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A secret is a beautiful thing, which conceals importance within the bonds of loyalty and trust. It is something which the secret teller guards in confidentiality, enabling a relationship of reliability to form. Essentially, secrets are the foundations of friendships, and this is what makes them truly beautiful; for without secrets, there would be no friendships, and humankind needs friendship and companionship to survive; because, you see, without friendships, there is only solitude, and solitude is loneliness. Thus, secrets are vital to human life.
Molly Walker was a secret keeper. For many years, she was the bottle in which a small, yet powerful, message was contained. She alone knew of what was concealed inside her safe, and she alone held the power of unleashing what so many people never cared to know.
You see, Molly Walker had been hurt before by a man she once loved, and a man she thought she would always love. She had been betrayed by someone she thought she could trust, and now, Molly Walker had no camaraderie, no loyalties, and she trusted no one. And because of all this, she was hopelessly alone, dying in a pit of misery due to her lack of socialization. She had ostracized herself from the rest of the world when he had severed all ties between them. Molly Walker’s secret was that she was scared. She didn’t know what to do now that she knew the truth about Jack Dugbee.
“Jack, where have you been? We got us three babies to raise and you’ve been out drinkin’ again?” Molly was furious. She was irate. She was going to explode with rage. This was the fourth time this week that Jack had failed to accomplish his fatherly duties, and instead had gone for what he called, “a couple of drinks with his pals.” Basically, it was his pathetic excuse of coming home wasted, and Molly was livid.
His words came out slurred, “I just been havin’ a few—“
“With your pals? Your buds? You play this game every night, Jack. I’m sick of it. When you gonna realize that we can’t afford it anymore? Not just financially, but your children need a father, Jack. They haven’t ever seen you sober, and they don’t know what paternal love even is! How can you stagger over your drunk body and call yourself their daddy?”
Jack opened his mouth in retaliation, “Geez, Molly, would you let me finish? I just been havin’ a few with my pals, and I decided, I don’t need you anymore. What reason do I got for stayin’? I found me another woman, Molly, and she knows just what to do to make me happy; she don’t yell at me like you do, and I been with her two months now, so goodbye, Molly Walker, because you’re no longer Molly Dugbee. I’m leavin’.”
Now it had been exactly fourteen days and seventeen hours since he had confessed the brutal truth, and Molly had rushed to her parents. Lucky for her, Shiloh, Georgia was one of the smallest towns in the state, and her parents only lived a quarter of a mile up the road. It was a quick walk for her, her oldest daughter Adelaide, her only son Jack Jr., and her baby girl Cindy. Moreover, her parents Ron and Lacey, were eager to help in any way possible; Ron was ready to “hunt that boy down with his shotgun”.
The days ticked by slowly for Molly, and she was scared—scared to cry, and admit weakness; scared to laugh and seem like she never really loved him; scared that her children would grow up without a father; scared that her world was caving in on top of her; scared that her parents couldn’t afford to pay for her much longer; and most importantly, she was scared that she would never love again. Not the way she had loved Jack.
He was different when they decided to get married; he was polite and handsome, oh boy, was he handsome. He had been charming too, telling Molly all the things a lady wants to hear. He had those hazel eyes that could either be brown or green, and Molly swore the change in colors was directly linked to his mood. When he was trying to be romantic, his eyes were generally brown, warm, like melted chocolate. When he was spontaneous or doing something crazy, his eyes were playful, spunky—green, like emeralds.
But now, ever since the birth of Adelaide, so much had changed in Jack, and he wasn’t her Jack anymore. In fact, he was her best friend Martha’s Jack now. And Molly cheated out of a husband, and a best friend. And the solitude that comes when there is no one to confide in, no one to trust, was creeping in from every corner of her life. She was surrounded by it, engulfed by it, overcome by it. She was drowning in it, and it was choking her. She couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t call out for help, she couldn’t move. All she could do was sit there and slowly let it suffocate her.