Once upon a time there was a girl named Sandy. She was named after a car. Yes, there is a car named Sandy and it is a red Nissan Micra. It's not as silly to be named after a car as it is silly to name a car, but both the girl and the car loved their name.
Sandy was a happy and generally good girl, but her need to have secrets sometimes got her into trouble, which troubled her a lot. 'Why do I enjoy having secrets so much?', she often wondered to herself. It wasn't that she enjoyed hiding things, and it wasn't that she wanted to keep other boys and girls out of certain parts of her life. She just needed to hide away every once in a while, or keep something to herself just for the fun of it. It felt nice to her to know that there were certain little things that nobody knew but her.
Another added bonus of having lots of secrets was that it was great for strengthening friendships. Sometimes she would meet another boy or girl whom she really liked and wanted to stay friends with forever and ever. She knew that forever was impossible and unattainable because no friend had stuck around that long yet, but still she wanted it. Just to know what it was like, or something.
What Sandy would do when she found such a seemingly eternity-worthy boy or girl was that she would take them into her room in a quiet hush. She would sit the boy or girl down on her bed and inform them that she was about to reveal a secret of the greatest importance and sensitivity to them, and that they had to swear to never ever ever reveal it to anybody else, forever. They always promised, because every single boy and girl in the world loves being let in on a secret. It makes them feel special.
Once the promise had been made, Sandy would blindfold her new friend and lead them to the secret corner of her room under the window. She would fold away the loosened bit of wallpaper there, and reveal the biggest secret she had: on her 9th birthday she had secretly taken her dad's permanent marker and peeled away a bit of her wall paper, and in wobbly 9-year-old handwriting she had written 'sunshine'. She had already figured out at the age of 9 that love was the biggest thing in the world, and the most desired and she had thought up a secret word for love. By showing her friends her secret word for love in her secret corner, she was really showing them she loved them. Perhaps even more so, she was showing them how much she wanted them to love her back. She had other secrets, but that was definitely the biggest one.
So far she had let 3 boys and 4 girls in on her greatest secret of all. She had been so excited each time she moved the little bit of wall paper to the side and shown them the 'sunshine'. Each time the boy or girl in question would react so wonderfully! Their eyes would get a little twinkle, their cheeks would redden just a touch, and a big smile would appear on each face without fail. Even though that moment was pretty darn great, it wasn't Sandy's favourite moment. Her favourite moment was the one that came immediately after the smile: it was the hug. Everytime her newly endowed friend would hug her and thank her and she would feel their smiles against her shoulder. Oh, the warmth it sent shooting through Sandy's chest, and Sandy was as happy as she could possibly be.
I wish I could end the story here, on such a high note, in such a delightful place, but that would be beside the point. You see, without exception there would come a moment following that favourite moment of Sandy's after she had revealed her secret. It usually didn't follow immediately after, but it always followed, and it equaled the favourite moment in strength of emotion. Without fail each and every one of her friends would leave her.
It usually wasn't sudden but it always happened. She would ask them to come over on a Wednesday afternoon to play catch in the back yard, or she would invite them over for a tea party with her new doll, or sometimes, if her parents were in a good mood, she would try to arrange a sleepover. As she picked up the phone to call her friend she would be so excited, nearly as excited as when she was on the brink of unfolding her great secret to them. Her voice would be light with glee and she would ask her friend what she had planned for the both of them.
Then it would come. The Disappointment. She had always understood all too well what they really meant by 'not feeling well' or 'having other plans'. After mustering an empty 'oh, that's fine, maybe next time', which would be followed by her friend's insincere reply of 'definitely, I'll call you!', she would hang up and the Dark would set in. Sunshine had been chased away and she was left feeling heavy and alone.
They didn't call back.
Actually one girl did call back once, and got her planner out and everything to arrange a time for them to get together and play, but on the day itself she didn't show up. She didn't even call up to cancel and leave a lied excuse, she just turned into silence.
It was dark and heavy and lonely for a while, but Sandy was a happy and generally good girl and always bounced back. She didn't enjoy feeling sorry for herself, and even though these spells seemed to start lasting longer and longer, she would rid herself of this darkness and little by little start feeling the sunshine on her skin again. She once again began to enjoy having secrets. In fact, she began building a secret world that started in that secret corner under her window.
I can't tell you what her secret world looks like, because, well, it's secret even to me. I was let in on her great secret of sunshine once. It felt wonderful to see the word written there, so plainly and innocently. It felt exactly right, and I hugged Sandy and was grateful to be considered friend enough for her to want to show me this beautiful hidden corner of her room.
But soon I grew overwhelmed and intimidated by the very thing that had made me so happy and warm when it had first been shown to me. There was so much love in that one word that I couldn't really understand why she had chosen to share it with me, and I started to distance myself from it. I distanced myself from Sandy and made excuses when she called me on the phone to find out if I wanted to come over and play.
I feel a bit of her loneliness and heaviness when I think of her, but I'm sure she is fine. Still I wonder about her beautiful secret world and I, secretly, want to go back to her and hug her again and say how sorry I am, and that I want to be a part of that world. I know she will let me back in. She is ready again right now, as I write this, to share her secrets with a special someone. She is sitting on her bed wondering to herself why she enjoys having secrets so much. She waits patiently until I am ready, and she hopes that I will keep her sunshine safe forever and ever.