Truth and lies

TrustHe lies even though truth claws up his throat, grips his lips, and dangles there like a rat clinging to the edge of a sewer pipe. It’s a funny thing, The Lie, because it’s so damn easy for him to believe given the circumstances. By the confused and hurt look on her face, she apparently does not agree.

Unlike the truth, The Lie rolls easily off his tongue. It feels natural despite his insincerity, but sincerity isn’t the problem. Truth and lies are equally sincere and interchangeable, so it must be his learned reaction to one or the other that needs controlling. He associates truth with trust and truth cannot be wasted on untrusted ears. The Lie isn’t meant to be a bad thing, necessarily, just a measure of protection. Distance. She deserves truth, regardless of his past or convoluted reasoning.

But The Lie hangs between them like thick morning fog and is something she cannot grasp. Her eyes, brimming with emotion, indicate disbelief. He repeats The Lie with more conviction, hooks his thumbs in his back pockets and shrugs. He takes a deep, barely perceptible breath through his nose and exhales slowly. His heart beat slows immediately. Had he told the truth it would have been tunnel vision and barrel rolling guts. It would have been clammy palms and flushed cheeks and sweat rolling down his spine. Sounds would have lost conventional interpretation, instead echoing distantly hollow. That kind of loss of control is something he does not need. Not now. Not ever.

She asks a third time, more confused than angry, but he remains silent. His legs flex beneath his jeans but the movement is unperceived. Outside, the wind howls. It’s cold, he thinks and he’s vaguely aware he’s not entirely there anymore, as if he’s watching himself through clouded, fun-house glass.

For a split second, their eyes meet. She sees fear of abandonment and ridicule as a child. Of surrender and rejection as a man. Not of her. Not from her. But others. The Lie was built on this fear, and it’s changed him, made him harder. She empathizes, knowing who he used to be, wondering where he went. But his demons run too deep. The battle is his own, on his own terms, in his own time. She can’t expect to change him.

She leaves.

Author’s Note:

In a weathered, perforated notebook containing a dozen or so pages of hand written text from a different mindset, I found this story among a handful of others I had penned a few years ago. I understand now it is incomplete, but its conclusion I do not know. I hesitate to even consider finishing it. In a decade of professional conquests, this story is a frightening reminder how failure in one aspect of my life has affected success in another.

Addendum: 21 August 2007

Let me clarify a few things: This is not a story about cheating. This is a story about caring. The Lie is that I didn’t care, thereby eliminating the uncertainty that is the future of all young relationships. By telling The Lie, there was no rejection, no what-ifs, nothing out of my control. It was easier pretending not to care at all, and letting her walk away believing that. Yes, it sucked, and yes, I regretted it, but I’ve never subscribed to the “better to have loved and lost” theory. I’ve never entered a relationship with delusions of eternal happiness, because any time you’re dealing with another human being, there isn’t a damn thing you can do about their state of mind. Hanging myself out on an emotional limb for one person to poke at me with a stick until they’re ready to knock me out isn’t my idea of fun.


7 Responses to “Truth and lies”

  1. James Stevens says:

    The battle of a Marine is easy. The world knows the power and destruction of a Marine in combat. When you inter the door you know you have to make that determination weather to shoot to kill, or be killed yourself. Your comrades next to you are like your left and right arms, they too know the stakes. Once you clear the room you move on to the next door, the next room, the next battle. All through out you know you may not make it to the next fight, or battle and when you see your buddy lying next to you with a blank expression , breathless in a pool of blood, you know what must be done. Reach down and take him home to his mother, for this Marine has bid his final farewells. These are the battles that are easy to win, for there is no second chance and as Marines we all know the only way out is to fight every battle as if it were our last.

    The battles of a man are not so easy; There is no fight to the end, life or death. The battle of a man begins inside, the heart and sole. As a Marine we stand and fight with all we have, yet as a Man we hold back the emotional downfall of what ifs….. Do you reach out and still the kiss, move in close and whisper sweet words of love and affections into her ear, or just hold her tight when she needs a hug? The power of not knowing and not being in control of what she may think or feel is danger we are not trained to face. If I can hide it from her then she will not know, if she does not know then she will not judge me, if she does not judge me, then she will not reject me. Through this process you will never know what could have, should have, or would have happened. There is no magical formulated plan that will work on a heart that is true. Manipulations, lies and disseat will work for short periods of time, but then the truth comes out and your world will crumble beneath your feet as if Mother Nature herself has moved the mountains and parted the seas. Today you must look at what makes you happy as a man and only you. Woman can and will change there feeling about a man and his love as quick as the wind changes directions, from North to South or East to West. When times are good they are your best friends, but when times are ruff and you are down on your luck they run as fast as they can to the next man that can give them there wants and needs. Remember man is a hunter and woman a gatherer, the woman only wants the hunter that catches the best prey. The mystery here is to find that woman that will stand by you through the best of times along with the worst of times. Then it all goes back to you, Do you have the guts and stamina to stand and fight that battle to the end, or do you walk away because of fear of rejection, for the battle is not of life and death, and you will have to face reality and see yourself if she accepts or rejects you.

    So lean in and take the kiss, if you are slapped then at least you know where you stand.
    If your love has walked away from you then it is better to have lost early then to have spent a lifetime in pretend.

    James Stevens

    PS. Who was she?

  2. Stella from Salsa says:

    Wow! I am so moved. My heart cries for this man. I hope and pray that someday he will get beyond any of his past hurts and rejections and be able to trust and love fully with an open heart and soul.
    Life is too short to cheat yourself out of the most wonderful part of it : unconditional love.

    You need to write a novel or some short stories that can be published. I expect to see your name in print someday. You are GOOD!!!
    Love, Stella
    P.S. In case I don’t see you before you leave, I wish you well. Be safe and know there are people everywhere thanking you for the job you do for us and this country.


  3. Alicia says:

    Man, can you write!

    I wouldn’t say so much as to you quitting the USMC, but maybe you should take a hiatus and write a book of you memoirs soon – before old age takes your good cells away. It will be a pride for me to say that I know the author.

    Much love,


  4. Quenby says:

    Wow Jayme

    The insight is brutually honest which makes the person more endearing and worth the journey of waiting and seeing.

    There are lots who do this dance when they are trying to discover the what ifs
    and it is the few that can see it as a purity in relationship. It is needed and coveted in most due to us not knowing.

  5. Melissa Kohler says:

    Oh Jaym,
    I have subscribed to having “one moment of wonderful rather than a lifetime of nothing special”. The pain is almost unbearable at times but that MOMENT is beyond heaven. Love isn’t the loss of or the power to control…
    Your childhood teacher was $#%@#$%$ up!!!!!

  6. Tracy says:

    Poor confused and slightly demented Jayme. I might feel sorry for you if I didn’t know you….

  7. Eric Ingerson says:

    After 15 years of marriage, I have found that “THE LIE” does not get you out of trouble…..but, delays the fight so that I may go and do whatever fun things I was planning at the time. i.e. fishing. I am more than man enough to take whats coming to me after that. Doing the dishes usually smooths everything over………Actually, thats what I lied about in the first place. Either way, I got to go fishing.

    Just another tool for the tool box Jayme

    Uncle Eric

Leave a Reply

The author.Born in the year of the Dragon, the author grudgingly accepts the fact he has too many interests and not enough time. A cyclist as long as he can remember, an avid yet inconsistent writer since age eleven, and a U.S. Marine since age twenty-one, the author also adds peak bagging, diving, snowboarding, and computers to his list of interests. Incidentally, he is aware of his inability to make a living from any but the Corps. The author accepts this as fact and remains optimistic. Feel free to drop him a line.

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