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The Garden of My Mind 5

Posted by Dr. D , 04 September 2012 · 276 views

The knock at my door came as a complete surprise this morning.  The round face darkened with embarrassment had come to pay his rent.  He had moved away without notice more than a year before and left owing two months.  Now he was there reaching into his pocket and muttering his apologies.  He told me he would not lie to me.  He had to move his family away because there was a girl pregnant with his baby.  He could not permit his wife to know.  Now the girl was living with relatives in another city and he felt it safe to return to visit his parents.  He shoved the bills into my hand and shrugged with resignation.

I am forced to take inventory of the secrets.  The adventures, torts and sins that have come to me from voices needing to expose the past as if by sharing it, the burden would be lighter.  Some were people respected and exemplary to all, who needed, if only for one night, to be free of that responsibility.  They had never learned that sometimes people change and forget to tell each other.  In some cases they wanted advice while knowing the answer and wishing they didn’t.  But they came as if to a social confessional and pulled an event from the darkness of their past and gave it to me to forever guard in silence.  They came without realizing that their lives were milestones and they were haunted by but a moment of it.

I will call her Martha who is beautiful at 45 and has been for several years.  There was Gloria who never learned that it is better to be alone than to wish you were.   And Gerardo who never learned that we do not see things as they really are, we see them as we are.  And then there was Rodolfo Ortiz Contreras.

In the cemetery the tombstone says Rodolfo Ortiz Contreras.  He died about eight years ago and the funeral was lavish and attended by almost everyone.  He owned the largest ranch in the area and was generous to a fault.  Women wept, men shook their heads in disbelief and a dark pale rested over the village for days.  What no one knew, however, was that his name was not Rodolfo Ortiz Contreras and he did not inherit his money from his father.  He had often explained that his father had gone to the United States and was very frugal, thus the inheritance fell upon him.

The truth was that he had lived a thousand kilometers distant from where he died.  He worked on a ranch and he was sent to the far reaches of the property to be vigilant during the calving season.  In the midst of night he heard the engine of a small plane sputtering and struggling to stay aloft.  It crashed into a ravine and he rushed to see if he could give aid to survivors.  The pilot was dead and the cargo was several large blocks of white powder wrapped in plastic.  There was a briefcase containing more money than he had ever seen.

Secrets give life to the mind.  Martha looks at me in church and gives that half smile, remembering what was told.  There is a bonding to secrets and they test your dignity with each passing second as they tempt you to be told.  You soon learn that the only thing better than keeping secrets is not to have any.  I return her smile.  She is beautiful and wonderfully timeless.

I walk home from church and pass the faces nodding and smiling.  Thousands of secrets pass me by.  They remain untold for fear of what others might think.  We keep them inside where they are justified by what we think.  We are constructed of secrets and exist in greater ones.  Secrets are the foundation of philosophy and religion.  It is what keeps life interesting.

I take the rent money to my office and put in a book I once bought.  It is not really a book, it has a hollow space where things can be guarded and kept secret.

White Crane Feather
Sep 04 2012 05:00 PM
Strange how such an obviously honest man keeps such a dishonest secret. Funny how the noble impressions people have of then selves force them to more and more non none acts.
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