by Mike Lee
I will keep her secret until the world is prepared. This world is defined by the people I choose to eventually tell it to, maybe her father, or her brother. Perhaps I will reveal it to the former boyfriend who moved into the city a few years ago. I ran into him at Chelsea Guitars, near Seventh Avenue. While trying out guitars, we got to talking about her; shared stories, all of them good, however it pained me to hold back what I knew and could not say about his former lover.
She had a badass car. She drove a black 1966 Pontiac. She loved speed and power, and gave in to nothing but both. This was the only part of the secret she revealed, which she told me one night, both of us coming down from an ecstasy high before crashing out in that Pontiac as the dawn neared out by Lake Buchanan.
Austin wasn’t as big then, but you could see the urban glow in those days; hazy and welcoming—a small town in so many ways. While there are secrets still told in the night, they are at times strikingly similar stories. This is a different time than then, and only her story—this secret—belongs to her, alone.
She also told me she loved me and I was there for her when her brother never could be, and I sometimes wished I were him, instead.
Today I received an email from her brother. He wrote about moving back home, and about life with his girlfriend. I began writing the secret in my response, before deleting. The world was unready. Texas boys, when they become men, take the notion of honor seriously. So, quote Dylan, until that time comes when it feels like it’s right, I’ll keep it with mine.
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Mike Lee is a writer, labor journalist and photographer based in New York City and Managing Editor of a trade union publication. Fiction and forthcoming publications include The Ampersand Review, Paraphilia, Sensitive Skin, The Drunken Llama, Visions Libres, Glossolalia, Dime Show Review, The Peacock Journal, Third Street Writers, The Corvus Review, Violet Windows and The Potomac. His stories are featured in several anthologies, including Forbidden Acts (Avon) and Pawn of Chaos (White Wolf). A story collection, titled All Your Ambition, is published in Germany by VL Editions. Website: www.mleephotoart.com