Fake - Camilla Basham

Well, you don’t know me, but let me tell you, if anyone could keep a secret, I could.
If there was a prize for secretiveness I would have won it and kept it on the foot of my bed, slept with it like a body pillow, worn it like a blanket. So, Eddie asking me if I could keep a secret wasn’t so much a real question, just a guy stalling before he got to what he really had to say.

I set up in bed, wiped the blurriness from my face and focused on him through the veil of the mosquito net.

“What’s wrong, Eddie?”

Eddie was never one for words so I knew right off this would be like pulling teeth. He tugged at his roman collar. He was always in some sort of uniform, when hands weren’t clapping for him as he took the field in his football jersey they were clasped in prayer as he led the Sunday procession in his altar boy cossack.

The scent of incense still lingered on him, his right hand motioned from his lips to about a foot away from his face and back again, as if he was trying to pull the words out by some invisible cord, his eyes drowning in their own tears, his cinnamon brown hair sticking straight up from the constant running of his sweaty left hand through it, stroking and tugging as if to coax the very roots out that it might offer some relief to his brain.

He opened his mouth to speak and instead of words out came a heaving sound followed by a putrid sour jet of liquid that sprayed into the palms of his now raised hands. The look in his eyes said, flee. And that’s exactly what he did.

Using the Virgin Mary statue to brace him self, he grabbed her hips, lifted himself from the floor and ran out chanting, “I can’t. I can’t. I can’t”

I could feel my heart beating in my chest and I didn’t know whether to go after him or leave him in peace. Giving into my ancestry, I chose the fake security of avoidance. The smell of incense, and sour wine lingered. I watched the latter run down the robed hips and thighs of the Virgin Mary, pulled my blanket of secrets up to my chin and fell into my pillow.