My Confession Earned me a Spot as a Runner-Up

Debbie Centeno
Image by Jarkko Koivunen

My Confession Paid Off

I did it! I won $50! Yesterday I received an email notifying me that I was chosen as a runner-up for the Mother’s Day story competition. It’s not the first prize or second, but to be chosen as a runner-up among hundreds of entries is awesome! I’m proud of myself.

The challenge was in Vocal Media and I was to write a letter to my mom confessing something I’d never shared with her before — a secret I held from her. My confession paid off! Here’s my story, enjoy!

Runner-Up Story

My dearest Mom,

Now that I am older, I would like to clear up some misunderstandings that happened long ago. A secret I kept from you and which I want to let go of. For an 8-year-old to discover what I did was harsh. Some things scared me, some amused me, and others intrigued me. But I can assure you I grew up a lot quicker than I should have. There were many things foreign and prohibited to me. I was an 8-year-old entering a new world of adult secrets.

It was an early summer afternoon when I discovered the secret door in my bedroom closet. A small hatch at the far-right end. It was not immediately visible to anyone. I found it while playing hide and seek with my sister and told no one about it. It took me a few weeks to pry it open, and when I did, there was no turning back. There was a lot for me to discover. This secret door opening led into your and dad’s closet towards the far-left corner. In that closet, I discovered shoes I loved, your beautiful clothes, handbags, erotica magazines, and anything you hid from us. Any time I had a chance, I would hide in the closet just to get to what, for me, was the stash of gold.

Sometimes it scared me, and I did not know what to do. Should I run into mommy’s bedroom? Should I open the closet door and let them know I am here? I was afraid of your every-so-often moaning, soft whimpers, your occasional scream, and what seemed like someone covering your mouth with their hand. “Was daddy hurting mom?” I thought. But then I would hear you giggle with dad and felt at ease thinking it was only a game you and dad were playing.

I also discovered a gun on the closet shelf. Though tempted to grab it, I was afraid. I could see the barrel pointed straight at me. I knew what it was but dared not touch it. The gun was the guard in my secret space. The one that kept me from exploring further into that nook. Every time I approached that corner, I felt a shiver run down my spine. As if it were telling me, “If you come any closer, you shall die.”

Remember the Thumbelina dolls you or Santa Claus, as you told me, brought us? Remember how one of them seemed used, and you wanted to return to Santa for a new one? That was how I discovered who the real Santa Claus is. I’m sorry I led you to believe my cousin had spilled the beans. He knew nothing about what I was doing or how I learned about Santa Claus. Frankly, he did not even know what you were talking about. The doll was new. I played with her dozens of times while in the closet. I even kept the doll out of the box and slept with her a few times, making sure you did not see us. Once you stepped into the kitchen to cook breakfast, I would sneak back into the closet and place it in her box. Thumbelina was a beautiful doll, and I could not wait until Christmas morning to get her. But the doll was not the only thing I got my hands on.

Remember the erotica magazines you and dad had hidden in the closet? The one you blamed dad for tearing or smearing with something? It was not dad; it was me. As an 8-year-old, I did not understand what the naked people in the magazine were doing. I looked at it many times and thought it would be funny to smear my chocolate candy bar onto their naked bottom — you know, as if they were pooping. I would laugh hysterically to see that another naked person was wiping it clean with their tongue. When I tried to wipe it off, the page tore, so I immediately placed the magazine back in its place. I did not know it was oral sex. In my 8-year-old mind, they were just naked people doing gross things. Oh yeah, I wiped it off with your blue silk scarf. The one you could not understand how it got stained with chocolate.

Also, remember the chocolate and butterscotch candies you kept away from us because you said they were diet candies to make you lose weight? Yes, I ate those too. I’m sorry you blamed dad. He did not eat them. I ate the entire box in one sitting and ended up with excruciating stomach cramps and a day of diarrhea. For many years, I thought those candies had caused me to grow up as a thin teenager. It is a hard secret for a child to carry you know.

Mom, I did not mean to cause any harm. Curiosity just got a hold of me and today I want you to know that while I am setting myself free of any secrets from you, I love you dearly. Now you know why it is so important to me to scrutinize the closets when moving into a new home. I need to make sure there are no secret passages.

Originally published at

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My writing journey began as a way to cope with grief. I realized I enjoyed writing and began a blog, Debbie’s Reflection ( I also enjoy traveling. Therefore, as a traveler, I began another blog, Traveler Wows (, in which I share tips on places, landmarks, and reviews on airlines, hotels, and restaurants. Thank you for joining me on my writing journey.

Orlando, FL

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