I have never been much skilled at the art of deception. It is a mere impossibility for me to tell a lie. My face is a translucent piece of cellophane that allows everyone from the simplest stranger to the most knowledged companion access to my every thought and emotion.
I am no woman of mystery.
And that’s just fine. I’d rather live my life simply than navigate a cacophony of deceits and casual discrepancies.
And, if I were telling it honestly, I would have to say:
I am terrified when I think about my life.
Each morning I wake up with numerous blankets pulled tightly over my head to compensate for the heat I refuse to turn on. It’s 10 degrees outside. In knee socks and polar tech, I wrap my thinning frame in a bathrobe and don a pair of furry slippers to pad my way to my broken and ceaselessly running toilet. With eyes half closed, I ration my toilet paper (the good kind, with the ridges) to an abridged length and vow to wash my hands thoroughly after it proves to not be enough. I don’t flush, not this time, and cite eco-consciousness as my reason.
In the kitchen, I flip on the electric kettle and worrisomely finger the last remaining tea bags in the box. I can use this twice, maybe three times, I thought, as I toss the pale satchel into a mug from the dish rack. I only let the water half-boil, before I cut the flow of electricity to the not-quite-steaming kettle.
I open the fridge door and pull out the last remaining slices of bread from the shelf. It was a brand cheaply purchased at a corner store. It had High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. The jar of peanut butter, half empty, will hold me over until I can get to work.
Closing the door, I notice a knock-off Tupperware container of leftovers from Friday? Saturday? How could I not eat them in time? Maybe they could go four days and still be okay?
The tea steeped, the bread toasted. I plop down on my sofa and pull a blanket around my legs, knocking a calendar of due dates and payments to the floor.
Lines and shapes made in red ink make tangible my anxieties.
From the other room, the electronic buzz of my phone sang a recognizable tune and, with toast and blanket in hand, I followed the sound.
It was You. Perfect. Put together. Stable. Adult. You.
“How are ya, girlie?”
“I’m great,” I said, between mouthfuls of High Fructose “wheat” and peanut butter.
When I hung up the phone, my tea was cold. I drank it anyway.
Maybe I am getting better at lying.