We all have secrets. I’m not an exception, I know. But I don’t like to share like some people. I’m one of the people who keep their secrets padlocked to their heart. I wasn’t always like that. It wasn’t until I shared a secret, that fatal secret, that I closed my heart to everyone.
When I was little I discovered a place in the park where no one had been before. All you had to do was make your way through the brambles to find a beautiful little semi circle that opened on to the river. There were no cans, cigarette butts or pieces of newspaper here like there was around the rest of the park. It was perfectly untouched. Throughout the next few years of my life I practically lived there, because it was the one place I could be away from my parents. My parents. Strict Catholics with ideas about what I should be doing with my life. I was to do something useful, something that God would be proud of me for. I tried, I really did. But the only problem was some of things we were told God had meant to be were not what I thought. And some of the things I heard went against who I was. So as soon as I went to University I explored what other people thought, and discovered that not everyone was like my parents. In fact, most of them were the complete opposite. After my first year in University, I told my parents one of my secrets, the secret that got me kicked out of my home and in to the house of one of my new friends. For the next three years I lived with Stacey Portia in our own flat with two other flat mates from University. When I got the job as an English teacher at St David’s Secondary school I left with a fond goodbye, to start my new life, where I had no parents to care if I was a lesbian or not. Yes that’s right. That is why I was kicked out of my home. My name is Summer Malem, and I am a lesbian.
Every morning before work I take a jog down the little footpath next to my house. It refreshes me before I go to work and teach about some of the greatest pieces of literature to teenagers who can’t understand why the authors would bother to write in the first place. Despite this, my job is precious to me, because I love to teach meaning to people, I love to hear the thoughts of people expressed when they begin to understand, to feel, what an author is actually saying. Every day somebody surprises me, and every day I take my jog. I slip in to my sports bra and shorts on a summer’s day, and tie up my trainer laces before leaving through my back door. Now it’s getting colder so my jacket comes with me, but I won’t wear my joggers until winter sets in, because I prefer to feel the wind on my legs. Once I’m ready, I jump over my back fence and head off down the track, ready to take in the new and exciting sights of each brand new day.
When I’d jogged about a quarter of a mile I saw another woman up ahead, who was taking a sip out of a bottle of water and pulling her long brown hair back in to a rough ponytail. I jogged past, smiling at her as she turned and grinned at me.
“Nice morning!” I called as I went past.
“Yeah, it is.” She called back. I carried on jogging for several minutes more until I heard the pounding of feet just behind me. The woman was soon jogging next to me, grinning. “You’re not very fast.”
“Oh yeah?” I sped up a little, and she kept in time with me.
“Race you!” She laughed before setting off at faster pace, her brown eyes twinkling mischievously. For a minute my brain paused, cautioning me that I knew nothing about this girl, but then my thoughts were drowned by a cry from her. “Come on slow coach!”
I grinned and sped up, catching her easily and passing her with only a little more energy. My hair bobble fell out but I kept going for the fun of it all.
“Who’s the slow coach now?” I was pulling further ahead when I heard the footsteps behind me stop.
“Alright, you win!” She called and I jogged back. She handed me my hair bobble and I twisted my hair up in to its messy bun again. “I’m Katie by the way,” she said, holding out her hand.
“Summer.” I replied, shaking her hand warmly before releasing it and gesturing back down the path. “Want to jog back?”
“Sure.”After a few minutes of silent jogging, she speaks again. “Summer, that’s a nice name.”
“Thanks. I like Katie, it suits you.”
“Thanks. Do you usually jog in the morning?”
“Every morning. You?”
“I used to jog every morning back in the city, so I guess I’m going to carry on here.”
“You’re new here?”
“Yeah. We moved here on Thursday.”
“Oh, well I hope you like it here.” We’d reached the bottom of my garden, so I stopped and so did she. “Maybe we can go jogging together some other time.”
I’d like that.” She smiled.
“Well, I hope I see you tomorrow then. It was nice to meet you.”
“You too.” I climbed over the fence and dropped down the other side. I waved and then ran up my garden as Katie waved back. Once inside I quickly slipped off my clothes and climbed in to the shower. I closed my eyes and sighed as the hot water refreshed my skin. Katie flashed in to my thoughts, and I dwelled on the meeting as I washed through my hair. She was gorgeous, but naturally so, and she seemed to have this musical note to her voice that made me think she would have a beautiful singing voice. Details I’d noticed in passing seemed to leap through my mind, like the tiny bead of sweat that clung to her back as she ran, and the curves of her figure that suited her so well. I shook my head. I didn’t even know her, and besides, I was pretty sure that thoughts of me weren’t going through her head right now.