I remember being the age when I could barely reach up to push the ninth-floor button of the elevator to my apartment, and only if I tip-toed and stretched my arm to the fullest. I remember that just around this age, I lied to my mother. I don’t quite recall what the lie was about but the punishment to this day does not seem to set me free. She carved on my heart about how an amassment of lies would lead to a young and unfortunate death. And since I was taught how sinful that deed was, I’ve detested all who’ve been dishonest to me. Well, at least the ones I caught.
I still remember one time, a friend of mine spilled one of my secrets to a big mouth and pretended he didn’t. How did I know he was lying? Because he was the only one I trusted with this confidential information I should have kept to myself. I was speechless. He had no idea how much I wanted to dissect his skull to inspect with my very eyes if he had a brain. From that day, I cut him off. I just couldn’t tolerate anyone who wasn’t worth my effort to maintain a relationship. But at the age of seventeen, when I should have committed all my time to solving math problems and memorizing vocabulary words, something happened. I changed. Never went back to the old version of me.
I fell in love.
He was one year younger. Very sweet and handsome. Not gonna lie, I thought he was just playing the first three months into the relationship.
There’s no way he likes me.
But four months, five months, six months passed by, and still, there he was beside me. Whenever I was with him, I felt like we were surrounded by a breathtakingly beautiful sunset, holding hands, standing next to each other’s shoulders and appreciating the subtle gradation and the change of color of dusk with no interruption from anything outside of our tiny bubble. But as we became tighter, he became a spray can of lies. The lies could be about his location, his feelings—his actions. He told me once he was busy studying but he was actually playing video games. At first, I truly wished his laptop could set itself on fire, but later on I thought maybe he was just scared of my reaction if he had told me the truth because I wasn’t a big fan of video games.
By the time our relationship hit the one-year mark, our bubble was full of bandages trying their best to hold the tears. The rips were formed every time I caught him lying. And applying bandages to the wounds had become a quotidian duty for me. But it seemed like he couldn’t see the piled-up damage. I wanted him to have his eyesight checked, perhaps get a new prescription for his contact lenses, but he claimed he could see just fine. Without him trying to strengthen the surface of the bubble, the tears would never heal and there was no way that these bandages would permanently hold.
Around a year and a half into the relationship, the phrase I had heard a million times and hated the most pierced my ears again. The nuclear bomb that was ticking in me exploded and completely destroyed the bubble. Where we were living became inhabitable. Nothing’s left but dust.
I can’t believe I fell in love with a liar.
Two years after the destruction, we started chatting again, like two squirrels sharing their tales at a park, and I realized that I’m incapable of hating him. We then made a plan to eat at an Italian bistro, just to have a casual talk. Sitting in the restaurant playing with my own hands, I spotted him making his way toward me.
There he is.
I knew it was him without even having to look at his face. His slightly stooped shoulders and the way he positioned his weight when walking were exactly the same as they were in high school. The reunion was like eating a lollipop. It wasn’t too boring or exciting. But it gave me flashbacks.
Maybe it wasn’t all his fault.
Maybe I was too dramatic.
Maybe he was too young.
Maybe he didn’t mean to do it.
Before I knew it. I was making excuses for him. Again. How funny. After he covered both of our bills apace, he said he had to meet his family. I don’t know why but I just knew he wasn’t telling the truth. He was probably planning to meet his friends or a girl.
I wish you perfected your lies so that I would’ve never found out any of them. Our bubble may still have been perfectly whole till this day for us to enjoy the ablaze sunset.
I smirked as I gazed at him scurrying down the stairs to take the subway.
…My favorite liar.
By Aimi Otani