Decided to post on of my micros! If you like it, buy it on your Kindle. Why would you buy a story you’ve just read for free, you ask? Because, Asshole!
The Last Lie
What have I done?
I’m sitting in this empty room – white walls, stucco ceiling, wood floors – full of boxes still needing unpacking. The only furniture, besides the stool I am sitting on, is the massive, drawer-less dresser sitting in the middle of the floor, her dresser. It looks skeletal sitting there stripped to its bare frame, like a shell of what it should be; perhaps that emptiness is what drew me to it. Perhaps, that’s why I’ve been sitting here, staring into the mirror mounted on its back all morning. Empty, but still able to project the image it was given, as it was expected to; still able to keep appearances. I’ve always hated this dresser.
What have I done?
I just stare at him.
It is just us, now.
He is supposed to be me. He is supposed to be nothing more than my own light, fed to the glass and silver and shown back to me. But how can that be? Look at him. He’s young, he’s handsome; sure he looks tired, but he does not look weary, does not look fatigued, does not look as though life itself is becoming a burden too heavy for him to bear. Look at him; nice teeth, glowing skin, stylish hair. He looks like he’s ready to take on the world – perhaps first he’ll take on a toothbrush and a cup of coffee, but then the world.
He is supposed to be me? This man, in his universe of silver and glass, was born of my light? How is that even possible when I have no more light to give? My light is dying; it could not satiate the hunger of the mirror well enough to produce such a pristine image.
Yet, he is supposed to be me, or better yet, I am supposed to be him.
I’d like to blame him; his smiles, his joy, his energy. I’d like to say that those things are what have gotten me here, but he has only done what I asked him to do, what I did so long and couldn’t do anymore. I invited him in, instructed him, and watched idly as he fooled all the people in my life just as I once had.
All I wanted was to hide my pain from them. I wanted to spare them from having to know what I was going through, what I was feeling. I wanted to spare her especially. I still do. I dug myself into this happy hole. I could’ve avoided it early on with honesty, but instead I started living this charade. So now what should I do? Tell them the truth after years of lies?
I’m sorry, but I don’t love you, I don’t know if I ever really did. I didn’t want to hurt you, I still don’t want to hurt you, but living this lie is eating me away inside. It’s killing me. I can’t do it anymore.
I can’t do that. Not now. It wouldn’t just hurt her, it would hurt them all. No, I put myself into this and now I just have to deal. But dealing is becoming all the more painful – the fake smiles, the fake cheer – it is all becoming too heavy, and I am cracking under the load.
That’s why I let him do it.
He gives everyone the feigned smiles I can no longer deliver. The weight of it was crushing me, but everyone else was happy. I am sparing them all the pain of knowing the truth, or perhaps I was sparing myself from having to watch them suffer the truth. Either way, he plays his role well.
“How excited are you, Hon? Our own place!” I remember hearing her say to him one day, while sitting on his lap.
“It’s wonderful, Babe,” he lied. “I can’t wait to finally start our lives together.”
While I wept, he looked her in the eyes and smiled.
It was a perfect smile. So perfect that, without him, I would’ve broke under its load.
“I Know! I’m so excited! You love me?”
I was going to tell her the truth right then, I was going to do it. I was going to apologize for all the years of lying and just come clean. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I can’t go through with this anymore. I can’t give my whole life to you on this pretense of love that doesn’t exist and maybe never did!
That’s what I was going to say, but his resolve was stronger than mine. He did not stray from his assignment.
“Of course I do, Babe.”
He’s good. The happy-face and the lies that were becoming like load of lead to me, he can easily handle. He knows the cost of the truth; he knows that it will ease no pain, only transfer it from me to them, and if one of us had to bear it, then it is I that deserves it. That is why I’m sitting in this empty room, gazing at him through this barrier of glass, asking myself one question.
What have I done?
“You OK, Hon?”
I turn to the doorway where she stands, a concerned look on her face. I turn back to him for help, but I’ve temporarily trapped him in his prison of silver and glass. He cannot help me now.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I mutter to the floor.
“Why are you just sitting there in your underwear, staring at the mirror like a weirdo?”
“Uh, I don’t know, just tired I guess,” I say through a forced half-grin. “Just zoning out, or something.”
“Um, OK,” she says through a small giggle. “Well, I’ll be downstairs unpacking, come down when you get a little more awake. Love you.”
I simply nod and grin. I don’t have it in me to tell another lie.
I look back toward him with envy. It is so easy for him to wear this guise of happiness; he doesn’t have to feel the pain that came with it.
Why can’t I be stronger? I say I lie to spare them, to spare her, but have I spared anyone? Or have I just trapped us all in this downward spiral of an empty loveless life, full of resentment and self-loathing. Have I really spared anyone?
It doesn’t matter, I thought as I used the razor to trace the big blue vein in my arm from wrist to shoulder.
And as my head lie down on the dresser, watching the beautiful, crimson falls, flow away from my body, he reached down and began softly stroking my face. Lovingly.
And for the first time that I can remember…
The smile was weightless…