The one life lesson I learned on my own was that every seemingly perfect piece of glass had its cracks and no matter how miniscule they were it only took a slight amount of pressure, a small push for those cracks to shatter the glass. And just like each glass had its cracks, every perfect family had its faults. Mine had too many to count. Oh, we looked impeccable on the surface. The straight teeth, the flawless skin, the piercing eyes, the perfect body, but it was what lay beneath the surface that meant it all, that’s where our cracks were hidden.
I was taught from an early age that you didn’t talk about my family’s money, that you didn’t talk about their jobs or that you didn’t talk about where they went when they were out of town. Everything was a secret. When it came to anything slightly personal you either kept your lips sealed or you face severe consequences. I was five when I learned that lesson the hard way. It had been a single slip, a simple moment of a child bragging about her family’s wealth. I had told a girl, who thought it had been a good idea to try and bully me, that my family could buy the town and treat her like a pariah, that my family could buy her and make her my slave. I was not a child who like to be bullied, I was raised to handle my own, but none of that mattered when word got back to my parents that I had spilled the extent of our wealth. I was whisked away from my school, from that town and we moved across the country. It was engraved in my mind from that day forward that I was to never, ever, speak of my family’s wealth again. And I didn’t. Each new school, each new life I kept my mouth shut and did as I was told. Insubordination was not tolerated in my household.
I never figured out why my family kept everything a secret, why they treasured my silence so much, until my senior year of high school. Their secrets were unraveling and their silence was becoming too heavy. Their lies were catching up with them and they were about to shatter.