Short Stories

It’s Not Yours to Know

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor quite some time, I have been enamored by the stories of others. Despite the conscious of my heart, my curiosity grew. My thirst for knowledge of others expanded until I could think no more about anything else. Only that I must know the stories of others. I must know them and spread them to others. I took the path that some call Destruction. But this was the only way to get to these stories. I had to take these turns, talk to these people. I had to spread these rumors. The path looked harmless, of course. It looked like daily life. And so I took this road, despite the phrase that knocked on my heart every hour that I traveled. “It’s not yours to know”, became my relentless enemy that tried to stop my endeavors for frivolous knowledge.

It’s not yours to know.

“It’s not yours to know.”

The phrase knocked more diligently, but to no avail. I walked a little farther down the road to catch a glimpse of the the swirling tornado. I’d always wanted to view these tornadoes without the consequences of its destruction. I have several friends that somehow manage this feat. They stand so close, know all about it, and walk away without a singe. Yet the curiosity of it all is the trail of black tar my friends leave in their wake. 

As I approach the tornado, I instinctively flinch at the story that is unfolding before me. Heartache. Pain. Mislead passion. The voice beneath my curiosity repeats “It’s not yours to know. It’s not yours to know.” I am too afraid that I will be unable to know the fullness of this dramatic story in the likeness of a tornado. So I tread carefully. I move quietly. I listen to the whispers around me and piece together a story so deep in destruction that my own mind is running wild with the implications. 

I hear steps behind me. It is a man and my first instinct is to tell him all that I know about this story. I piece together my version of the facts. “He said, she said, I heard…” and suddenly he knows about this story. This story that doesn’t even belong to him. Or to me. A crowd gathers to watch the story as it unfolds in tornado like fashion. We pass along “facts” and preconceived ideas. We evaluate how the emotions were construed, what could have been done better, what should have never happened. We toy with the hearts in the story, as if we can bend them to our will and release them in our way.

It’s not yours to know.” The phrase is tapping on the door of my mind, and begging for entrance. But I will not let it in. My curiosity has become my only judgment. I want more of this story. I want to write, rewrite, and edit a story that will never be mine. And I don’t even care, because curiosity is my only concern. Unbeknownst to myself, I begin to yell what should be happening to lessen the destruction of this raging tornado. I cannot hear my voice, until I can hear that the whole crowd is yelling their perceived ending of a story that doesn’t even belong to them. We raise our hands in passion. We raise our voices in mocking cries. We laugh among ourselves, because this destruction could have been prevented if only we were in the workings of the tornado.

Suddenly, blackness overtakes the crowd, fire burns three hearts to the ground, a deafening explosion erupts. All is silent.

And from the ashes, the only survivor. Three other bodies lie motionless on the ground. They were in the tornado, measuring their reactions, contemplating their decisions, and yet they could not make it out of this mess alive.

From the ashes, a girl my age, stands up in her tattered dress. Burns run along her arms, and promised scars begin to appear. She looks at the crowd that had gathered for the “entertainment” of her story. She sinks to the ground in what seems to be discouragement, betrayal….heartbreak. My own heart is moved toward her. The entertainment is gone. The tornado has passed and all that is left is lying in a heap among three other tarnished bodies.

I walk to her and I find her hand. I squeeze once. No reaction. I squeeze twice. No reaction. I grab both of her hands and hold them in mine for many minutes. Finally, she looks at me with heartbreak in her eyes. As though, I had betrayed her. And perhaps, I really had.

In faint whispers, she can only say….”My story isn’t meant for laughter, or for frivolous entertainment. My story wasn’t meant to be gossiped about, rewritten, and scorned. It wasn’t yours to know.”

My tears fall freely. She grabs onto my fingers tighter, and then she repeats softly…..and almost incoherently, “It was never yours to know.”

2 thoughts on “It’s Not Yours to Know

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