Some Truths are Better Left Unspoken

Submitted into Contest #68 in response to: Start your story with someone admitting a secret and end it with someone telling a lie.... view prompt


Drama LGBTQ+ Fiction

I reach my arm to the glass on my bedside table, still half asleep, but it’s empty. I hate the heating in this damn building. It’s always so warm and dry. I reluctantly get out of bed and make my way in the corridor's darkness leading to the kitchen to get water. I hear footsteps on the rooftop, the clock on the wall reads 4 am. I grab a coat off the hanger by the door and head out. Hoping it’s a familiar face and not a robber, I open the door that leads to the roof. Pacing anxiously in front of a canvas is Amy.

“Can’t sleep?” I ask.

She spins around, with muted excitement she says.

“Hey friend! I hope my pacing didn’t wake you up.”

“Nah, the heat did the work. “

“Central heating sucks!” we say together. I laugh a bit, wondering if I’ve become so predictable or if she believes that.

“What are you painting?” I ask as I walk over to her canvas.

The canvas is empty, but up close I notice the paint smudges on her face and fingers. Now that I’m standing close to her I also notice, despite the excitement in her demeanor, her eyes don’t have the same glow they always have. Her ginger hair looks like it hasn’t met a brush in days, although that is normal for her. Looking back at the blank canvas, I say.

“Ames, this is a masterpiece. How do you come up with this stuff??” in fake amazement. She chuckles.

“I haven’t started working on this one yet.”

“How did you get so much paint on yourself…?” I ask confused.

“Oh, I painted those 5 other ones.” She says casually, pointing to a pile of destroyed canvasses.

“Is this… some high concept advanced art that I don’t get? Is it like a representation of how everything is ephemeral”

“No, I just thought it was safer to punch through them than toss them off the roof.” She interrupts, “Do you think I would get fined if I toss them off the roof?” She asks, hurrying towards the edge of the rooftop and looking down on the mostly empty street. 

“I have so many questions.” I say as I pull her away from the edge. I hold her by the shoulders “Most important of all, are you okay? Why are you up at 4 am punching through your paintings on the rooftop?” I ask.

She’s always been strange in a very endearing way, but something felt odd, even for her. She scrunched up her nose at my question, squishing her already small baby face further. She walked over to the boxy heating vent and propped herself up. I walk over and lean against it, watching her.

“Are we gonna have to play a game for me to get you to spill the beans?” I ask after a moment of silence.

“What game are you thinking of?” For a second, the twinkle in her eye is back and her slightly crooked smile isn’t hiding anything.

“First to remember all the lyrics to Careless Whisper wins. Loser reveals a secret!” I say.

“Cheat much?!” she exclaims with indignation.

“Sounds like you’re giving up to me. As the loser, you have to tell me what’s wrong.” She rolls her eyes at me. Her shoulders drop slightly..

“I’ve just been thinking. Are you happy? On a scale of 0 to 10, are you happy?”

“You’re up here punching paintings because you’re worried about how happy I am?.” I deadpan. She sighs.

“No. I just meant like, us, people, in general you know?” She fumbles her way through her sentence. I know what she’s getting at, so I ask.

“I’m okay. There is something I want that would take my life from a 7 to a 10 on the happiness scale. What about you?” I ask back.

“I think I’m at a 5. I broke up with Michael a few days ago.”

“I’m sorry.” I say, but deep down, I’m glad she did. She deserves better. 

“I know you didn’t like him, but he’s a fine person. I just… I think I’m asexual and or aromantic.” She finally lets out.

Staring at the city’s skyline, my thoughts spin around my head. For a moment I’m tempted to tell her she doesn’t need to label herself so fast, that she might change her mind, maybe she just hasn’t found the right one. But I say nothing because I think back to when I came out to my family, what they said and how I felt then. I think about what she must be feeling right now, and so I don’t say any of the things burning my tongue.

“Did you tell him that’s why you broke up with him?” I ask instead.

“No. I just told him I needed to figure myself out.” She answered.

I climb the vent. Sitting next to her, I take her hand in mine and say.

“I’m incredibly proud of you. I know what it feels like to be unsure about who you are and what you want. I need you to know that no matter how long it takes or what it is you chose to identify as, I will always be here for you.”

She smiles and pulls me into a hug.

“I love you. You’re the best thing to have ever happened to me.” she says.

I hold on to her like my life depends on it and whisper I love you back. She breaks away. Examining my face, she tilts her head in the lovely way only she can and asks.

“You okay? You’re crying…”

“Yeah. I’m fine." She didn’t look like she was buying my lie so I added, “I was just thinking about when I came out.”

“I’m proud of you for living your truth, babe.” She says wiping a tear off my cheek. “Hey, what’s the thing you want that would put your happiness at a 10? Maybe I can help you get it!”

“I’m not sure. I was just thinking, I guess, it feels like there’s something missing.” 

“I wish I could help you know what it was. If you figure it out, promise to let me know?” She asks innocently. 


We sat there on the vent for a while. The warmth of the air it exhaled keeping us comfortable. Her words echoed in my head. Living my truth. Some truths are better left unspoken, I think to myself.

November 21, 2020 00:45

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