That wall, Shammie looks at it with indignation, such a plain wall at that point in time. The blankness on the wall is daunting. She has feigned a loose bowel so that she could sneak out of the Chemistry exam, which was their last paper before they finished their senior year. So that she could see it for the last time .Because soon, that wall will be filled with secrets, and she will take part in sharing a secret, with the whole class. It was a class ritual, that every last day of the senior year, the high school seniors would each share a secret that they kept against each other over the past four years of high school. It was a way of letting go of the past that could make them move on to the future. It was a way of making them know that someone else did something and that they had the guts to let the world know. So that, as their lives moved on, they would know each other, as they were and not as they seem to be.
Shammie had gazed on the wall for a while, before she noticed that she would take too long and the teacher would come looking for her. She walked away from the wall, and walked into the class once again, forcefully ignoring the other students’ eyes which would interrogate her whereabouts and she would give in. She came to her seat briskly, straightening her skirt before taking her seat to finish the test. She ignored the stares of others who knew where exactly she was. In truth, they were all curious, to see what secrets other people held.
Thereafter, it became a magical thing, as people would ghost around the wall when no one else was around, and scribble something in a corner, with a marker, a pencil, a crayon or a chalk, onto the grey wall. And by the evening, before they would go home, flocks of boys and girls would surround the scene, in cliques of girls only or boys only, looking at each text, and mildly trying to guess. Some were funny while others were desperate. While the giggles and bursts of laughter were unbearable, the sharers of the secrets felt a sort of pride, and a sort of freedom in knowing that the secret would not bear a heavy burden on them from that point forward. Shammie stood alone, looking from the right end of the wall. She felt the writings on the wall with the tip of the finger, looking and gazing, and imagining that one of those secrets would concern her. They were so pure and raw: I kissed you in my dreams; I farted in class when others thought it was you ;I fucked your mother; I kissed a boy; I peed in your locker; I stole your picture; I never read for exams; I’ve always wanted to talk to you; I’ve always copied your answers in exams; I’ve always wanted to be like you; I lied to you that one time; I hate you; I stuck gum on the seat; I threw a paper at you in class; I am ugly; I’ve had sex before; I am gay; I shit at myself when I see you; I tried to kill myself; I am alone; I aborted your baby; I stole your diary; I sent you that letter in class.
That night, in front of her own mirror, at home, Shammie looked at herself, and at her face. She took the shaving machine, and slowly, looked as each strand of her hair fell to the floor. And she was clean once more. She looked at herself, and at her scalp, and she no longer knew this person standing in front of the mirror. Who was she? But then again, it was good that she didn’t know because as she tried to imagine herself in the shoes of the victims, and looked for herself in those secrets, she could hear the echoes of laughter in her head. That would bounce and reverb in her skull, like a never ending torment. Why did they laugh so hard? She couldn’t tell if any of those were her own secrets. Were they? Did she write all of them that time she snuck out?