A/N: Heya. This was for an assignment last semester in Advanced Creative Writing. We had to create a "Family Secret" short story. I couldn't come up with anything for the longest time, and finally just wrote this, ignoring most of the grading criteria, and turned it in a month late. My teacher loved me so I got an A on it anyway.

Anywho, I hope you like.

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Parallel

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Dear Journal,

Hi…I've never had a journal before, so this is weird. Um, I guess I'll just write in you like I'm talking to someone…Okay, so here's the deal. I can't hold this in anymore, but I can't tell anyone, so here it goes…

As far as everyone knows, I'm going to be the first person in my family to go to college. The whole clan is made up of rednecks who thought they didn't need postsecondary education. That is until my Momma. My dad knocked her up in their senior year of high school, so she didn't get to go to college like she wanted, having to stay home and take care of me and my twin brother, Trip, instead. So ever since we can remember, Momma's been telling us how great college is and how important it is that we go to it, and that she's saving up for us to.

Because of some disciplinary transgressions, Trip can't graduate with me next week; he has to go to high school for another whole year. But me, I'm supposed to walk and smile and take a million pictures because I can finally get out of here and go to college. That's what I'm supposed to do.

I'm not, though. Sure, I'm graduating and everything, but I'm not going to college. I haven't told a soul this, but I got a job offer in Cincinnati that's mine as soon as I get my diploma. I'd be Assistant Junior Web Designer at publishing company, and it pays pretty decently. The employers are even covering temp housing in the city for me until I can get a place on my own.

So I'm taking my share of the money Momma saved up for my college fund and am gonna rent an apartment. I don't even know when I'm going to tell anyone. None of my friends, none of my family, not even Trip, know about any of this. I can't even believe that I'm doing this sometimes. But I can't disappoint Momma like that, not until I can prove that it's worth it, and I can't do that until I actually succeed.

-River


Dear Journal,

Naomi, my best friend, keeps conspiring with Momma about dorm stuff and class stuff and all of this stuff that normal seniors are all wrapped up in right now. I don't know how much longer I can keep this up. I've printed out all this information about a Cincinnati university that I've told everyone I'm attending, like a cover, ya know? I didn't realize how much when into applying to a college that I'm sure I've racked up more lies about college than Vegas has drunken weddings.

Naomi is getting skeptical, I think, but it may also just be that she's frustrated that I'm not as into college as her. She'll also be the first person in her family to go to university, and she's really excited by that, so she's been doing college prep since middle school. I'm already getting started late compared to everyone else, and so it's like a century behind her, and that freaks her out.

Trip's definitely onto me. He's been snooping through my stuff in our room and on my computer. I've hidden everything about my real plans (even this journal) really well, though, so I don't he'll find anything. Man, if he found out, he'd totally squeal on me. Momma would probably start crying and say how disappointed she was in me, and I have no doubt that Dad would just get out the belt. All while Trip's standing there with that insufferable smirk on his face because he's finally not the one in trouble.

Wow, nothing's even happened yet and I'm already feeling horrible and hostile. Great.

-River


Dear Journal,

Naomi knows. She found this journal; I honestly have no idea how, but she did. She's livid. Like, I've never seen her so mad in our whole lives. She's not going to rat me out, but she's completely dropped me from her life. It's been a week and she won't answer any of my calls, texts, emails, or social media messages. She ignores me at school, too.

I feel awful. Losing my best friend was not part of the plan. Should I just forget it? Cut my loses?

…No, that's what a coward would do. I am not a coward. I'm gonna show Naomi that she's totally overreacting, because this is a solid plan and I am going to be successful. Instead of throwing thousands and thousands of dollars away for four more years of homework and then attempt to get a job that I'm totally overqualified for, I'm going to be making dough at a job that I'm perfect for. Naomi will regret dumping me.

-River


Dear Journal,

Oh my god, I just caught Trip and Naomi together. Like, together-together. My eyes will never stop burning. How will I ever be able to get this image out of my head?! I can't wait to get out of here!

-River


Dear Journal,

Well, it's official: I'm a real high school graduate. It feels good to be done with school. Like, I-feel-like-I'm-melting-with-happiness good. Now I have a month to move out to Cincinnati to start my new life in the real world. I'm so excited.

I talked to the guy that's gonna be my immediate boss in the city, and he seems like a pretty chill guy. Usually I just speak to the upper-management guy that recruited me, but he wanted me to be already kinda familiar with people when I come up so that I can adapt easier. He's a good guy.

Trip dropped out of school, by the way. He's following Naomi to Stanford, and he's gonna attend a community college around there. Apparently they've been secretly dating for months. Months. I'm her best friend, why didn't she tell me? He's my brother, why didn't he tell me? And now I don't even know when I'm going to see them next because they'll be all the way out in California. Maybe I should go ahead and get started on the epic apology letter to Cali for letting my brother reap havoc in their beautiful state.

-River


Dear Journal,

Wow, I can't believe I still have this thing. I thought I lost it during my move to Cincinnati. It's been a long time, Journal. Half a decade, in fact. You've missed a lot.

Yesterday was Trip and Naomi's wedding. To be honest, I hadn't even known they were engaged, and then suddenly I was the third groomsman. I hadn't talked to them since a year after I moved to Cincinnati. I guess I should fill you in.

My plan went off without a hitch after my fallout with Naomi. I went to Cincinnati, set myself up at the publishing place, found an apartment a month in, and did well for myself. I told Dad and Momma the truth that Christmas. Dad actually didn't care that much; he took after the rest of his family. I was successful, so he was happy. Momma was another story altogether.

Like I had predicted, she cried. Cried for days, actually. I pretty much ruined her Christmas. She was so disappointed in me, and angry because I lied, and she said that she felt like a fool for not knowing what was really going on. I assured her that nothing was her fault, that that was just the path for me, and not to worry because I was doing great.

Doing great turned into doing impressively well, into doing awesome, into doing unbelievably fantastic. I was the most sought-after web designer in the city, and there were a lot of good ones there. Soon, though, I got promoted in the company to the New York City division. That's where I've been living for the past three years as the Senior Executive Web Designer.

It's weird though, being back in my little redneck town (Trip and Naomi got married in our old backyard). It's weird seeing everyone from my past again. Even Dad and Momma I haven't seen in a year and half. Hardly anyone knew who I was, and those who did weren't too keen on me. Honestly, Trip and Naomi weren't keen on me either. I know that the only reason that I was in their wedding is because I'm the twin brother.

Watching their ceremony was beautiful, though, gotta say. They looked so in love. There's a past entry in this thing where I caught them together when we were eighteen. I didn't see it then, but they had that same look then as they did yesterday. I can't believe that I never caught on to their secret relationship, that I never saw it before. They're a damn good couple. A damn lucky couple.

Until next time, old friend.

-River

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I hope you enjoyed this short short-story. Reviews would be awesome :)