Theresa told me to kick the plant and it fell over.”

Eventually, I got good at secrets, amazing even. The best part was that I gained the ability to dance around announcing that I had a secret and not reveal it. It was fantastic. I do that to this day. At least one person reading this has experienced me laughing maniacally before saying I have a secret I wouldn’t tell.

Over the years, Theresa and I went from adversaries to being a great brother-sister team. We could come to each other to talk about anything. It was absolutely spectacular. About a decade ago, before Theresa was completely immobile and rendered mute, she told me a secret when I came to visited her at her house one day. It was a big one.

I’ve been great at keeping Theresa’s secret. It was one of those “Don’t tell anyone, especially not Ma” secrets. I’ve been so good at keeping it, I had forgotten she told me at all until reading an article not unlike many I’ve read over the years somehow triggered the memory.

I still won’t say anything, Theresa. This plant was righted and no one needs to know what happened to it.

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