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Contemporary Sad Friendship

Lying is a black hole. You lie to one person about something, then you immediately feel the urge to lie about something else. The lies just keep piling up, and in a moment, the line between the truth and the lie becomes so blurred, that you start to believe the lie yourself. You start to live the lie. You become a lie.

I, however, don’t have that option to live a lie.

When I was a mere child of eight, I saw my father abusing my mother.

It was because she had lied to him about where the money had gone.

She had used up some of the money to buy something for herself, and the moment he found out, he had hit her until she was bleeding and lying on the floor, coughing up blood.

I had sat down next to her as she took her final painful breaths.

The words she said after this still ring in my head whenever I’m in a difficult conversation.

“Never lie. If you don’t want to die, you must not lie.”

Whenever I debate on whether to lie or not, I decide against it when I remember sitting there, my shorts stained with blood, holding my mother’s hand and crying into it as she slipped out of consciousness forever.

I called the ambulance and the police.

As they led my father out, I was filled with so much relief.

Because I knew if they had come even a few minutes late, they would have had two dead bodies to collect.

******

I lived in a foster home for most of my life.

While others complained about the hard beds and the tasteless food, I was happy there. It became the only home I had. I made many friends there; I wonder where they are now. I hope they’re safe and happy.

Then I got adopted, by the most wonderful people ever.

The Robinsons.

I sometimes don’t think I deserve them.

They are always there for me, even when I’m being difficult, especially when I’m being difficult.

They get it.

They give me my space and still know when to jump in.

They are so perfect, it’s scary sometimes.

I still think about my mother.

Her cold hand in mine, her last words, her blood on the floor.

Today, on her tenth death anniversary, my parents have made sure to leave me alone.

I sit in the corner of my room, curtains drawn closed, clutching her photograph so tightly it’s leaving creases.

Even though I can’t see her, I can feel her.

I can feel her still showing me the right path, the truthful path.

She’s urging me on with a smile.

“What’s the need to lie when you can be truthful?”

I never lie. I can’t.

I can’t betray my mother like that.

Lying would mean that she never meant anything to me at all.

And then I would begin to live that lie.

I would forget about her, and I would move on.

And maybe that would be good for me.

But almost every person who has lost a parent has stopped or started doing something to honour their memory.

This is my something.

Albeit unconventional, it is what I must do.

So tomorrow, when I leave for university, no one is getting anything but the truth from me.

******

“Can I sit here?”

She’s beautiful, her curly hair framing a heart-shaped face with no makeup on.

“You’re beautiful,” I blurt out.

She blushes, and says, “That wasn’t the answer to my question, but thank you.”

I blush at my stupidity and move my bag over so that she can sit next to me.

She extends her hand to me, and I shake it.

“I’m Elara.”

“Jeremy.”

I don’t want to let go of her hand, it’s comforting.

I stop myself from saying so, not wanting to scare her. I let go of her hand as the professor enters.

As the professor introduces himself and the subject, Elara places her head in her hands, clearly bored.

A few seconds later, she’s playing with her pen, clicking it against the table.

“Would you stop that? It’s really annoying,” I say.

She looks at me, while I train my eyes forward.

She stops clicking, looking significantly snubbed.

When the class gets over, I turn to my right to find that she has already left in a hurry.

I crane my neck to see that she’s at the door.

Picking up my stuff quickly, I try to see whether I can catch her and apologise.

I immediately stop myself, knowing that apologizing for the truth is as close to not believing the truth as I can get. But I did believe in what I had said. I had gotten annoyed.

I walk slowly, and I see that Elara is looking back at me, almost as if she’s waiting for me to come over to her and apologise.

I act like I don’t know her, and walk past her, not trusting myself to look at her without embarrassing myself again.

As I walk to my next class, I know that I have no way to make any friends with my honesty. People are very repelled by it. They prefer if others stroke their ego even further by saying things that are clearly lies.

I feel a tap on my shoulder.

I turn around to see Elara.

She looks nervous.

“Listen, I’m sorry I was clicking my pen so much, I didn’t realize how annoying it was. People never seem to mind, so I thought you wouldn’t either.”

“I’m not like everyone else,” I say, smiling.

“Clearly,” she laughs.

“So, am I forgiven?” she asks, looking at me hopefully.

This is a first.

No one has ever apologized to me when I’ve said the truth.

My mother was right.

There’s no need to lie after all.

“You’re forgiven,” I say, and continue walking to my class, praying that she walks with me.

Today being my lucky day, she walks with me too.

As we get to talking, I find out that she is an Economics major and her aim is to end world poverty by ending hunger.

“Surely you don’t actually mean that. I’ve found that most people don’t say what they mean knowing that what they mean doesn’t sound very nice.”

She laughs, shaking her head.

“Wow, you are blunt, aren’t you? But as a matter of fact, I do believe in that. I do want to end world poverty, and not because I’m supposed to have that goal, but because I want to have that goal.”

Then she goes on a passionate rant about the impact of poverty on third world countries, and I find myself listening to every word carefully.

She wasn’t trying to be the selfless person other people pretended to be, she was that selfless person.

“What about you Jeremy? What is your major?”

I explain to her that I took Physics, but I’ve always wanted to do Political Science and become a lawyer.

“Then why didn’t you?”

“Because I didn’t think I had the qualities needed to be a lawyer.”

“Why is that?”

“I can’t lie. I can’t protect a person who is wrong in the first place. I would just blab the truth all over the place. Then what’s the point?”

She opens her mouth, but I beat her to it.

“You’re going to suggest becoming a prosecutor. Believe me, I’ve considered it. But I’m always going to regret it because my heart has always been set on being a lawyer.”

She nods her head, understanding.

“You’re an honest guy, aren’t you?” she says, laughing.

“I have to be.”

“What is that supposed to –”

“I’ll see you later then Elara,” I say, cutting her off when I reach my room.

She looks confused but waves at me.

I can’t possibly tell her.

She would never look at me the same again.

I need at least one person in my life who doesn’t judge me because of my parents and my background.

At least one person who sees only me, without seeing the dead mother and abusive father too.

******

We start hanging out more often, and Elara becomes my only friend, which I’m quite happy with.

Without even realizing, a year passes, and that day comes again.

The day I’ve dreaded ever since I met Elara.

My mother’s death anniversary.

I barely eat at lunch, and whatever I do eat, I throw up.

Elara looks concerned as I run upstairs, but I’m glad she doesn’t stop me because if she had, I would have had to tell her the truth.

I go to my room and lock the door.

Drawing the curtains shut, I sit in the corner of the room as I always do, even though this room is comparatively smaller than my bedroom at home, and I take out the creased photograph.

My mother smiling, me in her arms, a baby.

I let my tears fall on it, and cry like I always do.

I tell her how much I miss her, and I hope she can hear me.

I wonder how long it’s going to take for me to ‘move on’.

How people just forget and continue with their lives is beyond me.

I can’t possibly do that.

As I sit there, I hear a knock on the door.

I wipe off my tears and get up.

Unlocking the door, I open it and hug Elara before she can say anything at all.

Hugging me back, she strokes my back, whispering words of comfort.

Sitting there on the floor of my small dorm room, I tell her everything.

From my father hitting my mother to her death and my promise to her.

I know that it is dangerous to tell her.

I know that I could potentially lose the only friend I’ve ever had.

But for once, I don’t care.

For once, being honest is what I would have chosen, even if I hadn’t made that promise to my mother.

Elara’s eyes shine with tears after I finish.

But she doesn’t say that she’s sorry for me.

She just hugs me again.

As we hug in the dark room, I know that the truth will now be easier.

Because I have someone who doesn’t want a highly modified censored version of it.

Someone who wants the truth and accepts it without any judgement.

And honestly, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

*****

January 13, 2021 07:43

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44 comments

I liked this story again, so hope you got the notification!! Great job with this story. Such a unique and a very nice one. I really enjoyed this story. Lovely job! :)

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Writer Maniac
16:42 Jan 14, 2021

Yeah, I got the notification now. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

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Your welcome! :)

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Grace Larson
17:24 Jan 17, 2021

Loved this story! Intensely beautiful take on the prompt - loved how Jeremy's resolution to always tell the truth resonated right through to the very end:)

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Writer Maniac
17:31 Jan 17, 2021

Thank you so much for the sweet comment, I really appreciate it! I would love some feedback on two of my stories 'Game Over' and 'Not Worth It' if you haven't read them yet :)

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13:09 Jan 15, 2021

I honestly love this prompt and basically every story of it, but you really took a dramatic turn on it, huh? Powerful, yet unique.

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Writer Maniac
13:30 Jan 15, 2021

Thank you so much for the comment, I really appreciate it! Yes, well I love drama :D Thanks again!

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Radhika Diksha
08:22 Jan 15, 2021

I would suggest you read my story. Be mature. And make your own decisions.

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Writer Maniac
08:41 Jan 15, 2021

Sure, I'll check it out when I get the time! What did you think of this story?

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Radhika Diksha
09:29 Jan 15, 2021

Actually, it's not a story. It's very short notice. I would like you to read it soon.

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Writer Maniac
11:33 Jan 15, 2021

Sure, I'll check it out. But actually, I was asking you for feedback on my story :)

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Radhika Diksha
11:35 Jan 15, 2021

I did give you feedback on a story. The adult theme one.

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Writer Maniac
11:41 Jan 15, 2021

Yes, I saw that and commented back. I was talking about this story which we're commenting on right now. Did you read it?

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Amara Tillington
15:04 Jan 14, 2021

This is amazing! You rock!!!!

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Writer Maniac
15:31 Jan 14, 2021

Thank you so much, I appreciate it! I would love some feedback on two stories that I'm really proud of, 'Not Worth It' and 'Game Over' :)

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Amara Tillington
17:13 Jan 14, 2021

Ok!

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Llind Kam
05:52 Jan 21, 2021

I loved your take on the prompt. The ideas that came to my mind involved magic or paranormal intervention. I could never imagine that someone would chose not to lie ever, because the wanted to. That's were the enormous will of Jeremy comes in. He was ready to marginalize everyone to hold on to something he believes in. That is rare and precious. You have constructed a wholesome character through Jeremy. Kudos to you!

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Writer Maniac
05:55 Jan 21, 2021

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! I'm glad that he made sense, and was human to you :) I would love some feedback on two of the stories I'm really proud of, 'Not Worth It' and 'Game Over' :)

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Llind Kam
06:35 Jan 21, 2021

I will check those out too.

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Writer Maniac
06:41 Jan 21, 2021

Thanks :)

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Jexica Marcell
18:33 Jan 14, 2021

This was sad. In a good way! Very unique! -Cass

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Writer Maniac
02:11 Jan 15, 2021

Thank you, I appreciate it!

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Really great story! I could nearly see myself in there. It was well thought out and put together. Great job!

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Writer Maniac
09:42 Jan 14, 2021

Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it! I would love some feedback on two of my stories 'Game Over' and 'Not Worth It' which are the ones I'm really proud of :)

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Writer Maniac
02:14 Jan 20, 2021

I'll check it out when I get the time!

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AWW, this was so sweet! The ending was so sad but also kinda happy... again a wonderful story!

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Writer Maniac
15:19 Jan 16, 2021

I really appreciate it, thank you for all your sweet words!

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Of course!!! BTW, I'm currently working on a novel(just starting) and I def need some major helping hand for it. Can you help me? It'll be a honor!

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Maya W.
17:45 Jan 16, 2021

Hi Varsha! Sorry to barge in out your conversation, but what's your novel about?

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Hi Maya! NP, thx for asking! I'm writing a fantasy! So its still in progress but the basic idea about a girl(Julie) and she goes to live with her dad in Maine chause her new step-dad wanted to relocate to Europe for some job things and she kinda runs away to her real dad. And she hasn't ever seen him but they become like really close and when her mom calls her to come back she decides to stay with her dad. Ok, so how is this a fantasy? So there are these wolves(not ordinary wolves, kinda like were wolves but can turn into human at will) and ...

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Maya W.
18:44 Jan 16, 2021

Sounds very complex!

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Writer Maniac
15:34 Jan 16, 2021

That's great to know! I'll try to help you the best I can!

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Thank you so much!

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