Flash fiction: Secrets

In my effort to curb my social media habits, I’ve given myself a little grab-bag of crazy things to do instead of checking Twit-book-mail-trest and getting lost in the vortex.  

One of the slips of paper I pulled the other day had a sentence, and it said “5 minutes: Go.”   The sentence in bold is the prompt (from a grab bag of prompts I didn’t write) and what follows is my 5-minute freewrite. What do you think? 

My grandfather lied to my grandmother. I guess it runs in the family. My mother lied to my father – she had known the truth before they were married. Before we were born. They all lied to me and my kid sister.

Will I lie? When the time comes and you ask me about the color of my skin, the waves in my hair? Will I tell you the truth?

We find it out in different ways. My grandfather knew. Of course he knew. He was the first to lie. His real mother had died giving birth to him. No one would know the difference. It was easy to lie to my grandmother. Easier than admitting all of the things we don’t know.

When you ask about these vague stripes that appear on my skin in the sunlight, will I tell you what I know? Or will I, like my mother, avoid going out in the sun?

My mother discovered the truth when she was seventeen. She had been out on a date. The boy was too insistent that she kiss him. Angry, she pushed him away from her. Then my mother screamed when she saw her own hands. But it wasn’t the scream of a frightened young girl.

She ran home to her parents and demanded to know the truth.


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