lies that create lines
by R. Baker
I realize I am lying to her face. I know she is not buying it because her mouth is one long grim line with tiny crescent moons on each side, tiny but deep. I donít know what Iím saying. I am talking so fast I canít keep up with the words. Is it coherent, believable even? At the very least, I hope she is as confused as I am, too confused to seize upon any fallacy and prove the whole spiel to be the elaborate, rambling myth that Iím trying to so hard to spin. I am trying to solder the threads together, but they are fragile. I spiral around the truth, closer and closer. It is easiest to lie when it is mostly true. I am thinking of a name, a person, someone she doesnít hate. I have two friends. She doesnít like either of them. Think of old friends. Pick someone who is still in the area, and do not, absolutely do not pick someone she knows is away in rehab. Do not pick who I was really with, no wait, I already mentioned him. Who will diffuse that slip? Amber! I was supposed to hang out with her today. I was with Amber and him, but we just ran into him, and we went for a walk, to see the edges of the river frozen into impossibly thin slivers of ice. We lost track of time, and it was getting dark, and we got lost in the woods, and he fell and hurt his ankle, and thatís what took so long. We were definitely not in his bedroom, smoking three joints in the space of 5 hours and having long, drowsy conversations about whether it is ethical to eat meat and whether political revolutions can succeed in the long run without corruption and tyranny shattering ideals and hopes and all the grand dreams that people bleed to death for.

I realize I am lying to her face, and badly. I know she is not buying it because those two, fiery red lines are surfacing at the edges of her eyebrows, framing the bridge of her nose, as if to complement the pair of crescents clinging to the sides of her mouth. I am lying to her face, and the old fear emerges, the fear that my lies are marring her. When I was a kid I thought my bad behavior had carved those lines into her face. And I would cry, more so because I thought I had permanently scarred her than because I was on the verge of punishment. Iím sure I have caused those lines, that and a thousand other worries, financial, familial, and other small and not so small incidents that she never talks about. Thinking of this, I pause. The continuity is gone and Iím exhausted. I review my frenzied excuses. Okay, they jive. They are innocent enough. Yes, I am sorry. She opens her mouth, and I am tensing up because this is it. I want to look away, close my eyes, run to my room and confine myself for her. It is better than hearing this. She sighs and retreats. I creep up to my room, careful to not make the stairs creak. I ground myself for the night. Tomorrow it will be like nothing happened. I need prefabricated lies. This off-the-cuff story-telling is too much to handle while stoned.

Posted by: R. Baker

Prose (February 8th, 2005)