Little Secrets

In the back of many university press books is an easy-to-lose leaf of paper with all the erratum on it. Things that were wrong but weren’t caught before publication. The list is primarily minor typos, but sometimes entire footnotes that are important to know. Lives can be like that too.
I’ve known people who didn’t believe in halfway measures or dithering; they take the page, crumple it, and toss it away—no dedication to truth, no altruistic intent. Instead, they delicately fold it and stick it someplace you won’t find it.
I wouldn’t be the only one to sit, mouth agape, when a relation-changing truth tumbles forth. But knowing that you are in good company hardly helps when you find out that the sophisticated prospective spouse is already married. Margo held my hand and told me, ” he didn’t even think it was an issue. He said that she wouldn’t object.”
After offering to break parts of his anatomy, an offer I was relieved that Margo turned down, we tried to come up with a plan for how to cut through the tangles that tied her to her boyfriend. We removed the pets from the house and removed her musical instruments, sheet music, clothes, and books. The furniture would have to wait. Margo was now temporarily living in my smallish studio apartment. Three cats, one dog, seven guitars, five boxes of books, three cartons of sheet music, and lots of clothing.
Over the next couple of weeks, my love life dropped to zero, with no privacy. Margo proved to be a poor cook; her specialty was grilled hot dogs – I assumed all the cooking over our single hot plate. She also snored worse than I, didn’t often do laundry, and had the irritating habit of snorting while laughing. Eventually, she decided that I’d do well as a love interest. Three weeks ago, while holding her hand, this had been a much sort after goal. Somehow, it had lost appeal.
One night I held her hand and recounted that I had taken a lifelong vow of celibacy, and I was obliged to begin wearing my hair shirt in penance for unclean thoughts about her toes and navel lint. She moved out the next day. Then, some weeks later, I spotted her on the other side of the Harvard Gardens. She was back together with the bigamist. We smiled and waved at each other.
Concerning relationships, that erratum sheet is the most critical item to examine. Few things are deal-killers, but others are more than footnotes.
We all have our little lists tucked discreetly away, and we all think we can hide them where they won’t be discovered. It’s not true.

2 Replies to “Little Secrets”

    1. It’s called a “temporary” lifelong vow. Let’s face it you don’t necessarily get intimate with everyone you meet. Some people are just plain trouble. I once tearfully suggested that I was still on antibiotics for a serious ailment, and held her in too high a regard to take the chance on giving it to her. Problem solved – permanently.

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