If someone confides in me, you couldn't get the information out if you were using the water boarding technique, but if the secret only concerns myself...well, one look into my eyes and I commence to babbling like a crazy person. My husband often laughs about this trait, saying it will keep me honest by default, but this time my being an open book wasn't funny. The secret involved the two of us -- one who plays his cards close to his chest; the other who doesn't even know what all those hearts and clovers stand for -- so I had to keep it quiet.
I tried, honestly I did. I lasted a whole eight hours before my sister-in-law came into our store the morning after the discovery and gave me her usual bone-popping hug. When I started blushing and staring pointedly at the computer screen, she knew something was amiss. I tried to shrug it off by the "woke up on the wrong side of the bed" routine, but then I sleep between my husband and the wall--not a whole lot of options there. Five minutes later, I caved and my sister-in-law collapsed onto the floor and just stared up at me, her mouth agape.
For almost a month, she was the only person besides my husband who knew, then I visited my friend and she unveiled the secret before I even had a chance to blurt it out.
Two days later, I told my book club girls. A week after that, my parents, my brothers (the elder yelled the news to his best friend as soon as I had relayed it; the younger curled against the couch and stared at me like I was some blond version of Edward Scissorhands). Next, I told my husband's parents, his siblings, and our nieces and nephews, then our cashier who probably found out the same day as my sister-in-law. But there was still someone I hadn't told: my best friend who was traversing across Europe and wouldn't be back for another month and a half.
I didn't want to share such a secret on some social media medium like Facebook or Skype, so I knew the only way I could tell her was face-to-face. I imagined taking a long walk and running back through all of our quaint childhood memories. Just as the sun was about to set, I would look over, smile with the mystique of da Vinci's Mona Lisa, and tell my best friend the news.
It didn't happen that way. Not at all. For two whole months I hadn't talked to her in case I would let the secret slip. I had just sent her terse little messages that could've been transposed from any generic greeting card. But the day after my best friend's return to the States, I called her so we could make plans to meet the following afternoon. We exchanged small talk, then she said, "We have so many stories to tell."
I simply replied, "Yes, we do have a lot to catch up on."
The line went silent; I winced and looked at the shattered screen of my cell phone. Then my best friend said what I had been wanting to tell her for over sixty days: "ARE YOU PREGNANT?!?!"
Now it was my time to be silent as these words, probably plagiarized from some country song, ran through my head: Do I lie tonight and tell the truth tomorrow? But as soon as I started stammering and blushing, I knew any chance of subterfuge was for naught.
"Uhhh--huhhh, yes..." I said. "I'm--I'm expecting."
Although it wasn't the Big Reveal I had imagined, as I listened to my best friend scream, then her family echo her as the wildfire of news spread and as they called my mother and put her on speakerphone -- playfully berating her for keeping this from them for so long -- I realized the best moments in life are often those that don't go according to plan.