The snow picks up the pace and falls at an increased rate. Sitting in my car, the music intertwines with the glide of the windshield wipers and I stare out onto the street. A text tone interrupts my thoughts, and I note a message from Xavier. The wipers glide across the glass as I think of how to answer. Has he ever told him? I think to myself as I draft out a response. Was the “thing” ever spoken about, or was this a secret made for a lie?
All lies are false statements but not all false statements are lies. Thomas Carson, author of Lying and Deception: Theory and Practice, uses this fact scenario to illustrate this lying game.
“I do not lie if faulty memory causes me to state something false when I am trying my best to be accurate and truthful. If I say something that is clearly false as a joke that is not intended to be taken seriously, I am not lying”. (1.I.2. Falsehoods and Lies) This moral dilemma often is based on an individualized view. It is quite rare that people take a step back and think about the lie before telling it – No thought placed onto the aftermath. There always seems to be a general moment of fear that pushes the lie forward into full swing.
They say that when you add fire to the flame, you get more fire. Does this metaphor apply to lies? When in a relationship, is it wise to lie? Wise to shield the truth from someone you care for to avoid any potential pain?
His secret lays comfortably on my tongue ready to escape. We sat at a crowded dinner table surrounded by a collection of friends and colleagues. The table was draped in red cloth and decorated with pine and wood – Bred in a winter ornamentation. I watched your lips twist around your straw. His hand on your leg and your fingers gripping your cup, our eyes meet. It was during desert when it came up, we didn’t speak about it, but god I wanted to.
I think back to the moment.
I woke up in a bed full of white sheets. I looked to my left and was greeted by the most beautiful view, rust red leaves and a cavernous lot of foliage filling the window. I shove my face back into the pillow. With each tick of the wall clock, I try to drift myself back into sleep. I was lost in a fire, held captive in an enclosed state that felt like home. 7 AM and the emotional build up has kicked in. The knotted feeling in your throat that indicates the presence of tears. A cold chill echoes the room encapsulating the aura. I can’t make my mind up – I feel as if I am on an express train to a foreign city without the bearings of familiar territory. I went back to sleep. I wake up and I walk to the bar cart to make myself a drink. A hearty gin to fog the mind and to pair with a cigarette. He walks over to me and places his arms around my waist. His head rested on my neck. The scent of Chanel overtakes my mind and fills my nostrils. What have we done?
I felt my nose growing, a symptom of shielding the truth. This is what I would like to call the Pinocchio syndrome, a lie taking a physical manifestation. I toyed with my food and avoided answering any questions that might be incriminating. This is when the word vomit began, and I was left telling white lie after white lie. A white lie translates to a false-positive, a fake sense of comfort and ease to dilute the severity of the truth. Used as a mirage for fear, a white lie acts as a twisted truth meant to appear less harmful than it actually is. When a white lie is rooted in selfish intent, is it no longer innocent? Is it time to confess?
Whether protecting him or protecting myself, I dilute the white lies in white wine and carry on with our dinner.
*All representations are fictional.