Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: OPEN UP A CAN OF WORMS (08/22/19)
TITLE: Popping the Lid off the Family Secrets
By Jack Taylor
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I’d wormed my way into so many family secrets just by pretending I knew things. I found out about her first kiss- not to Uncle Tony; her pranks at youth camps; her first sip of something not coca cola; her fishing trips where she freed all grandpa’s bait; the accident. By playing off one sister against the other I had every can of worms in the county wide open.
When I walked in the door without knocking, she was eyeing the level of milk in the measuring cup. “What do you know!” I started. “Mom didn’t even know she was adopted.”
Aunt Becky’s eyes got real big, her mouth hung open and as she lowered the measuring cup, the milk spilled out on the counter. Feeling the splash on her bare feet she slammed the measuring cup down and glared at me. “Where in the world did you get an idea like that?”
I smiled back as I snatched a cookie and stuffed my mouth. “Frrrauuu,” I answered, covering my mouth to be polite.
She snatched up a paper towel and started wiping up the mess. “From me? Oh, no. You’re not going to blame this one on me. I never told you for sure she was adopted.”
“When I told you, I felt like I might be the only adopted person I know, you said ‘I wasn’t.’”
“I said nothing about your mother.”
“I asked you who was adopted and you said that you couldn’t say anything because it might open a can of worms.”
“Ya’ know when you say something you don’t mean to say, to cover up something you shouldn’t say – that’s what I’m talking about. How did you find out?”
“I waited for mom to get her bath after work. She was kinda’ sleepy like, sipping her tea, getting ready to watch the news. I just asked her what can of worms might get open if we talked about her adoption?”
“Oh, my goodness! What did she say?”
“She kind of spurted her tea onto her pajamas and stared at me. Then she started sobbing. I had to grab the cup before it all spilled.”
“As I live and breathe, child, you’re going to be the death of me yet. I’m surprised your mom hasn’t already called to rip my ear off.”
“I think she might have if the paramedics didn’t have her strapped in so tight. The ambulance should probably be at the hospital by now.”
“Goodness, me, child! Those doctors don’t even know half the medical issues in that family.”
“They’ve figured out the heart issue,” I said innocently. “And the pregnancy.”
“What? She knows she can’t get pregnant. There’s a history of Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, hemophilia and Hunter’s syndrome. That’s why you were adopted. I’ve got to get down there, immediately.”
“Do you want me to drive?” I asked.
“No child, I’ll call the handicapped bus to pick me up.”
“Do you miss driving?”
“What’s that got to do with anything when your mom is in the hospital?”
“She’s actually outside waiting in the car. She wanted to know if you would go shopping with us.”
“Why you little rascal. Coming in here, stealing my cookies, getting me to cough up all kinds of family secrets? I’m never telling you another thing and your mother better not find out about this.”
“Too late! We’re actually going to church but I knew if I told you that you might not think twice about spending time with two people who are totally unrelated to you.”
“Okay! So, what worms do we need to get back into the can before we spend anymore time together?”
“I think that’s why we’re going to church. The worms are out and now it’s confession time.”
“What did you really tell your mom?”
“That’s for me to confess and you to find out.”
“Listen kid, you may not be related by blood but we’ve got something that is going to keep us as family much longer.”
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