February 28, 8 PM- Louise’s Diary
Cancer isn’t so common around here. Wait, no, that’s not how I wanted to start my first sentence.
Delete everything above. I wanted to start my first sentence like this. Hold on…
I never lied. There.
Yes, I never, ever, lied. Not even when I was a young girl, or when I was an eight-year-old (which is the first year of Trouble). I never lied, and I am almost thirteen years old.
Last week, I went to church. The pastor there talked about Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. He explained that Jesus told Peter he would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, but Peter disagreed. When Jesus was taken away to be killed, Peter was eager to follow. When he did, the others that did not like Jesus asked Peter if he was one of his disciples. Peter was so afraid he denied he knew him, and he did it three times. After that, the rooster crowed.
After the sermon, the pastor asked us, “How many of you have lied?” Everyone raised their hands sheepishly. Except me.
The pastor noticed. He gave me a quick smile and said, “It’s okay to admit it. Peter has denied knowing Jesus, and he had huge faith! I’m pretty sure none of you had not lied before.”
He was talking about me, how I didn’t raise my hand. But I really didn’t. God can tell you, to prove it.
But now, five days later, I did.
When I did, I was so freaked out. I didn’t like keeping the lie inside of me. I never keep things inside of me. Once I figure out something, it always comes out of my mouth. That’s why I can’t lie. Since I didn’t want to tell anyone, I had a brilliant idea. I decided to write it down inside of a diary, with a safety lock attached to it. Clever, right?
I bet you all are wondering what my lie was. It is that I lied about doing my homework? I always did it, I only missed once but at least I was honest about it. Is it that I lied about playing video games past my bedtime? I don’t play games. Well, I didn’t. After my mom found out about me playing games, she freaked out. Yes, freaked out. So my punishment was reading in my closet for an hour. But that was no punishment. I love reading.
I tell my mother everything. Even my diary lock set of numbers! Okay, fine, she didn’t find out about me playing games. I told her.
Here is how my lie began.
I was sitting down on a desk, doing my homework before I got home. Then, I remember I had to go to the school library to return my book.
I am shy. Instead of saying hi to the librarian who waved and greeted me, I nodded my head like an idiot, smiled, and handed her my book.
After that, I went into the hall. That hall was always empty, because that is where the counselor’s office is, and none of us wanted to go near Ms. Gongali’s horrible smelling perfume that was like a mixture of rotten coconuts and skunk breath. But this time, there were two people. And they didn’t look so happy.
“Hey, Emily,” A mean boy a year ahead of Emily said, smirking. “When are you going to leave? I know people with cancer die in a few years, but I can’t wait that long to not see you again!”
Now, everyone knows that Emily has cancer. Some kids make fun of her. But to me, she was really an inspiration and a true role model. She doesn’t wear a wig, and lets everyone see her bald! She isn’t scared of anything, and she has a kind heart that won’t move anywhere.
“I already know that someone is paying you to make fun of me,” Emily says. “There is no hiding it. That’s the dumbest deal I ever heard—admit it.”
But Matthew stayed put, strong in an unkind way. “Emily, I think you would know better than to talk back to me. You’re just a weak girl with a disease. You’ll be lucky if a driver doesn’t run you over.”
“Why would he run me over?”
“Because he would be thinking you’re a mistake that doesn’t deserve to be born. Cause you don’t. How about you admit that?”
I don’t even know what I was thinking when I interrupted. “Hey, Matthew.”
He turns around and catches my eye. “What do you want?” His sneer was still in his voice.
“If you had a relative with cancer, will you still make fun of her?” I ask calmly. I was surprised I wasn’t even breaking a sweat.
“What does that have to do with anything?” He shoots back. “Listen, I don’t have time for you.”
“So you have time for me?” Emily says. She shoots the target. Bullseye! She got him straight in the mouth.
“Matt, you don’t know how many people you are hurting in this world. My mother has cancer, and my dad passed away in a car crash. How hard do you think it is not living with my parents?”
His eyebrows shoot up.
“So you feel sorry for my mom, but not Emily?”
He backs up a bit.
But guess what? My mother doesn’t have cancer. She is perfectly fine, living a normal life. I don’t even know what I just said. Only the part about my dad is right.
Then, it hit me. I lied!
“We’ll get to this later,” he barks at Emily, who didn’t even struggle to get away. She gives him a sweet smile and turns to me.
“Thank you lots!” she says, hugging me. “Matthew is such a pain. Anyone who makes fun of me is.”
I had the urge to hug her back, but I couldn’t.
I lied. A small lie.
But like my granny always says, “Lies grow bigger.”
And what if that happens to mine?
March 3rd, 4 PM- Louise’s Diary
After the lie, I felt like there was a hole in my stomach. And after today at school, the hole got bigger and bigger.
Someone had overheard me talking about my mother having cancer, and told my teacher, Ms. Roosevelt. I knew it couldn’t have been Emily because she promised not to give away my secret. I knew it could have not been Matthew because why would he waste his time talking to a teacher that teaches one year below his grade? He wouldn’t. I know he wouldn’t.
Ms. Roosevelt said that morning, “I want to make a special announcement.” Then she gives me a look before her next words. “I got permission from Louise Anthony from this, and we will be doing a little project.”
I recap her words. Did she just say “I got permission from Louise Anthony?” No way. The last time I ever spoke directly to her was January.
She continues. “There are many people with cancer, kids and adults, that are dying every year. So today, I have construction paper because we will be writing nice notes to someone special in the hospital with cancer!”
I was very confused. Emily was sitting two seats next to me, so it couldn’t be her.
Who was it?
Two seconds later, when it struck me like lightning, I sunk, the hole in my stomach was burning like acid.
“We will be giving notes to Louise Anthony’s mother!”
That made me sink deeper.
I heard gasps and saw eyebrows lifted, and I wanted to bury my face inside my hands and disappear. I heard that line before, I just wanted to use it someday.
“Boys, come grab your construction papers!” she called. They scurried out of their desks to grab the best colors.
I had a stomachache. I couldn’t stand.
“Girls, come grab your construction papers!” she called again. The girls quickly dashed out of their seats and chose. Except me. Or Emily.
I saw Emily walking slowly to my desk. Her face was red, red like hot peppers riding on a red balloon in the sunset, and her palms were white, white like snowmen dancing in a blizzard while eating vanilla ice cream.
Then she said words I thought would never come out of her.
“I told Ms. Roosevelt.”
Then I knew my life was over.
March 4th, 3 PM- Louise’s Diary
“Oh, dear, but I heard you did have cancer…I am absolutely sorry…One of her friends told me yesterday morning…Wow, I can’t believe it… Yes…I believe so….”
I was sitting after school the next morning, sitting on a gray chair that seemed to make fun of me. Every time I adjusted my seat, it squeaked so loud, the teacher squinted harshly at me. She must be really embarrassed.
Right next to me was Emily. She seemed more uncomfortable than me, although I should be guiltier because I was the one who lied. She is the one who took it on. But I started it. I should take whatever punishment that Emily receives.
After the phone call, she turns to both of us. “I am very disappointed. First, you, Louise, lied, and second of all, Emily told the lie to me and I believed it. Can Louise tell me what is going on?”
This was my career. I spilled everything that happened, starting from me headed in the hall finding Matthew bullying Emily, and every single detail I thought she needed.
After she listened, she tried to let everything sink in like a sponge. It felt like hours until she finally said, “I will talk to Matthew’s mother. But Emily didn’t know that you were lying, correct?”
I nodded, and then I added, “But I only said my mom had cancer to stop Matthew.”
I was surprised she wasn't yelling, or scolding, or giving us a punishment. She seemed to understand what I was doing. But what really made me surprised was that she told us a secret.
“When I was a child,” she started, a mysterious smile creeping up her face, “I told everyone I went to Hollywood because I was a child actress.”
Emily and I exchanged skeptical looks.
“It’s true! I was very eager to be an actress someday. But it never came true. I never told anyone, and kept it all a secret. Well, at first.
“Then, one day, a real child actress came to our school. Everyone fell in love with her. So she thought she could get anything she wanted since she was pretty popular.”
I asked, “What was her name?” at the same time Emily asked, “You guys had popularity stuff back then?”
Ms. Roosevelt held up her hands. “Whoa! One at a time, I only have one mind!” Then she answered, “Her name was Elle. And, well, Emily, when I said ‘popular,’ I meant that she was well-known. Not popular-popular.”
We were quiet, and let her know to continue. She did. “When everyone fell in love with that girl, I got jealous. So I told everyone I was a child actress too.
“Everyone was very confused at first, but then they asked so many questions. I was full of glee—I really loved all the attention. But then, someone suggested a drama battle. The next day after I lied to them, we had to pretend to be a character from Romeo and Juliet or Fiddler on the Roof. I protested and said it was silly, that everyone in the cast was old, but I was outnumbered. So I had to pretend to be a character.”
“Then what happened?” Emily and I said at the same time.
She hesitated. “Elle never showed up that day,” she admitted.
I thought, What? Why would she miss her chance?
“I was confused also. In the first few days, everyone talked about it. She never showed up, and we couldn’t see her anymore. So I admitted in front of everyone I wasn’t a child actress. I figured if she left, and I told the truth, no one would care anymore since Elle leaving was bigger news for me. But then, everyone was so shocked, none of them spoke to me for a week.”
“Don’t you have friends?”
“Of course I do!” Ms. Roosevelt exclaimed, sounding insulted. “They were the only ones who comforted me, they really understood.”
“What is the point of this story? I’m sorry if I’m being rude.”
“You’re not being rude, dear. I just want to say, even though it might make everyone shocked and surprised, you still have to admit the truth. And move on.”
“But my lie only came out to help Emily. You did yours on purpose because you were jealous.”
She looked over at me. “Got any better stories?”
I said nothing.
“So, Louise, Emily, I hope you have a wonderful day. I know we had a mix-up, but we all moved on. Are you ready to pack up?”
“Yes,” Emily said.
“Sure,” I replied.
“See you all tomorrow, your parents are waiting outside!” Ms. Roosevelt said cheerfully. She quickly checked her watch and waved us away.
You see? One lie I told my whole life took like five pages if it were to be put into writing. I wonder how many pages it will take to write about hundreds of lies Emily told, hundreds of lies Ms. Roosevelt told, and gazillions of lies everyone in the world told!
I really love writing in my diary now. It’s where I spill my juice.
Hm, maybe this should be a diary where I admit all my lies!
Ha! And let my mother see it? No way.