TWENTY-SEVEN - Not so Safe Secrets

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January 11th, Friday

You know how I said that raccoons are supposed to be symbolic of adaptability, flexibility, exploring and adventure? Well, that may be true, but I don't know if it explains why I keep finding myself in crisis situations. Ones where I have to be capable and confident. Like today for example.

Ivy and I were eating lunch in the Blue Room again (she has commandeered the orange beanbag cushion with the Hawaiian hibiscus print, and I, the green one printed with a herd of majestic elk). Anyway, I went to the kitchen to get us more hot water for our Lapsang souchong  (a smoky variety of black tea that Ivy has me hooked on), and found Scarlet hunched over and looking terrified in the corner by the back door.

I asked her what was wrong, but she couldn't really breathe very well, and I immediately thought, oh no, two heart attacks in the same month?

I was about to go and get Raven, who was reading a book about owls by David Sedaris in the English room, but Scarlet grabbed my arm in a vice-like grip and said, No Myles! Please. Stay. So, I stayed. And eventually she stopped breathing so fast and began to cry. She told me she'd had a panic attack and then swore me to secrecy because, if her friends, Gemma and Arden, found out, she'd die. I said, but, aren't they your friends? And she said that clearly, I didn't know anything about girls or their complex social hierarchy. I told her that was probably true, but I also told her that if her friends gave her a bad time about having a panic attack, then they probably weren't very good friends.

She looked at me with her huge blue eyes and smiled, and at that moment, I realized that Scarlet is actually really pretty when she isn't trying so hard.

She asked me if I had any secrets like hers, and I said only that I get migraines now and then, which make me puke  and want to take an axe to my skull. But that's not really a secret, so I told her that I sometimes talked to a 40-year-old stuffed raccoon when I'm trying to sort stuff out in my head.

That's when she threw her arms around my neck and thanked me for being "so nice to her." It was also when Ivy came into the kitchen, (no doubt wondering where I had got to with our empty mugs) and gave me a look that could have jumpstarted the next ice age.

I went after her, but when I got to The Blue Room, the orange hibiscus-printed beanbag had been abandoned.

Lincoln looked at me and shook his head. He said, what was I thinking, falling for Scarlet's charms? And I said it wasn't like that at all, and he said I was in a dark place and more knowledge would serve to light my way, and then I yelled, who did he think he was? Fucking Yoda? After that, The Blue Room went quiet, because I think most people have more or less figured out that I'm not one to drop gratuitous "F" bombs. So, they knew things were serious.

I told Dad about Ivy and Scarlet after dinner, but he just shrugged and said, "Women are complex, Myles. I still don't understand them," which, while well-meaning, was absolutely no help at all.

As a last resort, I ran it all past Peterson, but unfortunately, I did not receive any flashes of insight this time. Just a stony cold stare from his cheap and ill-focused marble eyes. Some spirit animal he's turned out to be. 

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