Kimberly Erskine
and Brian MacDonald

Brian MacDonald
Inspiration Piece

Hidden Secrets
By Kimberly Erskine

It was midnight on a warm Wednesday evening in May. Most people in Greenwood were fast asleep, but not the students at Richwood University. They were scattered throughout campus, cramming for final exams.

The student center was the “hot spot” for the students. The staff drew in the students with rounds of candy, coffee, and protein bars to keep the students energized throughout the night. As a senior, Macy Livingstone knew better than to study in the student center. She knew that the student center was for socializing and little to no studying would actually get done there and with a calculus final at 8am, Macy needed to study in a quiet place where she wouldn’t be so easily distracted. She had barely managed to pull a C- average all semester. Being an English major, calculus was difficult for Macy to understand. “Stop trying to analyze the problem and just solve it,” her professor advised. But this logical approach to math required a different kind of thinking that Macy has not yet mastered.

Macy sat at a hard wooden desk on the fifth floor of the Richwood University library, her books, papers, and notes all scattered amongst her. Her calculator lay buried beneath the mountain of papers. There were only about three other students in the room with her. She turned in her textbook to chapter 7. Well I guess this would be a good place to start…it’s right where we picked up after the midterm… Macy thought as she felt a slight sense of panic overcome her. She had bombed the midterm with a score of 55. She knew that she had to do better with the final.


As the students at Richwood University were left studying for finals, the atmosphere at the near-by bar, The Lagoon, took on a different atmosphere. It was 80’s night, which was always a big hit at The Lagoon. The girls strolled in wearing bright colors, fake leather, and big hair getups channeling their inner Madonnas. Most of the boys refused to dress up for 80’s night, unless wearing a Motley Crew shirt counted. 80’s was clearly ladies night and the boys enjoyed sitting back with a cold beer in hand, staring at the curves shining through the ladies skin-tight ensembles.

Claire Davidson was the star of the night. She was the only one brave, or drunk, enough to wear a full wedding gown to the bar. It was from her wedding…the wedding that took place just seven months ago to Steven Feldman, a man that no longer wanted anything to do with her. She had worn the wedding gown around the house a lot lately, refusing to accept the fact that her marriage was over. As long as I’m a bride I’ll be a wife…his wife… she told herself. No one knew about her wearing the wedding dress before. She had always managed to change into appropriate clothes before anyone had a chance to see her wearing it, but tonight was different. Tonight was 80’s night. She could channel her inner Madonna and show everyone just what Steven Feldman was missing. She kept her wedding gown on and tied her hair back in a frizzy, messy ponytail. She accessorized herself with cross earrings and numerous cross necklaces. She looked just like Madonna did every time she performed “Like a Virgin”.

When Claire entered the bar everyone immediately stared at her. Some of the men chuckled and shouted, “Alright, Madonna is in the house!” Claire smiled and waved at them.. She walked up to the bartender and ordered a mimosa. She figured she’d start small with her first drink. She expected the men to buy drinks for her and she didn’t want to give off the impression that she was an alcoholic, or worse yet, already drunk. She had planned to drive back home and didn’t want anyone questioning her.

“Hey Madonna, what ya gonna sing for us tonight?” one of the men asked her.

“Um…sing?” she asked.

“Yeah, it’s 80’s night…there’s karaoke…” he said.

“Actually, I think I’ll skip out on that this time.”

“Aw, come on. You’re all dressed up to do “Like a Virgin”. I’ll buy you a drink if you do it,” he said.

“Well, I can’t say no to that,” she said.

“Alright! My name is Ryan by the way.”

“Claire. Nice to meet you,” she said as she shook his hand before beginning her song.


Macy looked at her watch. It was 1:00 AM. Her desk and clothes were now drenched in eraser marks. She was growing frustrated as she tried to conquer sets of calculus problems. “I need a break,” she whispered quietly to herself. She looked down at her desk and all of her scattered belongings. Ugh, if I leave I’ll have to pack all of this stuff up only to come back up and unpack again, she thought. She looked around and found a boy across the room with a pair of DJ-styled headphones on, bobbing his head to the music.

“Excuse me” she said, as she tapped a finger on his shoulder. He took his headphones off and turned around, his eyes widened but he did not speak.

“I’m going to take a quick trip to WaWa. I’ll be back in like 10 minutes. Would you mind just watching my stuff and making sure no one takes it? I’m sitting across the room over there,” she pointed.

“Naw, I don’t mind, take your time. I’ll be here all night studying for tomorrow’s big calculus final,” he said.

“Wow, that’s exactly what I’m studying for, too! Maybe when I get back we can study together!” Macy exclaimed.

“Sounds good,” he smiled, “I’m Jared by the way.”

“Nice to meet you. My name is Macy,” she said, shaking Jared’s hand. Thanks for everything.”

“No problem,” he said. Macy slowly walked away and headed outside towards WaWa.  She made a note to herself to pick up an extra coffee for Jared. He seemed nice enough and she figured he could probably use an extra dose of caffeine as well.

It was quiet outside. Macy didn’t usually walk around this late at night. Her parents always warned her about walking around alone at night, especially in Greenwood. It wasn’t always the safest town at night, but Macy didn’t pay any mind to her parent’s paranoia, and besides, she was only walking a few blocks away.


Claire smiled as the bartender and night’s host placed a silver rhinestone crown on top of her head. “Congratulations, Claire Davidson! You are the queen of the 80s! As our queen we would like to present you with a free I-Pad and a $50 gift card for The Lagoon.” Everyone in the bar smiled and cheered Claire on. Her plan worked…she was the star of the show and the best thing was they didn’t suspect a thing. To them Claire was just a fun and spontaneous girl looking for a good time.

“Bring the 80’s queen a shot – on me!” Ryan said.

“Thanks, but I really should be going now. I have a long drive home.” Claire said.

“Oh, come on. All you’ve had to drink is a mimosa and one little cocktail. One more shot won’t hurt you.”

“I guess not. One more shot of vodka.” Claire said to the bartender. “I’ll leave right after this,” she said as she secretly wondered to herself if she’d be able to drive herself home tonight.


Macy approached the corner of East Avenue. She was just three blocks away from WaWa now. There weren’t any cars around that she could see, but she checked the light just to be safe. She saw the flashing green man pictured in the light signaling to her that it was safe to cross. She crossed the street slowly. She didn’t see any cars around and was enjoying the peacefulness of the night and the much needed break from studying, so she didn’t bother to hurry. Right as she was about to reach the sidewalk on the other side of the street, a car came swerving down at a speed that was so fast it sent Macy’s long brown hair blowing. Macy was too stunned to run to safety. All she could do was pause.


Claire knew that she shouldn’t have drunk that last shot. She knew she never should have attempted to drive home. But it was too late to think about that now. She stood at the lifeless body lying in front of her red Chevy. Great…not only am I a drunken failed wife, I’m also a murderer. Unless…no one is here…no one ever has to know about this, she thought as she turned the ignition in her car, backed up, and drove the other way around. The accident would be her hidden little secret, just like her alcoholism. Maybe one day it would catch up with her, maybe someday soon, but that someday wasn’t now.

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