My Secret Shames

by H D Thompson

I was lying in a bath the other night when I had a horrible epiphany – what would happen if I died? Right there and then, just slipped under the water and ceased to breathe the breath of life. The thing is, my epiphany had nothing to do with my non existence and the waste of it all; it had to do with how I would be perceived when I was found.

There I was lying naked – that is how I would be found, and people of note would see. Sure, it’s not a Marilyn Monroe status death, but my housemates and the paramedics would get a glance, and I’m not in the best of shape. I haven’t trimmed my toenails in months and the fluorescent light in the bathroom is horribly unflattering.

Then there is the worst part – my secrets.

All my secrets lie in my bedroom hidden away amongst piles of crap. No one ever sees what lies beneath and that is the way I like it. But if I die, someone has to go through my things and dispose of everything. Probably my family members or housemates or close friends…anyone that matters really.

The thing on everyone’s mind is porn; everyone is scared of seeing someone else’s porn. What if it’s weird? No one wants to know that about someone, especially if said person is dead and will never be able to explain that it was a joke gift or an I-accidentally-clicked-on-a-pop-up-and-it-downloaded-without-my-permission scenario.

But it’s not porn I’m afraid of. There are far worse things lurking in the depths of my psyche that will unravel my loved ones perception of me faster than Ke$has pathetic career.

Behind all the JD Salinger and Harper Lee, they will find copies of Noni the Pony and Blinky Bill, the Buffy comic series and a Roseanne Barr biography. They will question the presence of a picture book of cute baby animals doing cute things and will discover untouched pristine copies of various literature – the Bronte’s, the Dickens’, the DH Lawrence, and then a tattered and obviously much read Under The Tuscan Sun.

Next to the endless DVD copies of Billy Wilder films they will shudder and recoil at the entire Disney catalogue of films – the endless technicolour blinding them from the facade of black and white classics. A solitary tear will fall down a cheek as someone picks up a copy of the Passion of the Christ, and I will never be able to explain how it came in a free gift bag, and despite many re-postings, never got any bids on eBay. On my mantle where there should be photos of loved ones, they will instead find a VHS copy of Centre Stage on display, accompanied by some dinosaur figurines.

They will discover my hoard of pizza Shapes under my bed – for special occasions (special occasions include, but are not limited to, but are mostly, the hours between 1 and 4 am). They will find sample after sample of expensive perfume, swiped (see: handed to enthusiastically by an over-zealous staff member) from the halls of Myer and David Jones. They will find a one piece wolf costume, very much worn in. Underneath the textbooks and Legolas calenders, is a book I made when I was younger, containing all the spells, potions and incantations from the Harry Potter series.

Then there’s my music. They will finally discover my latent love of pop. They won’t see it coming. They didn’t notice the point I stopped resisting Beyonce’s beat and Gaga’s madness and gave in to the ecstasy of secret bedroom dancing. At least I was smart enough to destroy the one John Mayer CD I once possessed – the one shining light in a dark, dark time.

This being an eco friendly era, they will be repulsed at the dead fern on my desk.  Too lazy to transfer it to a bigger pot, I literally let it die right in front of my eyes, leaving it there to rot because the smell of decaying shrubbery is a little bit arousing. There’s my X-Files sticker collection and my avocado seed in a jar of water. My very much worn Snuggie next to my dinner jacket, still in its original plastic sleeve. My weird James Dean tie collection, my Marvel comic underwear and my holey and faded black socks that even though have long been replaced with new ones, I refuse to throw out for shit knows what reason. And to top it all off, my piano keyboard – a kind and fantastic gift, which had a few moments of human contact before residing to the top shelf of my wardrobe, getting now only the gentle caress of settling dust.

They will discover the fraud I was, walking out of my now empty room crying to themselves, saying things like “I thought I knew him, but I was wrong”, “you think you know a guy” and so on. My future legacy, which should have been something along the lines of champion of the world, will now be how I fooled everyone and how I was a dead loser.

Lying there in that bath I came to one conclusion. The obvious one would be to come clean, be myself and share in my oddities to my friends and loved ones – prove to the world I am not ashamed to be who I am. Instead I came up with a better, more plausible solution – never die.

#H