Secrets lived inside and there were coats. It was a cupboard
where you could shut the door and hold the phone, in private.
I would push my face against the coats and breathe, damp winter
air in nylon, wool and gabardine, some camel’s hair. The furs
let me push in. I crouched and listened for the voice of my best
friend. “My nanny’s dead,” I said, and there was silence. Then a
sorrowful small voice said she was sad. I told her what I knew,
that she had died before she went to carol service, half inside
her coat. Headmistress told me that. She told me Nanny was
with Jesus now. I did not say that part. Outside the cupboard
my parents listened in on everything I said. That’s how they knew
I knew. The fur coat took my tears upon its pointy ends and
held them, shining in the dark. I put the phone back on its cradle.
When I came outside it was all done. They never said a word.