Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash.
The hidden life is anathema to healthy personal relationships. Couples or friends who hide or keep things from each other play dangerous games that lead to more overt and conscious forms of deception.
Honesty has no limits, though it may be guarded by useful tact at times. I’ve never thought that anything good could come from keeping secrets, keeping things hidden from view of a lover. The minute one says, “I’m not comfortable sharing that with you,” or rather, not telling another something, “Let’s just not tell Paul about this lunch,” or “I won’t tell Susie about her hideous dress if you don’t,” that’s the point at which a relationship starts to crumble around the edges, a flake of stucco here, a chunk out of the cement wall here, a loose brick there. Before you know it, water flows through the holes, erosion gains a foothold, seeps into the foundation and the house sags into the earth.
But there are details in life that don’t have to involve another, that can be mulled over like treasure, like a worry stone worn smooth from care and caressing. I like to reserve at least one detail a day, if I’m being conscious to life, that’s just mine. In the movie Stand By Me, Gordie LeChance, played by Wil Wheaton, is the story-teller/writer of the story, looking back at a time when he and his friends take an overnight trip to see a dead body in the woods. At one point, Gordie is sitting by himself in the morning, thinking, and a young deer stumbles by close to him. It looks almost drunk. It just looks at Gordie, and then stumbles on its way. It’s a brief encounter with life, a living creature. Gordie doesn’t tell his friends about this encounter. He keeps it hidden, a gem of a memory for himself. And as the writer tells the story, he says that he never told anyone that detail until now.
These hidden details of life can become meaningful in the context of stories. For me, it could be the colors of a sunrise, when I’m up long before others. It could be a mistake, dropping the canister of coffee in the morning. It could be something unsettling, a fleeting dizzy spell that, among so many others, is not worthy to be told. It could be a bad dream, or a good one, though I don’t like to keep dreams hidden. Rather, I like to tell them as quickly as possible so I can remember them. It could be a fear.
I don’t embarrass easily, so I don’t keep anything hidden for sake of ego. Especially with close romantic partners, spouses, close family, I don’t ever think anything is TMI, too much information. If anything, I think the world cracks and splinters when there is too little information shared.
Underneath the warm covers of this existence lies a hidden world that can be visited and revisited. Someday, those blankets will be pulled away, and I like to think the accumulation of those hidden artifacts, those tell-tale signs of a life lived will be particles of essence that upon death seep deep into the earth and make the new green shoots grow, or that float away, making each star shine just a little brighter.