Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Wonderful Lies You Told Me

Prompt: Bubbles.

Source: My little sister.

Response: The Wonderful Lies You Told Me

You once told me you loved me, but since you also once told me that soap bubbles carried wishes to God, I guess I should have known you were lying. Just as I was not truly naive enough to believe that bubbles could have a holy purpose, but I wanted to believe it because it was a pretty story - because I wanted to believe you would not lie - I do not think I really believed you.

Looking back, I do not think I really believed anything you told me. You told me stories about soap bubbles, about how candles could summon saints and demons alike, that if I stood too close to the carnies they would hide under my bed to haunt me. The first time you held my hand, standing so close that I could feel your breath and the warmth of your body in the October air, you told me that my mom wanted you to. And the first time you kissed me, you drew back and told me I was special and that you had wanted to do that since we were kids laying in the grass and making soap bubbles.

I always wanted to believe you, but somehow the tiniest doubt wormed its way into my mind. I sent up a thousand soap bubbles when my dad was sick, when he was dying. Each one, a prayer for his recovery, though I was fairly sure it would not do anything. I lit a candle once, late at night, after my father died and called his name hoping that he had become a saint even though I did not believe that they existed. Later, when I became angry over the injustice of his death, I tried to summon demons in the same way. I was so furious, I almost expected it to work. After you told me to beware of carnies, I did not sleep for a week because I could not convince myself that you would lie to me. When we held hands "because my mom wanted us to" I grasped your fingers tightly, afraid my mom would see us and be angry, though I wanted to never let go. And the first time I kissed you, I told the voices that said you could not care about me and that reminded me of the times you had left worms where I was sure to find them just to scare me to shut up.

They were such beautiful stories, even the scary ones. You crafted them so skillfully - your eyes gleaming with the excitement of a child confessing a secret. And I ate them up, lapped them from your hands like sweet ambrosia. And I could not believe you would ever betray me by lying to me so I hid my doubts under mountains of devotion to you, buried them in caverns of worship. I even blew soap bubbles and wished with all my might that I did not doubt you.

The night we got lost when I was eleven and it was getting dark, your stories of sacred fires that lit in the night to protect children kept me warm until they found us. Your voice encircled me and I never wanted to leave your arms, no matter the bite of the harsh winter wind.

I think I really did believe you when you said you loved me, though. It was stupid of me, but I had fooled myself into following your lead since we were very little and I guess I wanted to trust you so much that I was willing to trust blindly.

When I saw the things in you I had ignored for so long - the angry perfectionist, the possessive control freak - the wonderful, magical, fragile little world that you had built around me, piece by piece, crashed to the ground in a circle all around me. I looked at all the little broken bits and remembered carnies and holding hands and soap bubbles and realised that I really should have known that you were lying.

I walked out of the circle of broken things, crushing the debris beneath my feet as if I could erase you and what you have always meant to me, but it made me cry. Because as stupid as it was to believe you could love me, I can never be as happy again as I was when candles could summon and fires could save. I cried desperately, though not for you. Rather, for the intricate, mystical, terrible, lies you fed me, covered me with, constructed for me. And, though I have never been lonely enough to miss you, I ache everyday for the wonderful lies you told me.

Notes: The title and first line of this piece are from a Paula's Writer's Block (a WEbook challenge project) prompt. Mine was the winning sentence and I became attached enough to it, that I was actively trying to find a place to use it. This prompt seemed perfect.

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