Earwigs

earwig2

I was talking in as low a voice as I could. To avoid the earwigs. To avoid anyone hearing my secret. They’re always ear-wigging in on me, hoping to overhear something. They all know I’ve got a very special secret and so they’re listening in, stretching their ears, stretching their ears, hoping that I might let something slip. I’m not ever going to let anything slip though. Nothing. Not ever. Not a damn thing. No one is ever going to get anything out of me. No chance. I’m far too canny for that…

 

Get away from me, I wanted to scream. Get away, get away, get away! You can’t hear my secret. Deep inside of me I could hear the echoing refrain: “Get away! Get away! Get away!” and “You can’t hear my secret! You can’t hear my secret! You can’t hear my secret!” The refrain reverberates deep inside the hidden recesses of my brain. Way way down deep. Out of sight. In the privacy of my innermost mind. Where I keep my special secret.

 

Sometimes I can’t help wondering if having to keep this secret isn’t driving me mad! The effort of guarding it and the stress and paranoia of thinking that people are after it the whole time. If I see a shadow I jump. Human company is all but intolerable to me. I knew that I had to keep my paranoia about people earwigging in on me and trying to hear about my secret hidden or else I would be attracting every earwig under the sun. They would hone in on me. I would draw them on myself with my paranoia. The paranoia would attract them just like fresh blood attracts sharks. So I couldn’t just start yelling “Get away! Get away” get away!” as I’d like to. I’d be advertising the fact that I have this secret that I don’t want anyone to know about. I’d be proclaiming it out loud. I’d be giving the game away. I had to keep all my thoughts about people trying to find out about my secret under wraps – I had to keep them all filed away in a top-secret cabinet hidden away in the deepest recesses of my innermost mind. I had to lock them up. “Lock up the thoughts, lock up the thoughts, lock up the thoughts” went the refrain in my head. This refrain had to be kept secret too. I had to keep it all on the inside. I had to keep on smiling away on the outside, giving nothing away. Not letting anything out. “Keep the refrain secret, keep the refrain secret, keep the refrain secret…” went the refrain about the refrain, deep down in the secret recesses of my private innermost mind…

 

I remember when knowing that I had this secret gave me a lot of pleasure. I remember how I would feel a keen pang of pleasure every time I thought about it. It felt so damn good to know that I knew this thing that no one else knew about, no one else in the whole wide world. It delighted me to think that no one even suspected. I used to go around grinning like a Cheshire cat in those days. Every time I met someone I felt like laughing out loud. I was grinning so damn much that my face hurt. Inside I was laughing, laughing, laughing. I was pissing myself. Maybe that sounds kind of stupid to you. Maybe you think I must be a right eejit. Looking back, even I have to admit that it sounds a bit strange. But there was power in having the secret knowledge, the secret knowledge that only I had. Very real power. True power. I suppose you could say that it gave me the edge. It gave me an advantage – I knew something that no one else in the world knew. Nobody, nobody, nobody. Only me, only me, only me. I had only to think of this and I immediately felt better in myself. If I was feeling down it cheered me up. I had only to think of this and straightaway a big old smile would come to my face. I’d be grinning like a fool. I’d be grinning like a mad jackass.

 

All that’s changed now. I’m not grinning any more. There’s no pleasure in knowing that I’ve got this secret any more, this secret that no one else knows about. There’s only stress, only fear, only paranoia, as I’ve been saying. It has me tormented. It’s turned my life into a living hell. If you were to catch sight of me you’d probably say to yourself “That guy’s really messed up!” I’m muttering to myself the whole time and looking around me and twitching like a lunatic. If you could see me you’d probably think that I look like a right furtive bastard. You’d probably think that I look like a total freak. And you’d be right. There’s no pleasure left in my life. No peace. No dignity. Nothing but paranoia…

 

So why don’t I just give up my secret, you’re probably thinking. What’s the point in hanging onto it? It’s only pain after all. It’s doing me no good at all – it’s only a useless burden. Worse than useless – it’s making my life a misery. I know this seems like the obvious thing to do. I know I should just let go of it. Spill the beans. Tell the secret. Say it out loud. Let some damn earwig overhear me. God knows there’s enough of them about. Then it would be over! It would all be out in the open and I’d be free. The secret would be a secret no more…

 

The thing is I just can’t. I can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve spent so long hanging on my secret that I just can’t bring myself to let go of it. To tell the truth, I’m terrified of letting go of it. Absolutely terrified. Shit scared. It’s like the world’s going to end if I tell it, or something like that. Like the sky’s going to fall in. I become paralysed with fear even at the thought of letting it out. And do you want to hear the really crazy thing? I can’t even remember what this bloody secret is anymore…

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