A Well Kept Secret

Everyone in the world wields secrets no matter how big or small they may be. An individual may have seen something he was not supposed to see, someone may have committed a criminal act that no one is aware of or an individual may simply be keeping a personal piece of information hidden from others. Secrets are intriguing and well kept secrets are ones that little or no one knows about. Within my family, my grandfather on my mother’s side has a very hazy history and there is a scarcity of information regarding his birthplace and his parents on his part as well as on the rest of family’s part. But, one thing is known, that his mother (my great grandmother) is part of a royal Japanese family that my grandfather knows the name of, but he won’t reveal it to the family. This theory is founded on evidence revolving around confirmed royal jewellery found in the possession of my grandfather and my grandfather admitting he is from a royal family, but not disclosing the name.

Just to provide some context, my grandfather is the founder of the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine Australia (1974) and is a highly skilful in the areas of acupuncture, herbs, science based medicine and martial art including Kung Fu and Tai Chi. He is a renowned individual amongst the Melbourne Chinese community and has received numerous awards including that of the Medal of the Order of Australia from Queen Elizabeth the second. Moving onto the story, for several years my family has been trying to unveil what royal family by grandfather resides from, but to no avail as he would never budge for a non-apparent reason. Until recently, in the year 2010 my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and as the disease does, it made my grandfather forget lots of the things in his life. Luckily, he still wields a command over the English and Chinese language as well as still remembering many things in his life regarding his profession and few family members. With the condition of Alzheimer’s my aunties and uncles tried to wriggle out of him the truth behind what royal family he belongs to.

On a weekend in the year 2011, my family (consisting of a group of 9) ventured out in the city to eat a Yum Cha in the city (China Town). As always, the food was delectable and everyone enjoyed themselves, but afterwards we invited my grandfather over to dinner as he lives in the city with one of my uncles and rarely comes for a visit.  While we were eating dinner, my uncles and aunties were constantly questioning my grandfather about his childhood and parents. He could recall very little and did speak briefly about his parents, but my uncles and aunties could not unearth the name of my grandfather’s parents. As I ventured upstairs with my brother and cousin to play some video games, my uncles and aunties continued interrogating my grandfather, desperate for answers, until his tongue slipped.

My grandfather had unintentionally mentioned the surname of his mother while my uncles and aunties were questioning him and I’m certain all of my uncles and aunties made a big mental note in their minds. After my grandfather had left the house I was forced off the computer by my family as they were uncontrollably anxious in researching the name my grandfather had slipped. After they punched in the name my grandfather has slipped as well as the words “royal” and “family,” the gamut of emotions was experienced by those present in the study room.

My uncle’s eyes seemed to pop out from his sockets, my two aunties gasped and looked at one another in disbelief, my parents rubbed their eyes to see if what they were seeing was true, while I softly chuckled and realised what my cunning grandfather had done.

A short story I wrote a few weeks ago for tutor, the stimulus was related to family traditions and the word limit was 600-700. Hope you enjoy(ed)!

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