might as well

She's lying. You know how to tell? Something in her eyes, the way she challenges them to doubt her - she's making eye contact, she's smiling bright and happy and normal, she's doing everything that just screams "I'm telling the truth!"

And she's lying. Bald-faced, shameless lies. Not the harmful sort, no, not to anyone except her. No one is harmed when she tells them that everything's going great, that she's happy, that this is what she wants. I'd be willing to bet everything I own that she walks out of here, gets in her car, smiles all the way home, and - the instant her feet touch the carpet and the door swings shut behind her - she cries. I'd be willing to be everything that this is all a facade.

I won't say anything. There's no point, really, because I don't have proof and she won't listen anyway. She's lying, yes, we both know, but knowledge isn't enough. Not for this sort of thing. This is her tactic, you see, this is how she survives. If she didn't lie about it, everyone would know everything about her, and she can't have that, right?

In her head, when people know her, she's vulnerable. Why?

What happened to her, I wonder, that scared her off the human race? Why can't she open up and quit lying, for just a second? Why can't she let them know - or at least glimpse - what she's thinking? What's scaring her, what's worrying her, what's bothering her? Why can't she see that they're there for her, they're her friends, aren't they? Isn't that what they're supposed to do? Why does she think she has to lie to them?

She's lying again. That laugh, just a fraction too loud, just an instant too long. That smile, too big to be real. Those eyes, too bright to be happy.

She's lying, and no one else sees it.

It doesn't matter, though, really. Because I -

(I'm the person she wishes were here, you see? I'm the person she fantasizes about. I'm the romantic interest or perfect best friend who magically appears and can see right through her. It doesn't matter that I'm the only one who knows she's lying, because I'm not really here, you see? I'm a dream and a wish. And I don't exist.)

(She just prays I do. Every night, every morning, with every breath.)

(See me, she whispers, dry-eyed. See through me.)

They don't.