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Collection

The Lies We Tell (2)

(1)

At 16, I obviously knew everything.

The lies that I told were usually to intentionally create the kind of Beverly-Hills-90210-Dawson’s-Creek-esque drama that I kept vigil over each school night instead of studying for world history. I became this theatrically foolish teenager as my relationship with my very first long-term boyfriend, Brad, progressed.

Lucky him.

Thankfully this phase only lasted about a year, but there were plenty of characters whom I involved in my web during that time. Good people. Innocent people. When I think of my behavior during that time in my life, I get sick to my stomach.

I cheated.

When I tried to lie my way out of it, a web of deceit began to grow. Before I knew it this web had entangled me, got twisted in my hair, and caught in my mouth.

spider web

It tasted like tinfoil, and the flavor was that of treachery. When I allow the synapse of my brain to meander through these recollections from my teenage years, I taste the cold aluminum and feel as though I’m being zapped in a shamefully purgatory-like episode.

Unfortunately, the web ensnared others as well, Brad of course being a large fraction.

Normalcy came with time, with realization of my own worth, with amazing friends, with supportive family.

I can only speak from my perspective, because I never asked, but it seemed that everyone was okay. Quite a bit more okay than me, but I’ll never know for sure. Because I never asked.

In his yearbook just before graduation, I quoted Janice Joplin:

“I’d trade all of my tomorrows/ For one single yesterday…”

When Brad read it, he looked at me quizzically, like a sudden deformity had developed on my head. “Why? That doesn’t make any sense.” Then he closed the book and walked away.

His reaction was well deserved.

Collection

The visual is clear when I close my eyes: the blue canister that had once been used for coffee grounds, but was now the perfect vessel for my collection.

I had scrubbed the inside of it with fervor, using the Ajax that was “hidden” under the sink. My mom would’ve had my head if she’d known that I was sifting through the chemicals and cleaners there, but my pig-headed passion for getting the can clean drove me to renounce the guidelines set to keep me out of harms way. I had all at once felt rebellious and obsessed with the notion of making it spotless on the inside.

The canister still reeked of the bitter scent of coffee, though, and it burned in my 8-year-old nostrils.

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