Thursday, February 13, 2014

Believing Pretty Lies (A Valentine's Day Story...or not)

 It was easy for a long time, like sleeping too late in warm blankets on an icy day. She knew she’d have to leave at some point, but not just yet. They were not outrageous lies; they conformed to what people expected, what people saw, so it was not difficult to believe them. It felt right. It was easy. Easier to just stay put and believe their kind music, so soothing to her ears.

There was the first clue, early on, when the blush of love was still worn like a proud shiny medal.  Someone told someone who told her. She asked him, and he said no and she believed him. Of course she believed him. Who believes strangers? This man loved her, anyone could see. Even she could see that, she told herself. 

Time passed. Each year putting down another intricate layer of silk in the web of their life. Criss-crossing each other. Light and airy; as strong as a steel trap. 

They were connected and that connection itself made it easier to stay, made it nearly the only option.  Phone calls and text messages. Presents hidden under car seats never meant for her. Clues, clues, clues. But she didn’t want to be a detective, did she? She closed her eyes and clicked her heels and wished it would all disappear. It did, sort of. Only her heart held it, heavy, carrying the burden of all of those lovely pretty lies. 

Everything was fine. She repeated it like a mantra over and over. It was all about putting it out there so the universe could give you what you desired. It was a secret. So she put the pretty lies she told herself out there into the universe so the universe would turn them into the truth. 

The problem was, she wasn’t that woman really. She’d never been. She had a rational mind. She did not need the crutches of pseudoscience and religion. In this case, though, so she could keep going, she tried to call it something else. She tried to call it trust. She’d read the magazine articles just like you. She knew trust was important. Not fairy dust, but an ingredient for making everything work. 

So the pretty lies became trust and the years passed and passed, and her heart turned in on itself. Did you see how she was eating herself away to nothing? Did you notice that? 

Then on a certain day the scales tipped. The curtain fell and the universe’s secrets failed to pitch up. The stage was bare and empty, and there she was, lonely as a bird in a cage, flapping, flapping, flapping.

She begged for the ugly truth which she never got. It was too late now though. She was no longer a believer and never would be again.  She began pulling back the threads, untangling, cutting them where she needed to. They scratched her. The wounds bled. Some left ugly scars, some never healed at all, and oozed and oozed and reminded her of her battle to get free, of her years of thinking lies were true. Bare unadulterated truth was tough to look at, it burnt her eyes and left a bad taste in her mouth, but she’d learned, in the hardest way, pretty lies were deadlier, even if they were smiling.

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