The burden of keeping family secrets becomes too much for a little girl
|The sound of the front door slamming startled Mary from her sleep. Quarreling voices followed, traveling up the stairs and through the walls, resonating in the corners. She heard a crash and the tinkling of broken glass. In the dark of her room, she crawled across the floor, opened the closet door and slipped inside. Silently, she pulled the door closed behind her. Crouched in the blackness of her hiding place, it was not the shapeless darkness that frightened her, it was the sound of her mother’s crying. She put her hands over her ears until the sounds stopped and she fell back to sleep.
In the morning, she washed the tears from her face so that no one would see them. She brushed her teeth and went to school as she always did, hoping that no one would notice the dark circles under her eyes.
Her mother had said that bad things would happen if she told the truth about her father and Mary didn’t want to cause trouble for her mother. Her father said that the police would come and take Mary away if she told. Mary walked to school alone, her young shoulders sagging under the weight of these burdens.
When she got to school, Mary tried to pay attention, but she was so tired. At recess, Miss Temple kept her back while the other students went out to the playground. She then told Mary a story about another little girl. This little girl was afraid because of bad things that happened at home, and she couldn’t tell anyone.
When she looked in Miss Temple’s eyes, Mary could see the truth - that Miss Temple had once been that frightened child.
Mary looked up at her teacher and asked “Do you want to know a secret?”
Word Count: 298 words