The Sound of Secrets

By Bill Fountain

Posted September 18, 2020, 2:53 pm

At age 33, it seemed my life was finally back on track. I had a beautiful girlfriend and was working full-time at a large company with great benefits.

I have a secret superpower that at one point I thought was my key to wealth and success. I don't understand why I have this skill but its power and accuracy is undeniable. Whenever I stare into someone's eyes for an elongated moment it causes them to share a secret with me. It's as if there is something about my gaze that gives people the controllable necessity to release something they have been holding only to themselves.

At first, I thought people just liked me and trusted me, but the same thing would happen an uncanny amount of times with strangers. I dropped out of high school thinking that with my power the world was at my hands. All I had to do was get in contact with high-status people and I would be able to capitalize off virtually any industry.

I always enjoyed playing the piano and making music, so I began writing songs with the dreams of landing a financially stable career in music. If it turned out my talent and work weren't good enough, all I had to do was blackmail executives with their deepest secrets in order to get the spot I felt I deserved. I know it sounds dirty, but I was hungry for recognition. I loved playing the piano and wanted more than anything to share my art with the world. But if I was being truly honest with myself, I thought I wasn't good enough.

Nothing happened; it turns out knowing peoples' secrets doesn't do much for own welfare. I learned that if I'm going to make a name for myself, I needed to work hard just like everybody else. My brother put in a good word for me at his software company and landed me a solid position. It is there that I met Kayla, whom today I have been dating for two months.

She really helped me in loving myself again. Whenever I was with her, life became animated and lively. Just the sound of her voice would fill the room with such a sense of fresh air that I wanted to be near her always. The way she so apparently loves life is infectious and I am so blessed to have met her.

Inevitably, she shared all her deepest secrets with me and found a true friend in me that wouldn't judge or criticize her. I will admit that my power did have some aid in our growing love, but I strongly feel that even without the power I would have fallen for her.

I was driving down the main road, five minutes away from her apartment. We were going to go have dinner at her parents' house tonight, and I was feeling nervous out of my mind. Not only was this our first time meeting, but I felt I needed to avoid eye contact to avoid any embarrassing secret sharing. I turned down the radio, cracked the window and took some deep breaths in and out in an attempt to calm my nerves.

As I turned into her apartment complex, I told Siri to call Kayla and she picked up after the first ring.

"Are you here, my love?" she asked.

"Yes, I'm so anxious right now!" I replied.

"It'll be fine! I'll see you," she said before hanging up. It only took her about thirty seconds to come outside to my car. She stepped in, greeted me with a kiss and told me her parents' home address.

"You really don't need to be nervous," she assured me, "they are going to love you. Besides, we're always great together!"

"I know- it's just. I don't want them to think I'm weird or anything." I couldn't stop thinking about how I'd have to talk to them while looking to the side of them, avoiding their eyes. I couldn't risk any secret-sharing at the dinner table tonight. My power had the capacity to destroy families.

When we arrived, I found that I was a lot more comfortable than I thought I would be. To actually see and hear these people made me remember how nice and loving most human beings were. We walked into the house and I immediately noticed a large grand piano in their living room. I was tempted to play it but knew that was really unlikely to happen. Kayla didn't even know I knew how to play.

During dinner, I kept my eye contact minimal and it seemed everything was going fine. I learned that Kayla's dad was a professional musician and was apart of a large orchestra. I made the mistake of talking to him about the piano in a way that made it obvious I have had lessons. After the phenomenal Alfredo dinner, the family egged me on to play the piano for them as we made our way over to the living room.

I obliged and began warming up with some scales just to get a feel for the keys and pedals. I took a deep breath and began playing familiar Beethoven songs, eventually gathering the courage to play some of my own original music. I was in such a daze, letting my muscle memory do its work that when Kayla's dad started talking to me at the end of one of my songs, I looked him right in the eye without a second thought of what I was doing.

"I wouldn't say you're ready to join an orchestra, but you're-" he stopped in his tracks. My heart dropped as I re-entered reality, noticing that I had used my power on the man. I braced myself for whatever secret was about to be exposed.

"You're very talented. I've been around musicians for over forty years, and have never seen anyone play with so much passion. You're probably better than me! You need to keep playing, son."

The family became quiet before the mother spoke up. "Wow, Hank. I haven't heard you give someone a compliment since... ever!"

I went home feeling a blissful emotion of serenity and love. I decided right then and there to pick up my music right where I left it off, continuing my adoring passion now with a loving girlfriend at my side.

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