Saturday, July 23, 2011
Twitter story - LITTLE WHITE LIES
I didn’t really mean to tell them, at least from this distance it seems that way. I meant, as I remember it, to make things better. Or at least bearable. She seemed so unhappy, that deep down dirty kind of unhappiness, and I couldn’t bear to see her that way.
So I said, “He’ll be back, Mom.”
“No he won’t.”
“He told me he’d be back.”
Okay, you can see what happened, can’t you? With every question of hers, I got myself in deeper. I had to keep going, had to keep the story alive. Or she’d be unhappy and pissed off, a lethal combination.
“He didn’t say exactly, but definitely before your birthday.”
Her birthday was almost six months away. By that time I was sure she’d be on to some new guy. They never lasted very long though he had been around for almost a year before he disappeared.
“Why didn’t he say goodbye to me?”
The sobs weren’t subsiding.
“Because,” I hesitated, searching for inspiration. “Because he couldn’t bear to see you cry.”
“Oh,” she said, the sniffles slowing and the tears stopping.
I hadn’t counted on her waiting for him. I hadn’t even considered it a possibility. But she did. And the night before her birthday she stood on the porch in the cool night air and waited for the headlights to come up the drive. She waited all through the night and the next day and into heat of the following one before she swayed and fell to the porch.
I lifted her up – she never was very big – and carried her into bed. I made her drink chicken noodle soup and water and I waited for her to move on.
But she didn’t. She hasn’t. She’s convinced something terrible happened to him and she has me searching for him. Each afternoon when I get home from school, I turn on the computer and search – state by state – for any mention of him. It’s been good for my geography class but otherwise? Nothing.
But she believes.
And I, I have to live with it.