Scintilla Day #2: What is the biggest lie you’ve ever told? Why? Would you tell the truth if you could?
I’m a bad liar. Maybe it’s because I never had to lie to my parents when a well-supported argument would suffice, or perhaps that I’m a Reared-In-New-York Italian girl with the patience and emotional sensitivity of an arthritic tiger. Either way you cut it, I will just about never choose a lie when the truth will do. Seriously, there is a long list of people in my world whose lives would be much more comfortable if I were a little less honest. If I had bad gas, I couldn’t clear a room faster.
As such, I had to really wrack my brain for a story to tell you that would live up to what your expectation might be. In the end, I recalled a lie I told in a situation that involves really one of the most despicable things I’ve ever done….
Somewhere, sometime between my high school and college graduations, I was concerned for a minute about the growing number of my sexual partners. (In those days, I was nowhere close to promiscuous, but neither was I Mother Angelica of the Nunnery Chastendom.) At VERY SAME MOMENT I was JUST AS CONCERNED with a dry spell that had befallen me. I mean, MONTHS of NO ASS.
Sitting around a kitchen table in a decrepit, sloped apartment, I shared my predicament with my best girlfriends and a jug of Carlo Rossi Chablis. I wanted the nookie, but I didn’t want to PAY for it. There were four of us there, chain-smoking cloves and Parliaments, each of us of varying experience, discussing my options. The way we saw it, I had one of two choices:
- I could just find someone at the bar or an after hours party and to hell with my dwindling maidenhead, or
- I could roll back over onto the wet spot of the Territory Ex, satisfying both my need for a non-auto orgasm and the desire to keep The Counter stationary at its current number.
It didn’t take much consideration to decide on Door Number Two. The bar was an unsure bet. Sure you can guess, but can you really gauge penis size and prowess in a crowd of Jaeger drinking fraternity boys and nappy hippies? Table consensus said “No” so we began taking roll of Those That Had Known me. Of the culprits, and for one very good reason or another, there was only one clear option. (wink wink, nudge nudge). The trouble was, he was crazy. Like, Glenn Close, I Want To Have All Your Babies And Love You For Ever And Ever Please Don’t Leave Me Or I’ll Kill Myself CRAZY.
Good thing I was only 21 and Judgement ranked second after Hormones.
I might have called him right then. The conversation was a little awkward….”Um sorry that I just stopped returning your calls last semester and crossed the street that one time when I saw you coming, but how about we go grab a beer and chat?” And it was that easy. I let him pick me up and we went out to dinner and I am pretty sure I actually apologized for disappearing off the face of the earth after he had so earnestly (crazily) told me that even though we’d only known each other for a month, he could see us old together (Yes! See?? You were right to groan right there! Who says that?!). During dinner, I played the demure and contrite femme. I smiled and frowned and shook my head at my own antics and I began to hint-without actually saying the words-that I might be interested in “getting back together.”
I know! I know! “Stop!” you’re shouting. “Don’t do it!” But I did do it, and it remains one of the most wretched things I’ve ever done. At the end of the meal, a broad smile on his face, he took my hand and got very serious: “I want you so bad, but I don’t want you to hurt me again….” You could have heard a pin drop in the silence. That was my moment to come clean. To admit that what I wanted took a little less time than forever. But I didn’t. Instead, I stared back and said: “I won’t.”
And boy, were my pants on motherfucking fire.
It took very little time to get back to my dorm room, and even less time to realize I’d made a terrible mistake. Our existence as a ‘couple’ was now split in two very distinct halves: Pre-Dinner and Post-Dinner.
Pre-dinner, our relationship had maintained a casual appearance, a flip feeling that I’d worked hard to keep. We fucked. And that was hot.
Post-Dinner, our relationship had developed a mysterious one-sided intimacy that I wanted no part of. We ‘made love’. And that was NOT hot.
When it was over, I made up a paper I had to type, got him the hell out of there, and high-tailed it back over to my girlfriend’s house to finish the jug of Carlo and recount my amorous adventure.
And I never talked to him again.
I ignored his calls and crossed the street. In fact, I all but forgot about him until the weekend I was moving home after graduation. On my last night in town, I saw him walking past the window of my bar, and I ran out to say hello. Years distance had done nothing to fade the damage I’d done. He looked at me for a moment, and then laughed in my face before walking on with his friends, having said not a single word.