I am a liar. I'll admit that.
I lie to everyone. My family, my friends, myself.
To be a liar, you have to lie to yourself. It's the most important step.
Becoming a liar goes like this:
Step One: Lie to yourself.
Step Two: Lie to everyone else.
Step Three: Don't forget your lies.
Step three is pretty important too. Usually, I lie to myself and say that the lies I tell people will never come up again. But usually, they do.
"So, where are we off to tonight?"
"I don't care," I lie.
"C'mon, I know you do." I can hear the smile in her voice, even if I'm not looking at her. She's leaning in the door frame of the kitchen, and I can feel her eyes on my back.
"I was thinking a movie, but then again, we got to movies all the time anyway."
"Is anything good on?" I ask, setting cups down in the sink.
"Nah. Just action movies."
I don't answer her, I just keep washing up. Without me asking to, she comes over to the sink and starts drying up.
"We could go out for dinner?" she asks.
"If you want," I tell her.
So we do.
The restaurant is packed. I lie to myself and pretend that its fine. I lie to myself and say that I don't mind how crowded it is. I lie to myself and pretend my skin is not crawling with anxiety, and the pent up need to escape, escape, escape.
Then I lie and pretend to find something I like.
She does the talking, like she always does. I lie to myself and pretend that I don't have anything to say to her, or anybody.
"Do you remember the Jack guy? Turns out he was cheating on Tina for like three months, with some other chick she'd never heard of. He lied to her for three months. Can you imagine doing that?" She takes a long sip from her wine glass, and then asks a passing waiter for another. I lie to myself and pretend I don't mind how much she drinks.
"No way," I lie to her, and then I lie to myself and pretend that my whole life isn't a long time to be a liar.
I am a liar, and I will lie to myself and say that I am proud.
"So anyway," she continues, like nothing is happening inside my head. "Tina finds out, right? Totally flips. Just freaked out. She packed all her stuff up and just cleared out of there, gone to live with her mum down the beach or something."
"Huh," I say, pretending to be interested.
She swirls her wine around in its glass and like the liar that I am I lie to myself and pretend I know why people like to drink so much.
"Thing is, now Jack is ranting to everyone about how she was the one cheating on him to begin with, and that he was doing it to get back at her, which is totally stupid. But anyway, so now there's two sides, right? Jack's dude-bro buddies, and Tina's friends, but thing is, they don't really care, they're just agreeing with them so that maybe they'll stop fighting and everyone can have so peace and quiet for once. You heard them yelling? Didn't you?"
"Yeah, I think so," I lie.
She thinks about it, sipping her wine.
"Wait, weren't you out Wednesday night? At that conference?"
I pretend to think about it. I shift food around my plate.
"Must have been another night," I lie. "There's always people yelling."
She shrugs. "I always found it to be a quiet building."
"I work nights," I tell her. "Daytime's always noisy." It's a lie. The building is always quiet.
She brightens up. Giggles. It's probably the wine talking when she says; "You're a vampire, I swear."
I shrug, "You like the mystery," I lie. There's nothing mysterious about me.
I'm a liar. That's all there is.
"Are you done?" she asks, nodding to my plate.
"Yeah," I lie. I never began, so I can't be done.
"I'll pay," she says, pulling her wallet from her purse.
"Nah, its fine, I'll pay," I say. "Its fine, really," I lie.
It's always there, that voice in my head. Every minute of every hour, of every day. It whispers mostly, but sometimes it yells. It's yellin' today.
The night outside is icy cold the narrow street a wind tunnel of winter wind. She's drunk, bouncy and floating on an alcohol cloud. She's so happy, and I lie to myself and say that I helped.
"I wish the stars were out!" she calls to the sky, stepping out on the street. "Hey STARS! Come out!" she giggles. "Do you think they're listening?"
"Yeah," I lie, "They probably listen all the time."
"You're such a liar," she giggles, pushing me away, walking out onto the middle of the road.
"I am not," I lie.
But she's not listening. She's listening to a music I can't hear, twirling in the street like it's a ballroom. Like the skin tight dress no one but her would wear in the depths of winter is a ballgown.
I look up at the sky. At the stars, so faint I can barely see them.
I'm not insecure, I lie to them. Then I lie to myself and pretend that it isn't sad that I can't confess anything, not even to balls of burning gas thousands and thousands of kilometres away. It's just sad.
"Dance with me!"
"I don't want to," I lie. I do. I really do.
She twirls away from me again and keeps dancing in the street, this time to the music from the bar across the road, whose doors have just opened, releasing its captives into the night.
I watch them and their freedom of happiness and clarity. Of certainty. Fearless and free.
There's a squeal of breaks.
The smell of burning rubber as the car speeds off into the night.
I am frozen.
A deer in the headlights of death itself.
I can't breathe. I can't see anything but her broken, shattered body and the tire marks burnt into the ground.
There's an impossible sheen of life in her eyes, a half smile on her lips. Was she looking at me and smiling like that?
There are words in my throat, twisting themselves around the tears in my heart and the lump in my throat to be spoken. To tell her…
Was she looking at me?
I lied to her.
I lied to everyone.
I am a liar. And a coward.
She will never hear me. but I speak the truth. I am a liar, but I speak the truth.
"I'm so sorry."