When my sister and I were little, we made a pact not to tell on each other, like ever. It’s not like we went out doing bad things. The extent of our transgressions was playing on the computer and television after 9:00. Later on, we agreed that the standard response for covering for each other was “I don’t know”. It wasn’t always smooth. We argued about matters of great consequence, things that reasonable adults would never understand. And it soon became obvious to both of us that threatening to break the pact quickly shut either of us up. Neither of us ever did, well most of the time anyways. I don’t know if she remembers it at all, but this pact was a powerful foundation for siblings and a great teacher for cooperation. It sure was important to me. The thing is, when you cover for somebody, do you tell them? She stuck up for me plenty of times. When I couldn’t explain the B on a math1 test, she redirected the conversation elsewhere. I don’t know how it worked exactly, but in my head, Mommy was the enemy and I had one unlikely comrade to depend on. It never occurred to me that those grades didn’t count for crap, that the yelling might have been a bit beneficial. Back then, school was war. I tried returning the favor when she took the heat, but it never really worked for me, probably because I couldn’t talk loudly enough to surmount the yelling and noise. So I just kept to the I-don’t-know’s to score points on out little balance of favor2. Now we’re a bit older, and I this stuff still happens regularly, but it’s become so second nature that I don’t remember any of it. Gradually, I notice that the cashing in favors doesn’t happen as much. We never talk about the times we cover up the truth for each other. On one hand, you never get to find out all the nice *ahem* things that your ally does for you, but similarly, doing your “good” deeds when nobody’s looking can be self-validation that your motives are truly selfless. Maybe if we all take time to think about all the potential favors for you that you’ll never even hear about, we can relieve some of the depression. I’m glad they won’t bother reading anything with big English words, or our secret would be spoiled. Haha.