The Small-Town Secret I Kept for 12 Years

When I was 17, I smiled constantly, still hiding the worst secret of my life. By that point, I was barely conscious of keeping it. Seven years earlier, when I was just 10 years old, a town scandal had unfolded, pitting girl against girl. I had determined, at that point, to forget all that had happened—the lie I’d told to protect a man considered our version of powerful.

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