Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Response to a recent prompt

Around one center

Around one center wove the angles of lies they had told each other in relationship. Around the other, the truths they had revealed. One skein was larger, softer, more colorful. The skein of lies, of course.

Anna couldn’t remember when she had started lying to Tom. She wasn’t talking about the half-truths all humans share, the glossing over of reality (does anyone weigh that their driver’s license says?). No, she meant the considered, deliberate misrepresentation of feelings. The “I love you’s” spoken out of guilt or obligation. The passionate embrace that was not authentic.
She knew them when she spoke them, those lies, when she responded to his touch insincerely or didn’t say what she was thinking when he asked her. But she couldn’t seem to stop herself. She hoped he didn’t now her truth.

Tom knew when he had started. The night he saw Luisa in a bar and had a drink with her, then went home with her. It seemed too complicated to explain the whole truth to Anna—how fond he and Luisa had been of each other in the days they were together. How he missed her sometimes and taste of the lip gloss she never went without. How being together had made him feel really alive again.

He didn’t want to have to tell Anna that he wasn’t going to see Luisa again. He wasn’t—but he didn’t want to have to promise. He found the whole idea demeaning. Luisa belonged to the past, not the present, and she certainly didn’t belong to his future. He didn’t trust Anna to understand any of that. He didn’t completely understand it himself. So he lied—said he’d been to a movie, had a beer on his own, turned off the phone before he went to bed.

Anna didn’t believe him but she couldn’t force the truth out of him when she couldn’t force it out of herself.

So they circled the truth in ever-widening arcs, and the distance came between them and stayed.

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