“There is no place for secrets here.”
That’s what he used to say, almost every prayer session, sometimes softly like a nurturing father, sometimes with spittle at the corner of his mouth, furious and shouting. It got so that the phrase had no meaning at all.
We weren’t sure what secrets were anymore. He mostly told us what to think about, and there seemed to be eyes upon us all the time; if not him, or some of the others, then our own eyes, upon ourselves.
He told us to think about what life means, and what it would mean without him to guide us. What if we were abandoned by him, and left to fend for ourselves up there? We trembled when we thought about it. He said we would be eaten alive up there, and we realized he meant it figuratively, but it seemed terrifying all the same.
When we looked in the mirror we saw faces without sunshine, from without or from within.
“There is no place for secrets here.” We were to confess our wayward thoughts to him. Shine the light of day on those thoughts and make them scurry like cockroaches back into the darkness. We didn’t know what the light of day looked like or felt like. We had forgotten. We confessed that wayward thought to him and he grew angry. “Up there, you would be lost. What good is the light if you souls are lost? Think about that.”
And we did. We thought about life, about life without him, about how we would be eaten alive up there, about soulless lives, about how there is no place for secrets.
So, we rolled him into a blanket, and shoved him out the door. He was right, the light was frightening. It hurt our eyes. We closed and sealed the door, and he began pounding on it. He was shouting something too, but his voice was muffled and we couldn’t make out the words.
We didn’t have to hold secret our thought, not any more. It was finally out. And he was right. The world is a better place without secrets.
Original Prompt: Secret, March 1, 2016