Hey guys, I hope your 2018 isn’t too terrible.
Last year (it seems like a long time ago, saying that, but in fact, it was just 8 days ago), Olivia posted this tag, of sorts, over on her blog. I thought it was such a cool idea that I asked her if I could write up my own.
She said, yes please do.
you all go follow Olivia, okay?
she’s a stellar person.
Here’s how it works: I’ve written three sketches of short fiction below. Your job is to guess which one you think is the lie. Write your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to head over to Olivia’s blog to read her sketches. So. Here goes…
two truths + a lie
– the tenses and POV’s are for stylistic reasons, and are not indicators of truth or lie.
We had a man live near us once; he looked like Santa Claus. When we told him so, he laughed and told us we were the only ones to notice. We asked him if he was joking because what kid sees a white beard and doesn’t think of Santa Claus? He laughed again and told us how much money he could make if he agreed to play Santa Claus for every person who had asked him.
“I turned them all down,” he said.
We were young, but we understood. Santa Claus was a figment of parents’s imaginations, a bribing tool that only worked until you entered sixth grade (or grew old enough to know better).
The Santa Claus man didn’t stay, but we always remembered him. We never asked if we could write him lists. He never hung lights on his house, or wore a red shirt. He never snuck off to the North Pole as if it wasn’t cold enough here already. Later, we moved on, but maybe, maybe one day we can tell our kids we actually met Santa Claus.
But that’s only if we want to be delusional.
Mom piles us all in the car and we set off down the road. We take the same route – a couple of minor roads, the freeway, and then a long stretch of highway – that we do every time we pick up dad from the base. He has just gotten back from nine months over in the “hell hole” (that’s what he calls it when Little Sister isn’t around to hear). Mom always gives dad “the look” when he says it, but she knows that “hell hole” does a better job than “Afghanistan” does.
I always get this weird knot in my stomach every time we go to pick up dad. I wonder if I’ll see tears in his eyes when he tells me I look so grown up. I wonder about his eyes, period. You can tell all sorts of things about a person from their eyes. I wonder if his eyes will tell me that he lost a buddy, or that he saw a little girl die. I so badly don’t want his eyes to tell me that he’s tired and sick of everything.
When we walk into that room, I try not to think about the families that aren’t here because there is no one to be here for. It’s a little hard to see him in the mass of people and uniforms, but he finds us right away. He hugs and kisses mom, and swings up Little Sister in his arms. There are tears in his eyes, but I don’t dwell on what they mean. I hug him, and it’s quiet in our little bubble of homecoming.
Some girls talk about how much they hate their brothers. I shake my head. I don’t think they know what it’s like to have a brother who not only makes you angry, but also gives you a hug the next morning regardless. I think they might not know what it’s like to hear him say, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. But I don’t worry about it either.” I think they might not know what it’s like to share with him the same taste in music and books. Maybe they don’t know what it’s like to miss him when he moves out of your room and into his. Not that you aren’t glad to have your own space, but you miss talking with him long after the lights go out. Asking his opinion, “does this look stupid?” Getting an honest answer, “yeah, it looks really stupid.” Having a brother who “gets it” whenever you start ranting about poor storytelling in films.
Those girls don’t know what it’s like.