Don’t ask, Don’t tell

It is a funny thing, the business of keeping a secret, especially if it is yours.

When my Father took his appointment of Ambassador for the second time, I swore, I wasn’t going to tell anyone. I just wanted people to like me for me, and not think about my Father’s position. So, when people asked what my Father did, I replied “he works for the Embassy”. No one would ever ask past that.

My Mother and I arrived at our posting first, so technically, my Father wasn’t even an Ambassador yet. We were living in a hotel, and waiting for the arrival of our dog, and my Father. So for a month, I was technically telling the truth. My Father was just working for the Embassy, or actually, he was heading up a division back home.

There were 2 guys, a year ahead of me, Bill’s Father worked for Proctor and Gamble, and Charles was an American Embassy kid. Bill seemed way too interested in what I was up to after school and on weekends. At the time, I didn’t understand what was so fascinating about me, but I guess, I was slightly mysterious considering I was living in a hotel, and I was supposed to go “home” after school and on weekends, I spent them going to museums and watching movie marathon’s with my Mother.

Week 5, my Father arrived. We were beyond excited, I was happy to have my Father back in the fold, and we were all excited to finally move into our house, or as everyone else called it “the Official Residence”.

I had spent the majority of my time avoiding specific questions, and not having anyone over. It was pretty easy, as we were living in a hotel, not exactly an easy place to hang out and entertain friends.

Two months in, we were doing well. Everyone knew my Father worked for the embassy, and no one asked further questions. I had begun to make fast friends with my classmates, and I was getting in the groove of life in another language. One Thursday, Bill cornered me, he asked “what are you up to tonight?” and I simply replied “oh, just a little homework and I belive my parents are having a few colleagues over.” It was a slight understatement my parents were having a few colleagues over, just that a few, were actually a few hundred. They were hosting their first reception as Ambassador. I was supposed to do my homework and make my appearance for an hour. Bill smiled and nodded. He mentioned something about us getting together over the weekend. I think I smiled and walked away, what else was there to say.

That night, I made my rounds at the reception, I remember no one, it was simply shake hands, smile, move on. At 9, our butler, who was serving drinks along with the caterers, came up to me and in rapid fire babbled in another language. I was so confused, I nodded and kept talking to the woman who was going on about her son. The butler came up to me again, this time, I understood one word and that was “door”. I smiled and moved on. I was tired, and had to get up for school the next morning. The reception was winding down, and I nodded to my Father, and went up the back stairs to my bedroom. I got into my pj’s, got into bed and opened “1984” for school. My bedroom faced the front of the house, and I could hear the gates close for the night, which meant, the reception was over, and everyone was gone, including the caterers. I heard a knock at the door. My Father walked in, as usual, he was in his suit, but had taken off his socks and shoes. He told me that there was someone who had come to the house for me, but was turned away by security. My face fell, I was so upset. I didn’t want anyone to show up at the house for me.

The next morning, I reluctantly got on the bus for school. It picked me up at the end of the street, so no one on the bus could actually see the flag flying. A couple of periods went by, and no one said boo. I was excited, it meant that no one was going to say anything.

Bill and Charles passed me in the hallway, and Bill smiled at me and said “hey, we came by your house last night, your parents were having way more than just a few people over.’ I gasped, I did not want an American Embassy kid to know. Bill then remarked “why didn’t you tell me?”

I looked at him and said “You didn’t exactly ask.”

Bill smiled and said “yes, actually I did, I asked you what your Father did.”

Me “Yeah, and he works for the Embassy.”

Bill was slightly miffed, didn’t really understand.

I looked at him and asked “how did you find out where I lived anyway?”

Bill replied “I work in the office, and I stole your address.”

I looked at Bill and realized Charles was standing right there. I shrugged my shoulders and said “I guess that is one way of finding out where I live.”

Bill grabbed my hand and then asked “so, will I be invited in next time?”

I laughed back and said “not likely, especially if you come back on a night my parents are hosting another reception.”

It was a good run, At least when people found out about my Father’s position, they already liked me or didn’t like me for who I was, and not for the pecking order Embassy kids have.

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