how to feed a secret

in the shallow part of the sea, not far from shore, lived an eel. a young eel, slender, easily able to slip into the smallest of cracks. more of a hider than a seeker.

one day he slipped into a small opening in an old coral, a hole no bigger than the tip of your finger. the opening led to a tunnel that widened out to a comfortable space, so he stayed there, afloat, at peace in his solitude.

presently, two big fish swam near. they could not see the eel, but the young eel could see them, could see their flashing teeth. and, he could hear them as they conversed, their jaws opening and closing as ugly ideas moved back and forth. the eel overheard something that terrified him. he wanted to jet away, but the fish would then see him and eat him. if he stayed still, he’d have to continue hearing the awful conversation. he could not stop his ears, he had no arms or fingers. he had to listen.

when the young eel could finally emerge safely, much later, he was a changed eel, burdened with a knowing he was not ready for.

he swam slowly and heavily. he did the only thing he could think of, he whispered his pain to the ever-soothing sea. the sea listened, and let him know that secrets can be made lighter and less powerful in two ways: letting them go, or letting others share the weight of the words. the sea warned him that there was, however, a grain of difference between a secret weakened by sharing, and a secret strengthened by gossip. it is the power of intent that decides the life of a secret. even little eels can know what kind of intent to feed a secret.

the eel wrapped his tail around a nearby strand of seaweed to keep steady, and tried once more to breathe the secret to the sea, with all his heart. the sea encircled him and his strained heart with her loving embrace. wave after wave of soft whispers gently rocked the eel. and when he felt lighter, he simply let himself go, unmoored from the strand of seaweed. he allowed himself to be carried by the flow of water, no longer burdened.

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