MidReal Story

Revelations of the Forgotten: Jack's Family Secrets

Scenario: «Ich hatte Geburtstag und stand in der Küche vor dem Kühlschrank, um irgendeinen Terminplan zu lesen.
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«Ich hatte Geburtstag und stand in der Küche vor dem Kühlschrank, um irgendeinen Terminplan zu lesen.
I shook my head as if trying to dislodge a pesky thought from within its confines.
I found the note in the refrigerator.
Why had that note bothered me so much?
It was written on a piece of paper that had been folded and unfolded so many times that it was starting to tear at the creases.
It was probably just a joke from Sarah, or maybe even a leftover prank from last year when we’d been juniors in high school.
Yeah, that was probably it.
The handwriting was neat and precise, but I didn’t recognize it.
I picked up the note and read it again.
It didn’t mean anything at all.
I pushed away those thoughts and headed upstairs for a quick shower before school.
It said, “Happy Birthday, Jack!
After drying off and getting dressed in a pair of faded jeans and a black t-shirt with a Guns N’ Roses logo on it, I grabbed my backpack from my room and went back downstairs for breakfast.
I hope you’re ready to learn the truth about your parents.”
Aunt Marie was already in the kitchen, flipping pancakes on the stove like she did every morning, her short brown hair tied up in a messy bun on top of her head as always.
I stared at the note for a long time, trying to figure out what it meant.
My parents were dead.
“Good morning, Jack,” she said when she saw me come in.
They’d died in a car accident when I was ten years old, and I’d been living with my aunt and uncle ever since.
“Good morning,” I replied, forcing myself to sound more cheerful than I felt.
It was hard for me to find any kind of joy in a regular weekday when all they meant was getting up early for school only to take classes all day long with people I didn’t like very much and teachers who didn’t seem to care whether we learned anything at all.
What truth could there be about them?
Aunt Marie must have heard something wrong in my tone, because she stopped flipping pancakes for a moment and looked at me with a concerned expression on her face.
And why would someone leave a note about it in my refrigerator?
“Are you feeling okay?”
I looked around the kitchen, but there was no one else there.
she asked as she turned back to the stove and added another pancake to the stack she’d been working on.
Just me, all alone on my eighteenth birthday.
“It’s your birthday today,” she said brightly as she slid a plate in front of me with four pancakes on it.
I sighed and crumpled up the note, then threw it in the trash can next to the sink.
“Happy Birthday, Jack!”
It was probably just a prank anyway.
I smiled at Aunt Marie’s enthusiasm as I reached for the syrup and poured some over my pancakes in a thick stream until there was more syrup than pancake showing on the plate.
She’d been saying that I was finally an adult and it was time for me to grow up, but I was pretty sure she just wanted an excuse to mess with me.
I’d even told her that it wasn’t funny and she shouldn’t do it, but if this was the best she could come up with, then I had nothing to worry about.
“Thanks,” I said as I picked up my fork and knife.
Aunt Marie loved birthdays; she’d always gone all out for Sarah’s birthday too when we were kids.
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm myself down.
She’d throw a big party with a clown and a bouncy castle in our backyard, and serve hot dogs and hamburgers and ice cream cake.
I should probably get used to finding notes in weird places like this.
If Sarah was planning on doing this for my entire senior year, then I was in for a long eight months.
She’d even made me a birthday cake every year, even though I could never manage to finish more than one piece of cake before I felt sick.
It was one of those things I appreciated about her, because I knew that Uncle Pete would never have thrown me a party or made me a cake if she hadn’t been there.
I grabbed a carton of orange juice from the fridge and poured myself a glass, then walked over to the table and sat down.
I took a long sip of the orange juice and tried to think about something else.
Uncle Pete didn’t care much for birthdays.
It was just a stupid note.
To him, they were just another day on the calendar, and he saw no reason to make a big deal out of them at all.
It didn’t mean anything.
But Aunt Marie was different.
Sarah was just playing a prank on me, and I’d tell her to cut it out next time I saw her.
She loved any excuse for a celebration, so I humored her and thanked her for her birthday wishes even though I really wanted nothing more than to go back upstairs and finish watching the movie I’d started last night.
But then again, what if it wasn’t a prank?
I finished my breakfast quickly, then rinsed off my plate in the sink before heading out of the kitchen with my backpack in hand.
“Don’t forget that we’re going out for your birthday dinner tonight,” Aunt Marie called after me.
What if someone actually did have some kind of secret information about my parents?
I mean, my mom and dad had both been pretty secretive people.
Maybe they were secretly spies or something, and they’d faked their own deaths to go live in some foreign country.
That would be cool.
I nodded and waved back at her even though I knew she couldn’t see me anymore, then opened the front door and stepped outside.
And if that was true, then maybe they were going to come back for me now that I was an adult and could take care of myself.
The cool morning air brushed my face as I walked down the front steps and toward the sidewalk, making me shiver involuntarily.
I pulled my jacket tighter around myself as I made my way down the street toward the bus stop, feeling the weight of my parents’ memory heavy on my mind, as it always was when I thought of them.
Or maybe they would show up at my high school graduation at the end of the school year and surprise everyone by telling them that they weren’t really dead after all.
That would be even cooler.
Losing my parents when I was only ten years old had been one of the hardest things I’d ever had to face in my young life, but as time went on, I realized that their memory was something that would be with me forever.
At first, after their accident, I felt like I was constantly in their shadow; my parents’ absence was everywhere I turned.
I smiled to myself and finished off my glass of orange juice.
Maybe Sarah had nothing to do with this note at all.
I could barely breathe without feeling the heavy weight of their loss pressing down on me, but as time went on, I started to realize that their memory was actually a gift that they’d left behind for me.
Maybe it really was from my parents, or someone who knew them.
Losing them had been hard, but in the time since, I’d come to realize that even though they were no longer around physically, their love was still with me, and their memory would always be there to guide me through life, even though they weren’t.
Maybe there really was some kind of secret about them that I was supposed to learn today.
I walked in silence toward the bus stop, lost in my thoughts as I trudged through the familiar route I’d walked so many times before.
It wasn’t a very interesting walk; we lived in suburbia, so all I saw around me were rows of cookie-cutter houses that all looked exactly the same, with perfectly manicured lawns and flower beds full of carefully chosen flowers that bloomed in every color of the rainbow.
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know what it said.
I got up from the table and walked over to the trash can, then pulled out the crumpled note and smoothed it out on the table in front of me.
Every so often, I’d see someone else walking in the opposite direction on the other side of the street, but no one ever paid any attention to me, which was fine by me because I didn’t really feel like talking to anyone anyway.
I finally made it to the bus stop and sat down on the bench, setting my backpack down beside me and resting my elbows on my knees.
It wasn’t a long note, but it didn’t make any sense either.
I let my head fall forward into my hands with a heavy sigh, and the note I’d found in the fridge this morning flashed through my head again.
Happy Birthday, Jack!
I hope you’re ready to learn the truth about your parents.
Was it really possible that someone else out there knew the truth about my parents, and that they were trying to tell me about it too?
Or was it all just some kind of sick prank, similar to the ones Sarah used to play on me when we were kids?
The truth about my parents?
I had a feeling it was just a prank, but part of me couldn’t help but wonder if maybe there was something more going on, and I didn’t want to ignore it in case there was some kind of explanation for the note.
What the hell did that mean?
I stared at the note for a long time, but it didn’t get any clearer.
I heard the bus coming before I saw it, and I looked up in time to see it pull up in front of the bench where I was sitting.
Then I heard the sound of a car horn honking outside.
I picked up my backpack and slung it over my shoulder, then climbed onto the bus and took a seat near the front.
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I looked over at the clock on the wall, and saw that it was already seven o’clock in the morning.
I sighed and crumpled up the note again, then tossed it back into the trash can before heading out of the kitchen to start my day.
It was already later than usual, so I didn’t have time to think about the note anymore.
“What the hell is this?”
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The voice made me jump, and I looked up to see Sarah Jennings sitting next to me on the bus, staring at me incredulously.
I asked her, my heart racing again.
“What do you mean?”
She snorted and crossed her arms over her chest.
She reached out and grabbed the note from my hands, then read it aloud: “‘The truth about your parents is out there.’”
My eyes widened.
“What the hell are you doing with that note?”
she asked me, raising an eyebrow.
I asked her, trying to keep my voice low so that the other people on the bus wouldn’t hear us.
She stared at me for a second and then started laughing.
I sighed heavily and leaned back against the seat, feeling more frustrated than ever.
“Are you kidding me?You’re going crazy!It’s your birthday today, remember?Maybe you’re just having some kind of birthday breakdown or something.”
Her words threw me for a loop, and I blinked at her in surprise as she continued to laugh.
I asked her in disbelief.
“Maybe you’re just freaking out because you’re eighteen now,” she suggested with a shrug.
Sarah was my best friend in the entire world, and she had been since we were kids.
Her parents were friends with mine, which was how we’d met in the first place.
We’d gone to school together all through elementary school and junior high and even high school now, but sometimes I wondered if she was the reason I still managed to make it through each day.
She was smart and funny and pretty, with short curly red hair that she dyed different colors every month or so.
She was loud and brash and could be totally obnoxious at times (especially when she thought she knew better than I did about something), but she was also loyal and caring and sweet, in her own Sarah-ish way.
She was like a sister to me in a way, which was why it hurt so much to think that she might be behind this whole thing somehow.
I asked her, trying to keep my voice even.
“You can’t really believe that I would do something like that to you!”
I raised an eyebrow at her, and she put a hand over her heart as if she were offended.
“You don’t trust me, Jack?You think I’m lying to you?”
“I didn’t say that,” I replied, but she could tell that I still had my doubts.
“Of course you did,” she said, giving me a look.
“Look, we’re almost at school now, so we can talk about this later, okay?”
I stared at her for a moment and then shook my head, deciding that she was probably right.
It wasn’t like we were going to get anything accomplished by talking about it right now anyway, so I waved her off and settled back into my seat as the bus pulled up in front of our high school.
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