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This is what a lie smells like.
“My hero is not quite a hero,” my mother said,
“for he is a liar, and liars cannot be heroes.”
“Why, that is not true, dear mother,” I responded,
“for lying is an art; it takes courage, intelligence, confidence, even nobleness.
You see, liars are the true heroes. Honesty is a weakness.”
The correlation between my father and I is our ease of lying.
My dear mother hates us for this.
The other day, I told my therapist I did not believe in honesty. He started at me awestruck,
like a young boy discovering explicit photographs for the first time,
not quite sure whether or not I was lying.
I lie to lovers all the time.
The ones who want something more, I tell them I am not looking for anything serious.
The ones who want nothing serious, I tell them I am looking for something more.
The truth is, my yearnings for both self-reliance and blissful coexistence combined
askew my vision, like a planet shifting in front of a star, I cannot see.
I was lying when I pretended I wanted to be an actress,
all I really wanted was attention and the chance to be someone I am not.
I may even be lying now as I claim I want to be a writer,
using this aspiration to mask my pathetic desires,
my desire to be interesting, even captivating, mysterious, charming,
my desire to be an undiscovered cave in a foreign land,
full of hidden gems tucked away in the creases where walls meet.
One may think all of my words decompose to lies.
Not true, for you see, this is a half-lie: half truth, half lie,
depending on which angle you gaze upon it from.
It seems that I am always caught between a truth and a lie,
rotting away in purgatory, unable to make up my mind,
decaying like my dear grandmother’s hollow body in her stone coffin,
stinking of funeral homes and maggots,
pale, frozen, dead, trapped.
For a half-truth, half-lie, this seems to be the most honest thing I have ever written.
No, that is a lie. This is what a lie smells like,
a lie as poignant as the smell of death.