Having a secret lover simply means having a significant other that no one else knows about. For some reason, letting others know about him may cause upraised eyebrows. The reasons are many.
Perhaps he’s married or there’s a vast age difference between the two of you or perhaps it's because of racial differences.
In high school, I had a secret lover. He was popular with the school crowd and was captain of the debate team. So he had a way with words. He was the buff charismatic guy that all the females adored.
I was nothing like my secret lover. I was shy and hated to speak in front of the class because my voice would quiver and I would be one word away from having a full-blown panic attack.
I was the traditional wallflower.
No one ever noticed me—except my secret lover. Can you imagine how I felt in his presence? It made my already anxious personality even more anxious—at first.
But when he smiled at me and said I’d done a good job when it was my turn to debate, it helped to boost my confidence a bit.
I wrote a letter to my secret lover. In it, I toasted him for his kind words when I was debating. I knew I sucked at debating but he was truly encouraging. In my letter to him, I wrote:
“In ancient days, kings threw dissidents into an arena filled with hungry lions. While I cannot imagine the all-encompassing terror that must’ve gripped these victims, when I pass you in the hall and you smile at me, I am familiar with the tightness that seizes my heart and threatens to stop it from beating.
“According to scientists, there are 20,000 species of butterflies. There is the Monarch with its orange wings and a bold black outline around its edges. And there is the Birdwing that has a wingspan of almost one foot!!!
“Remember when you spoke to me in class saying, ‘How’s it going?’ It felt as though all 20,000 species of butterflies resided right there in the pit of my stomach. When I answered, saying, ‘Just great, Andre,’ I was astonished that none of the butterflies flew out of my mouth.
“Some butterflies will always dwell in the pit of my stomach and will flutter there along with the rapid beat of my heart when I’m close to you.
"But both the flutter and the heart rate have slowed over the course of time since you never gave me a disapproving glance when I became tongue tied during class debate or when I made up words or when my words rushed out garbled.
"Thanks for squeezing my hand, reassuring me that I was in a safe and nonjudgmental environment in which I could soar above my fears.
“Andre, please raise your glass, whether real or imagined, whether filled with champagne or not. I toast you, for providing me with the assurance I needed to pass my debate class.
"Let’s drink in celebration because in our arena, there are no lions. And let’s drink because in my stomach, the butterflies are thirsty.”
I never saw Andre again since high school but it’s not hard to imagine that he would have become a lawyer.
The biggest secret in all this is that Andre never knew he was my secret lover.
We weren’t even friends. He’d say a few encouraging words to me here and there. And the squeezing of my hand that one time was the only physical contact we ever had.
I keep the letter that I wrote to him. I read it when I need encouragement.
Although many years have passed, I still sometimes lift a glass of champagne to him, my secret lover.
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