your hand caresses
the bruises you left on me
hurt less than smooth lies
Prompt words: smooth & hand
His voice dripped with the sexiness of rodeo cowboy. His words would have fit into a romance novel. His past displayed actions of an American hero in uniform. This could have been a great modern-day romance…except for one factor-he was a liar.
It all started out honest though, but doesn’t it always?
Trace messaged Julie through Facebook about her post on their mutual friend, Rick. They shared some stories. Julie had dated Rick in high school. Trace had spent a year in Iraq with him when they were both Airborne Soldiers. Julie was a Soldier too so that lead to conversations about war and the effects of it when you return home. The occasional emails turned into occasional calls and it all blossomed from there.
“When I first got home, it used to drive me nuts to hear people complain about the stupidest things,” said Julie. “It’s like they don’t realize how lucky they are! It took all I had to not scream, ‘How do you function in life if THIS is a tragedy!?’”
“I know what you mean. I went through the same thing,” said Trace with a laugh that was draped in silk. “They just have no clue.”
The now-daily chats connected them on a new level. It was no longer about their friend Rick. It was no longer about war. It was basic simple life in this day and age-a man and woman courting from afar. It crossed Julie’s mind that she may be falling for someone she met online. But this was different. He was a friend of a friend. He wasn’t a complete stranger. And he was different; he was a fellow Soldier. To be safe though, Julie did her homework. She checked out his social media sites for history. They shared a few pictures. She asked the right questions.
He was separated from his wife, and living in another house. While on the phone with him, she heard him speak to his daughter. They spoke at different times each day. He always answered her calls. This all made sense and supported his story. Julie herself had been separated for a while before her divorce so it all seemed normal. So they continued to flirt and talk about a potential visit.
“If you came here, I would show you a real rodeo and take you out to the Saloon. They have the best bands. We could dance all night,” promised Trace.
He could have told her he wanted to sit on the couch and eat popcorn for all she cared. With his voice, he could make anything sound sexy.
“Well, if you came here, we could go hiking in this local canyon. It is so peaceful. Then we could go downtown to eat at Roman’s. They have the BEST food and on the weekends they have music. Sometimes it’s jazz. Other nights, rock. It just depends on the week. I think you would love it,” said Julie.
Like two teenagers, they spoke for hours. They just clicked in so many ways. So as the weeks turned into months, the excitement about meeting was palpable. They both couldn’t wait.
Then, Julie got a call that stopped her in her tracks.
Trace’s wife informed Julie she was a fool. There was no separation, no other house, and in simple terms, there was no pending divorce.
“I am so so sorry,” exclaimed a mortified Julie. “I never would have spoken to him had I thought his story was a lie. Oh my. I feel sick. Oh God. I am sorry.” Click was the wife’s response.
Almost immediately, Trace called trying to make it better, but he couldn’t change the facts.
“I wanted to tell you. I never intending this to happen. We just started talking and you turned out to be so wonderful. I couldn’t stop talking to you. I just fell for you…”whispered the liar in that seductive voice.
“It doesn’t matter Trace. You lied. How could you lie to me? I thought we were friends first!”
Julie hung up the phone when Trace started talking again. “Go tell your wife Trace.”
‘I guess all those stories about meeting people online applies to friends of friends too,’ thought Julie as she threw herself on her bed in tears. ‘Thank God I never met him in person!’
Everyone lies. Everyone. If you say you don’t, than you are already lying. So just stop denying it. You are a liar like the rest of us. The question is though, what is your intention when you lie, and how often do you do it? To me, intention and frequency separates the lowlife liars from the normal honorable people.
We learn how to lie from our parents. From birth, they deceive us. They fill our minds with the magic of Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Oh, and don’t forget that you were a precious gift from the Stork who delivers babies too. (If I just ruined some magic for you or made you realize that your parents did indeed have sex to conceive you…I am so sorry, but the truth eventually always comes out.)
As we grow up, our parents tell us we are capable of doing anything we want. When in reality, we do not have the physical height for that basketball career we dream of. They promise us that those spankings and shots will hurt them more than it hurts us. Yet, no hands or needles touched them over the years. They look us straight in the face and claim they cannot find that the amazing movie we like to watch 18 times before lunch is missing and that they have no idea where it could be. Suspiciously, later, we find that movie behind the couch in the pages of their magazine, and they were not nearly as excited at the discovery as we were. They tell us if we touch our privates too much, they will fall off. If that were true, just imagine how many self-made eunuchs there would have been in high school after puberty!
I could go on, but you get the point. As parents, we lie to protect our kids, give them confidence and frankly, to keep ourselves sane because if we watch that Barney episode one more time, we just may lose our ever-loving minds. I get that and can respect it.
I can even appreciate the lies we tell to other adults at times. Again, these are lies with good intention though. For example, you lied to your girlfriend/wife and told her that her meatloaf was great. But, you really thought it was equivalent to what shoe leather may taste like. You agree with an acquaintance who claims their baby is the most beautiful child. However, when you look at the unfortunate lad, you wonder if you have ever seen an ugly baby and then you realize, you just did. You concoct some story about traffic to explain your tardiness to a party when really, your spouse was having a wardrobe malfunction of epic proportions and you had the forethought to not mention the truth as it might be embarrassing to your spouse…and maybe not so good for your health. To me, these are all acceptable forms of lies. That is hard for me to accept at first though since I loath lies. However, these lies help others, and that is noble and a form of storytelling, according to Daniel Wallace (The Kings and Queens of Roam). “A storyteller makes up things to help other people; a liar makes up things to help himself.”
The latter is the type of liar I cannot stand. Their intention is what makes them ugly. They lie to cheat the system, to cover up their tainted tracks or to claim unearned accolades. Their deceit builds upon itself and eventually, some even start to believe their own fantasies. I’ve known several liars in my life. From childhood to work to loved ones, I have witnessed some tales in my time. I have heard people lie about major illnesses to get sympathy or get out of a physical task. Others have spent more time lying about work they claimed to have finish, when it would have taken less time to just do the work. Others have fashioned audacious legends about their accomplishments to appear more grand and important. Sadly, who and what they were then, was impressive enough. I’ve heard of countless stories where spouses, both men and women, have woven such intricate fables to cover up their unfaithfulness. Isn’t one relationship time consuming enough people?
All of these types of lies come with a price. It seems, at least from my experiences in life, that the truth is a critical factor in the stability and longevity of relationships, businesses, and what not. “Things come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies,” said Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina).
Just think about scandals in the world and relationships. Generally, the scandalous part is because some truth has been revealed. Now, I am not saying I have never lied. Of course I have. I am human. However, I try to be an honest, good person for the most part. But frankly, another reason I avoid lying is that I just don’t have the energy to do it. When I consider these scandals, I think of how exhausting it must have been to hide so many things. One lie seems to require another and another. Eventually, there is a web of things to remember. Hell, I cannot even remember my own birthday or what I walked into a room for sometimes. How in the heck will I remember 26 interconnected lies? I don’t think I could. Therefore, I just tell the truth. It is easier. Call me honest by default of laziness, but this is not a unique belief. Even Abraham Lincoln thought it was strenuous to lie. “No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.” Too bad Lincoln’s belief seems to have escaped politics these days…
Other than requiring so much energy and memory though, lies seem to ruin trust and intimacy in a relationship as well. “Over time, any deception destroys intimacy, and without intimacy couples cannot have true and lasting love,” said Bonnie Eaker Weil (Financial Infidelity: Seven Steps to Conquering the #1 Relationship Wrecker). And doesn’t everyone ultimately want love? So why would we go out of our way and spend energy on ruining it?
The only excuses I can think of are: one, the liar is not happy with themselves and therefore, they lie to make themselves feel good; two, the liar is addicted to the challenge and excitement of lying; and three, they may actually believe their own lies. Regardless, when you realize someone has lied to you, it diminishes the trust you had for them, which according to Victoria Schwab (The Unbound) is difficult to regain. “Da used to say that lies were easy, but trust was hard. Trust is like faith: it can turn people into believers, but every time it’s lost, trust becomes harder and harder to win back.”
To me, relationships, both work related or intimate, are like bank accounts. When you have good encounters and experiences with people, you build a positive account. (I think this belief came from Stephen Covey book somewhere.) When you have negative events with them, you withdraw from the balance. So like in basic math, when you have more withdrawals than deposits, your account will become negative. Think about that coworker, friend or romantic partner who last lied to you. How did it affect your relationship with them? Friedrich Nietzsche summed up the after effects of lies very well. “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
And there is the rub. The more people lie to us, the less likely we are to believe them. Let’s just hope those known liars don’t tell you how good you look today or that you have a pretty baby.
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