Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris
An affair to forget
By CECILIA A. TUCKER
Published November 3, 2003
Part 1 of 2
I just found out by accident that one of my parents is having an affair. I don't even know how to write what I am feeling or thinking at this moment.
I came home early today from practice and walked in on what no kid should ever see. There was a stunned look on my parent's face, and I must have looked like I had just seen a ghost. The person in my house is a friend of the family, but neither of them can erase what I saw.
I am more than disappointed, disgusted, angry and scared. I am devastated and feel completely numb inside. I started yelling after the initial encounter occurred; then I just cried. Why is this happening to my family? I had no idea this was going on, and I am wondering if my other parent knows about it.
Therein lies another dilemma, and I can't even go there right now. What am I going to say and do now, and how will I face either of my parents again? I know I didn't do anything wrong, but I feel so betrayed and terrible about discovering something that should not have happened and definitely is none of my business.
My door opened and there my parent stood, staring me right in the eyes. I was taken aback by the forthright way my parent and the friend just walked in. What nerve they must have! What could they possibly have to say to me or want from me at this point? I wanted to scream, "Get out of my room!" but no words came out of my mouth.
I just stood there and listened to what I considered was the worst explanation for what I had just seen that anyone could have ever conjured up. "Shut up" was what I wanted to say, but I just couldn't speak. I was paralyzed and totally embarrassed.
The evening came, but I did not leave my room. My siblings came home and checked to see why I had not come to the table for dinner. My other parent came home and I heard the normal dinnertime banter, but I knew the truth. There was no truth in our home anymore. I trusted no one, and I couldn't tell anyone why.
I picked the phone up several times to talk to one of my closest friends, but I hung up because I didn't know what to say. I decided I could tell no one, and I would just keep what I knew to myself forever. Maybe this was a one-time mistake and my finding out everything would put an end to this relationship.
Later that night, the innocent came to my room questioning my behavior and was totally oblivious to the day's events. I restrained myself from speaking and passed off my silence as an upset stomach and need for sleep. I could not feel better tomorrow.
Yeah, that's what I will believe: I can persuade myself to forgive and trust my parent again. I don't have to tell my other parent what I saw either. That would just create more problems.
When I considered the deceit and the betrayal, I couldn't bear to think of the pain my unknowing parent would feel if I uttered a word about what had happened. Several weeks went by and not a word was spoken by me or my parent about the incident. I returned to dinner and made every effort to be "normal." There were no apologies, and I didn't walk in on anyone again for the next several weeks.
My insides were about to explode, but I knew I had to forget the entire ordeal and move on. This never happened and will not happen again. Everybody makes mistakes and that is what this was all about.
- IT! Private thoughts of the Indomitable Teen is written by Cecilia A. Tucker under the editorial guidance of a panel of teenagers (in exchange for pizza and volunteer hours). Tucker is a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Counseling Center for New Direction in Seminole. Comments are welcome. You may write c/o: IT!, Xpress, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail Floridian@sptimes.com If you are interested in being on the teen editorial panel, please contact Cecilia Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org