That was Personal and Confidential

That was Personal and Confidential

Reading Time: 6 minutes

This is a story about the betrayal of a confidence. I call my heroine in this story Sally.

It was in the early 90s when Sally lived with her wonderful husband who was carrying a dark secret. She never betrayed his confidence and after he died she was heartbroken and deeply depressed. It was hard for her to go to work, clean the house, and to do the natural things one does everyday. There seemed to be a little array of sunshine though. One of Sally’s co-workers, Barbara, seemed to befriend her as she was dealing with this overwhelming grief. They would often enjoy a hot dog in the park across from the building they worked in and just talk. It seemed like Barbara genuinely cared about Sally and was trying to cheer her up. Barbara would encourage her with scriptures which was even better because they shared a love for God.

One day, Sally was having a particularly bad day. Barbara and her again ate lunch in the park. Sally thought many times about sharing her secret with Barbara… because she needed someone to talk to, someone who would understand how she felt. But, every time she thought she had rustled up the nerve to open up, she kept quiet. Barbara eventually picked up on it and begged Sally to open up to her. She promised she would keep it between the two of them. Finally, Sally did tell her…she told Barbara about the secret her and husband had been carrying alone for years and how afraid she was for anyone on their job to find out. At that time, Sally could have lost her job and her livelihood should anyone were to find out how her husband died. But, she was just so grieved and had no one to talk to or turn to. The grief was becoming overwhelming. You see in those years, AIDS was taboo. No one really understood the disease or how it spread and there was a stigma attached to it that you had to have been living a lifestyle of unnatural sex or you were shooting up drugs. Many people also contracted it from tainted blood transfusions which was how Sally’s husband contracted HIV.

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When Sally told Barbara her story, Barbara genuinely seemed to understand and she didn’t react in judgment which felt good for Sally to finally confide in someone. She thought they were now great friends and would go on hanging out together. Sally went home that day actually relieved for once.

Several weeks passed, and they hadn’t enjoyed lunch together. She thought maybe Barbara was busy, after all the office had acquired another company and everyone was swamped. But, still she thought it strange that Barbara hadn’t come by her desk much, at least to say good morning or good night. She began to panic. Finally, she approached Barbara and asked if she had said or done anything to upset her. Barbara brashly brushed her off with a simple phrase, “no, just busy“. 

One morning, when Sally came to work, she passed one of the offices and happened to overhear two of the girls that worked on the same floor behind a half closed door discussing the very secret she had told Barbara and they were laughing about it. “I’d be surprised if she stays employed through the end of the week!“, one of them gabbed. Sally tiptoed past the door as to not let them know she was just outside. Her heart was crushed! How could this lady pretend to be her friend and betray her secret and then shun her?

The good news was, Sally didn’t lose her job. The bad news was that she had to continue dealing with the snickering and judging behind her back and there was no one to trust. She was isolated and abandoned. Her entire floor wouldn’t come near her and she felt alone again. It might have been better to lose the job she thought. Sally never spoke to Barbara again, for what was there to say? They both knew what was done. So, how does our heroine overcome and rise above a betrayed confidence? Keep reading…

Kim McDougal

Kim is the founder and creator of Growing Up in Grace. By day, she's the Director of Interactive Communications for the Hispanic chamber located in Jax, FL. Kim also owns "Beautiful Food Photography" and sells her handmade greeting cards and vintage art printables on Etsy.