Stories that should be secrets

*edited to preserve the anonymity of the involved parties
*a story which I 'heard'

Today, she found out that her student's dad was having an affair.

She didn't know what to do, how to react. All she knew was that her student was flaming with embarrassment as his mum ranted in the adjacent bedroom and her embittered words were overheard.

She really shouldn't be hearing this. Poor timing. They were having tuition. Wrong place. In the kitchen where her son's tuition teacher can overhear? There was a palpable awkwardness as student and teacher tried to ignore the caustic words.

Yet, words travelled.

She felt a little sad, a little angry and very weary.

Extramarital affairs should be skeletons in the closet. It wasn't something one could be proud of. It wasn't something that one could simply let the tuition teacher know. How could the student face his teacher thereafter?

"My mum, she's very noisy," her student said, "let's just ignore her."

Thus, she continued to explain the concepts, this time round with a louder voice.

In the adjacent bedroom, partitioned by a permeable wall, his mum continued to share her anguish with her sister/ his aunt.

Words aren't just molecular vibrations.
It has the power to heal as well as hurt.

She couldn't blame his mum. Aunty was just hurting, reeling from years of suppressed angst. Pain isn't an emotion that would come and go at will. Pain, it can't be easily subjugated.

The tutor, her student and his mum, all three put on smiles - brittle, tender ones - and continued with their lives.