Do they know? Can I tell them?

Locked and Sealed

Can you keep a secret? Have you ever — intentionally or not — spilled the beans (when you should’ve stayed quiet)?

Tim could hardly contain himself. He had to tell someone.

“Not yet,” his wife said. “We’ll wait two more weeks and break the news at the family gathering.”

“That’s a long time to wait and they are 500 miles away. What about our local friends?” he pleaded.

“No. We don’t want any of them spreading the information. It might get to the family before we tell them.” she firmly stated.

“Our family doesn’t know these people,” he grumbled to her. “I really don’t think it would hurt to tell them.”

“Don’t.” she replied.

Tim sighed and went to work. He struggled to keep the secret. It remained poised in the forefront of his thoughts all day. Wherever he went, he carefully phrased his conversations to prevent accidental disclosure. He considered telling a total stranger just to release the pressure. What could it hurt to tell a random cashier or a co-worker?

Three days passed. Tim held firm through constant effort and determined vigilance. The secret burned with unrelenting urgency, desperate to be told.

Five days, then seven, and then ten elapsed. Tim gritted his teeth in the effort to hold back each day. He barely spoke to anyone out of fear his defenses were so weak he’d blurt out the news in response to a simple greeting. He went to work, stayed as isolated as possible, and came home to his wife. No detours, no interaction with strangers (or cashiers), no telling.

On the twelfth day he came home to find his wife chatting on the phone.

She saw him come in and said, “Okay then. I’ll talk to you more later. Tim just came home.” and hung up.

She put down the receiver and lowered her eyes.

“That was my mom,” she said, “Calling to offer advice on our news.”

Tim was stunned. “You told her?!” he asked.

“Nine days ago,” she sheepishly responded, “I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. I had to tell someone!”

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