One of the Worst Lies I Ever Told

I was trying to get the attention of a guy named Buddy when I was a sophomore in high school.  When I had him alone in the back yard of Dave P.’s house (there was a party and Dave’s parents were out of town), I told Buddy that I had recently been diagnosed with a heart condition and was going to die within a year. 

Much to my surprise, this did not create the instant and irresistible attraction I had hoped for.  Perhaps he thought I wasn’t a good investment of his time. 

Your turn!

57 responses to “One of the Worst Lies I Ever Told

  1. How about stealing and THEN lying about it?

    Drunk and silly at a party my freshman year in college, I went into the room of one of the homeowners and a took a Grateful Dead poster off the back of his bedroom door. I originally nabbed the poster as a joke, but the guy I stole it from didn’t see the humor at all. It turned out the poster was an expensive collectible. The next time I saw him he asked if I took it, so I lied and said it wasn’t me.

    A few days later, in the dark of night, my roommate and I went back to the house and left the poster by his front door. Somehow, I don’t think the guy was fooled. I am pretty sure he knew it was me.

  2. In college there was a girl I wanted to date, a friend of a friend’s friend. We were at the same table at a local pub and we started telling things about ourselves. When it came my turn, all I could think of was that I was once engaged but she died. That was all I said, no story of what happened or how long ago it was, just that she died.

    This girl put her arms around me and gave me a big hug and told me how sorry she was. For the next couple of weeks, I was her project. She cooked for me, helped with my homework and tried to keep me from getting too depressed. It was a dream. Then it happened….

    She couldn’t handle it any longer so she asked me about my fiancee’. We were sitting on the couch in her living room and I started the story which was based on a joke I had heard once.

    “We were at a party, like the one we met at. She really got drunk and then wanted to go home. We walked out and I grabbed her keys and told her I was driving. She proceeded to hit me and cuss me out until I finally gave her keys back.”

    She fell for it hook, line and sinker, “Oh no, did she have a bad wreck?”

    “No,” I said, “I shot her.” I proceeded to start laughing and she threw her wine in my face. Needless to say, that relationship didn’t go to far.

  3. The summer I was 18, I worked in the kitchen of a sports camp in a small town. I got to know a few of the local kids and hung out with them on weekends. One Saturday night, we got invited to a party. There must have been 30 kids at this house (of course the parents were out of town). I wasn’t much of a drinker, but I did have one beer. About 9PM there were shouts, and kids started bailing out of the house, including the kids I came with. Apparently a neighbor called the police, and they came to check it out. I didn’t know what was going on, and by the time I did, it was too late to do anything about it. I was the only girl in the house along with several guys over 21. I sat down on the couch, thinking I was toast, and trying to figure out what I would say to my Dad when he was called to pick me up. One of the guys noticed me there, sat down beside me, put his arm around me, and said “Don’t say anything.” The policeman came in and talked to several of the guys, then walked over to us and asked if I was 21. “Yessir”, I replied. The fellow with his arm around me said, “She’s with me.” The policeman looked me straight in the eye for a few seconds, then at the guy, and finally said, “Okay, you’ll take her home, right?” I knew he knew I was not 21, but I think he felt sorry for me. I’m glad I stayed in place, because most of the kids that did run ended up getting scraped up by the barbed-wire fence around the house. You knew who was at the party for the next week just by looking at them

  4. I told ya’! Ann was aghast at the mess we’d made of the last prompt and wanted to end the silliness ASAP.

  5. ONE of the worst lies you ever told, Ann? You mean there were more? And are we talking here only about your ‘worst’ lies, with an implication that there were others not as bad? Wow, that’s real frankness and honesty.

  6. During forty years in the advertising industry, I was responsible for far too many lies (and of course, sins of omission such as “Sure, this stuff will clean your carpets but it’ll probably also kill Fido.”), but the worst lie I ever told was to myself: that it was okay to lie and spin and hype because that was how the economy worked and besides, I was only doing it for the bucks – not because I wasn’t basically an honest person.

    So here’s my question: What are the worst lies? Those that deceive loved ones? My kind of professional lies? The “white” ones we use to get out of unwelcome social invitations or situations? The facades we adopt to protect or prop up our egos? Or, as has just happened in an interaction I’ve had with a much-loved long-time friend, my dishonesty in going along with what I knew to be a lie on her part because I didn’t want to risk hurting her feelings and/or compromising our relationship (which now lacks the honesty I once valued in it)?

    • The worst lie, a good question. I think it come down to the heart of the liar. Did you lie to hurt someone or to protect someone? Did you lie for personal gain, which is the root of most lies, some type of gain, big or small. Lying for your company ventures into ethics which is a subject unto itself. So my answer is this, a lie, big or small, is bad. One isn’t any worst than the other. A lie is a lie, a truth is a truth. I think I just confused myself.

  7. Fignatz, you got me thinking about this….. Here’s my answer, which I also posted on my blog: http://nancy.edcentric.org/blog

    A better question for me today — and the one I’m gonna answer — is: What is one of the worst lies you were ready and willing to tell?

    So here it is. I signed up for National Novel Writing Month last year and the goal of writing at least 50,000 words of somewhat connected discourse/narrative during November. Now, I have always written a lot – meaning I’ve spent a lot of time writing, not that I’ve produced a lot of writing. I’m generally a slow writer, and 50,000 words in a month felt like an insurmountable goal.

    Still, I told people I cared about that I was doing this, and I didn’t want them to think less of me if and when I couldn’t reach this goal (I know, I know — your friends don’t really care and will love you regardless of your NaNo word count).

    SO: My big lie is that when I signed up for NaNo I decided that if I had written fewer than 50,000 words in my NaNo novel by November 30, I would dig into my huge storehouse of Abandoned Drafts and pull out enough paragraphs or pages or whatever to tack onto the end of my NaNo novel to cross the 50,000 word finish line. I would be the only one who knew what I’d done.

    Yuck. I wanted to reach some mythical goal enough that I was willing to lie to myself to do it! What an awful self-realization to make. On the other hand, it was also a wonderful self-realization to make. It served as powerful butt glue every day to keep me in the chair and writing so I wouldn’t have to (barf) betray myself.

    As it turned out, my characters — thank you, Libby, Reed, Buddy, Becca and the rest — worked hard enough to keep me writing that I hit 50,000 words well before the end of November. If they hadn’t, I don’t know whether or not I would have ended up lying to myself. But even thinking I could or might is a sobering recognition.

    Self-knowledge is not always easy or comfortable.

  8. The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions…

    Instead of looking at “worst lies” in terms of size, danger, breadth of disparity with reality, success in hoodwinking, or tacit understanding from the hoodwinked, I chose to look at “worst lies” solely in terms of effective delivery.

    Kathanink and parrot writes, your stories are great examples of instances where the hoodwinked suspected you but chose to let it go without revealing the truth of the matter. You each used one of your nine lives! Walk, your story sounds like an episode from a successful TV sitcom—I mean that as a compliment.

    Personally, I am a dismal liar and could never have pulled off anything like your stories. For better or for worse, the timbre of my voice, the pattern of my words, and the involuntary twitches of my facial muscles work in concert to betray me out when I am not telling the truth.

    Even more frustrating is that my worst lies have been those born out of efforts to keep from hurting others’ feelings. You would think that such good intentions would help modulate the timber, regulate the pattern, and calm the twitches—but no. An example that still unfolds vividly in my memory is one time when I tried to spare my roommate’s feelings.

    We were studying abroad in Europe, so every outing was a new adventure. Nancy was my roommate, and Charlotte was one of our classmates. While Nancy and I got along well and were friends, Charlotte and I shared more interests, had similar class schedules, and, therefore, ended up running around together a lot.

    A very dark, cold, rainy Sunday afternoon, Charlotte called to ask me to meet her at a famous café where I had always wanted to go. She knew Nancy was my roommate but did not invite her to join us. The adult options would have been to suggest Nancy join us or to say to Nancy, “Charlotte and I are going to for a drink at Café Wow, and I should be back in time to help make dinner.”

    But no, I was worried that Nancy’s feelings would be hurt by not being included, so I stammered something like, “Oh, uh, I am going to…er…uh…go by school to pick up some…uh…stuff, and I will be back…mmmm…later.”

    Nancy, a savvy, no-nonsense gal cocked her head to one side, wrinkled her brow, and replied, “Okay…” As her quizzical tone trailed off, I could see her mind wondering, “Well, that is really weird. What’s up with her?”

    The cold, rainy weather delayed everything: Busses ran more slowly; the waiting-to-be-seated line at the café was long; and service was harried due to the crowds. When all was said and done, Charlotte and I were out for a very long time.

    Upon arriving home—much, much later than anticipated—Nancy looked at me suspicously. She had known something was fishy from the very beginning.

    The burden of dissimulation cracked me, and I confessed all. She was irritated and frustrated. None of the day’s antics mattered to Nancy—the café, the fact Charlotte did not invite her, or my being late. What did matter to her was the lack of honesty. Ironically, it was the lack of honesty that hurt her feelings. I apologized sincerely. I was genuinely sorry for having hurt her feelings and for having lied. That cold, rainy Sunday afternoon was quickly forgotten. We continued to be good friends and roommates for the rest of the session, but the lesson has stuck with me.

    Nothing about this lie is remarkable, important, or even entertaining. Still, it was one of my worst (least effective) lies. The silver lining was the lesson. Remembering this story has pulled me back from making many similar mistakes. But alas, a few have, unfortunately, slipped through over the years.

    • Lassie, I hope we meet someday so I’ll be able to tell if you’re telling me the truth. :>) I think we all have lied to a friend like you did sometime or other, and it always made things worst than better. Good story telling,

  9. I lied. I lied again and again and again. And then I lied some more.

    My lies were those of commission and omission. My lies were both selfish and altruistic. Often the lies came easily: I need only say the opposite of what I was thinking. Sometimes, though, I had to pause and invent new ways to lie.

    If lies alone were to determine our state of mind when we die, I most certainly will die an agonizing death, roasted by the facility of my words, gutted by the depth and breadth of my deceitfulness, forever doomed to trudge Dante’s circles of hell. I don’t think it works that way, however, and I don’t envisage such a fate only because of my lies.

    Despite all the lies, my conscience doesn’t keep me awake at night, which might imply I don’t have a conscience, but I know for certain that I do. Just not about the lies. Guilt doesn’t gnaw at my soul, and I can look others straight in the eye and claim I did no wrong when I lied. Other guilt is another matter.

    In the eye. That’s how it all started, when I looked my husband straight in his brown eyes, down deep into those kind eyes that now showed confusion and concern. “What happened?” he asked.

    “You just had a reaction to some medication,” I answered. That part was mostly true. The lies came next: “It’s okay. You’re going to be okay. Don’t worry.” He was not. He most certainly was not. He would never again be “okay.” He was going to get a damn sight worse, and that was only the beginning.

    Three years later, three years of ever-increasing lies later, his eyes were shallow and opaque. When I looked into them to lie, the deceitful words ricocheted back at me. His essence, the things that made him a man I loved, were gone, replaced by the demons of Alzheimer’s disease. I stopped looking into his eyes, hoping to avoid the boomerangs of self-serving but altruistic lies.

    “It’s all right. There’s nothing there,” I said when his hallucinations had the television heads speaking to him, or moose on the front deck, or a crew of men waiting for their boss—him—in thirty below weather.

    “It’s okay. Teddy’s okay. See? That’s him right there.” His ravaged brain knew otherwise. He’d heard the screams during the night, and no words, true or false, would convince him that his temporary hospital roommate had not died during the night. He would hear the screams until his brain no longer recognized or translated sound.

    “We’re fine. Really. We don’t owe any money. Everything is fine.” That one was mostly true. Except the unspoken part—how I going to pay for his care and keep him in Alaska where I could visit him.

    On and on and on the lies dripped in, as easily as saline solution through a venipuncture tube. They served double-duty, meant to calm and reassure a man who literally was losing “it,” that “it” that made him “him.” and to make things a bit easier on me.

    The lies of omission came naturally, though some subterfuge was required. I only had to keep my mouth shut. I began to withhold more and more information. I would not tell him that he had an appointment with the neurologist the next day as his anxiety at leaving safe confines would keep both of us awake all night. I would not tell him the true state of his condition; he could not grasp the concept anyway. I did not tell him that I was taking him to Arizona where he would be placed in an assisted living home near his grown children. By this time, he no longer knew my name or who I was, though we had lived together thirty years. He didn’t recognize his home.

    And then I told the biggest lie of all: “I love you.”

    How could I? This wasn’t the man I fell in love with, the man I married. I didn’t know this stranger. The love had long since morphed into obligation and duty, and for that failing, that dereliction of vows, I might need to atone.

    • And there, Gully, is the real problem: the often pathetic inadequacy of our language. How do we define a ‘lie’? By its lack of veracity or the user’s intent? Seems to me you weren’t ‘lying’ in the negative sense we usually use the word. What you were doing, including the “I love you”, was something else (entirely positive) that we lack a special word for. No atonement required.

      • Thanks, Fignatz. Yes, my lies were for the better of all concerned. While there is some residual guilt about his illness and care (as well as the loss of love), in that I think a person will always feel, in retrospect, that there could have been more insight, more patience, more endurance, I feel none about the lies. They were meant to calm a distressed man who no longer could control himself or his environment, and to make my journey with him less stressful, if such a thing could be possible, which I doubt.

        What I wrote was an experiment. My muse, the vessel that safeguards my words, has been missing for several weeks. I found some of those words only yesterday, so I have been using them to see if they are all safely home or still flitting about wherever they were. I think they were in hiding after reading The Book Thief. Thus, this being a site where would-be writers can practice and play, I wrote “Lies.” And I think our former mentor Ann would appreciate the “practice” more than the “play.”

        By the way, what the heck are you doing up in the middle of the night? By my reckoning, not only are you in tomorrow (the 14th), but it’s the middle of your night.

      • I can’t work that stuff out either. I posted the above at about 08:30 on Wednesday 13th (it’s now 11am). But hey, I’ve always been ahead of my time.

    • I commented to this work of yours on your blog. Please look there for my response.

    • I agree with fignatz, no atonement needed. I can’t imagine what you must have felt like during this time. Think about this, how many times were you lied to during this time? “Oh, it won’t be that bad.”, “Sure, I’ll come to help someday.”, and other words said to help them feel better, not necessarily to help you.

  10. I’m ahead of my time also. I thought my today was the 13th, and it’s only the 12th. 😮

  11. Gullible -Your writings are a glimpse into the not too distant future with my mom. Already, I understand completely the whys and lies that you speak of. I wish there was a word for this compassion that comes naturally in these situations. I think its pulled out of us when we see the confusion in their eyes – they know something is not right, but are unable to control, understand, or change it. My hat goes off to you for your wonderful commitment to your husband.

  12. My best wishes, parrot writes, for both you and your mother.

  13. I always liked the line Jack Nicholson uttered to Diane Keaton in the movie, Something’s Gotta Give. “I’ve always told you some version of the truth,” he said. I think it’s my favorite of all time. Like light bouncing off a prism, truth can be seen from many different angles.

    In 1982, P.C.’s were in their infancy. I’d been employed by a group of physicians who’d purchased one to run their payroll program, among others. I was the only one in the office game enough to shut myself up with the manual and the strange little box for a long weekend to figure out how to run it, so I got the job. Newly divorced, I needed to begin earning more money and find a job that had both medical and retirement benefits as well as a chance for promotion. I volunteered to learn that program because I knew it might help me get my next job.

    I landed an interview at Kraft, Inc. about three months later. I really wanted to work there. The head of the Personnel Department (before they changed the name to the more ‘meat market’ sounding Human Resources) asked me whether I knew how to use a computer. Of course I knew she wasn’t referring to a P.C., but I answered that yes, I did know how to use a computer. It was indeed a version of the truth. I knew I’d get through that situation the same way I’d gotten through one at a temp job several years earlier when I told the agency that certainly, I knew how to use a dictation transcription machine. I sat down at my desk on the first day and scrutinized the little black box. A sweet girl walking by stopped and introduced herself.

    “Bet you’ve never seen one like this,” she said proudly. “No one has. They’re brand new, state of the art.”

    I agreed I’d never seen one like it, which was the honest truth. She proceeded to sit down and give me a ten minute lesson and I was in!

    At Kraft, I handled things similarly. I figured that big or small, computers had to be somewhat the same, and I was correct. When I was hired, I saw right away that they didn’t expect me to know how to run their custom programs, so of course I received individual training. Once again, my version of the truth was enough to get my foot in the door. Whew!

    So, did I tell a lie? I’d have to say yes, but not really.

  14. The worst lie I’ve ever told was to me. I told myself ‘these things happen’ and ‘I wouldn’t get too involved’. In perpetuating this lie, I’ve also lied to everyone person I know. I’ve lied at work, I’ve lied to my family, and I’ve lied to my friends. A lie of omission is still a lie I’ve found.

    It started innocently enough a new job, new co-workers. About eight months into the job, the married coworker I especially got along with made a joke about ‘what if’. It shocked me, scared me, and thrilled me all at the same time. I had no idea that I was ever a thought in his mind aside from being coworkers. Sure, we talked, joked around, and had tons in common, but there had never been any sort of flirtation. I firmly rebuffed the advance.

    We both tried to limit contact after that, first him and then me. Unfortunately, our jobs had overlap and we were required to interact. Within six months, we were back to talking regularly and having lunches. It was comforting and familiar.

    Life had changed a little in those months. I was single while several states away my best friends were getting married and having babies. I had been living in my new city for several years yet still had not made any close friends. I was feeling lost, lonely, and isolated. Again, the joke came up ‘what if’. This time I didn’t rebuff.

    I plunged headfirst down the rabbit hole, but didn’t find a Wonderland. Instead, I turned into a person I didn’t recognize. My honeyed tongue dripped lies with an ease that surprised and disgusted me; reasons to work from home or leave work early, reasons why I had to cancel appointments or change plans. With each lie, my soul turned a little blacker and I died a little more inside.

    My coworker ended up losing his job due not to our transgressions, we were extra careful in the workplace, but to the fallout of ever-increasing turmoil of the financial times. Yet even this did not stop the avalanche, the next four months I encouraged, cajoled and continued to lie though with less frequency.

    By now, a year of secret living had taken its toll. I was moody, needy, and frightened all the time. I had gone into this with no expectations and no promises. I gave so much and got so little in return. Then came the day where I physically and mentally could do it no more, a maelstrom of emotion finally bubbled its way to the surface and I just stopped. It was like hitting a brick wall face first.

    After that day, it was over for me and I broke all contact. I haven’t spoken to him in six months no goodbye, no fare-thee-well, and no explanations. He continues to reach out questioningly on occassion, but I am different now. I have found my voice again and through writing, I have found myself again. I don’t know if I can ever truly forgive myself for what I’ve done, but day by day the pain in my eyes lessens and I grow stronger with every word I write.

    • I hope you’ll give yourself a chance, Meisha. We all have to live with the memories of our mistakes. It’s all about learning to avoid the same pitfalls in the future. Just keep moving forward. Sounds like you’re on the right track.

    • Breathe deeply and savor the peace of mind that will come as you write away the mistakes and errors of being human.

      I’ve been there and done that. It’s hellish. I’m so glad you’re reaping the benefits of doing the right thing.

    • Meisha,
      You have written this tale of soul-searching well, and in doing so, hopefully expunged some of its toll on you. I remember you from BWW class (I’m Linda) and am glad you are still on this journey of writing self-discovery.

      • Since this is occasionally a blog about writing, here’s a comment in the form of a couple of related grabs from my eminently unpublishable novel:

        Roger frowned. ‘Thanks, but I think we both know I blew that – in spades.’

        David shrugged encouragingly. ‘That was then. Things change.’

        ‘That’s the trouble,’ Roger said. ‘Things changed. And as Omar says in the classics – once the moving finger’s stuck it up you, not even piety nor wit, or even a stretch limo full of ten-grand-a-day lawyers are going to lure it back to rub ointment on the damage.’

        David smiled, and nodded. ‘Indeed, the past is permanently beyond anyone’s influence,’ he said. ‘But can you not see the wonderful implications in that? Life is a constant sequence of new beginnings, of present moments – our real existence can only ever be right here and now.’ He shrugged. ‘And even the ‘now’ I just mentioned has already gone, to be replaced by a brand new one. And oh dear,’ he said, badly faking a double-take, ‘that’s now also gone too, I’m afraid. One has to be very quick if one hopes to hold on to anything.’ He shrugged and raised an eyebrow. ‘And indeed, deluded even to try.’

        Roger sighed. ‘So what’s that code for? Forget her, right?’

        David shook his head. ‘Oh, no,’ he said. ‘Never forget the past, Roger, good or bad – it’s what has made us what we are at any given now. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s necessarily extant, because the only constancy in life is change, and the only way to enjoy life is to remain open to the possibilities change can offer.’

        . . . [later] . . .

        And maybe David was right, Roger thought – maybe it really was just the moment that mattered. Yesterday was set in cement and already dumped in the river somewhere, tomorrow wasn’t due for a day or so yet – and it really was only here and now that existed. Maybe life, once you let yourself get right into it, just happened – and the most you could hope for was that it might dig you enough to hang out with you. But hey, how cool did that make you?

      • Oops. Twice:

        1) My post above was supposed to be responding to Meisha’s post.

        2) My intro remarks were supposed to mean that it’s I who should occasionally contribute some writing (as against the gratuitous crap comments I usually post).

        Now I’ll go away.

    • Meisha — You are brave to post this. I think life is full of learning from our mistakes — try not to be too hard on yourself.

    • Meisha, writing is a wonderful doctor, soothing therapy, and faithful friend. When our troubles are put before us in black and white, it heals us, our readers, and hopefully touches souls.

      Also, welcome.

      • Thanks to everyone for the welcome and the comments. I’m sorry to have dropped off the face of the earth, but I ended up with jury duty serving on a trial that has lasted the past six weeks! Trying to keep up with work after the trial hasn’t left much time for writing. Thanks again.

  15. My oldest brother saved his nickels and dimes until he had fifty cents. With his savings, he bought a ceramic monkey incense burner. He put the little sticks of incense in the monkey’s mouth and then lit them. He thought it was great.

    Somehow within the next few days, I managed to break it, accidentally. Instead of confessing my crime, I put the broken half back on top of the lower half and the monkey appeared to be fine and dandy.

    Along comes my little brother. He barely touches the monkey and it falls apart. Did I admit my guilt? No, my cover up had worked and I let Johnny take the blame.

    Fifty some years later and I haven’t forgotten this small example of my dishonesty. My lifetime of lies haunted me and eventually carved a big enough hole that I fell into it and remained there for a long, long time.

    Presently, I seem to be blocking myself from disclosing the worst lies I’ve told. Trust me, I’m no angel. For now, this is the only lie that I’m willing to release.

    • You must have been really afraid of the potential consequences of admitting your error. Kids don’t know about pain caused by guilt.

      My sister had a doll called Bonnie Blue Braids. She had blonde braids and huge round blue eyes. For some reason I hated the doll. Whenever Linda left the room, I’d throw it on the floor and jump up and down on it as though trying to kill it. (I must have been about 5 years old.) Fortunately for me, it was a stuffed doll and made well. She never knew. It was one of her favorites, so if I’d broken it she’d have been devastated. I was just lucky. She mentioned it recently and I finally told her I did that. She looked at me like I was nuts. Oh, well.

      I don’t think angels have too much to write about, so I imagine you’re in good company here.

    • Being the baby brother, I now know why I was always getting into trouble for that I never did. Wait till I see my brother……

  16. Don’t go too far away, Fignatz. I love how you cut through the crap to the core, even if you are messing with my idol, Gibran. Great hash you made of that, too.

  17. Best Lie

    You know I cannot reveal a worst lie. But I can write about my best one.

    Best Lie

    You know I cannot reveal a worst lie. But I can write about my best one.

    I was almost fourteen, a general mess of a kid, during the summer of 1964. I spent my days at the barn, cleaning stalls and brushing horses. And sitting on feed barrels listening to WTOB on the radio—singing with the Beatles, Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, and trying to figure out the meaning of “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals. Music mixing with oats and lespedeza hay, saddle soap and soft leather—life couldn’t be any better. Horses were my world, my escape, my sanctuary, my love. But on one of those hot summer days, my world tilted and threw me off balance. In the time it took to run through the barn and out into the sunlight, my life changed.

    He was sitting on his cream colored horse, stock-still as any picture in a frame. Nice looking boy—tanned skin, sandy blonde hair, deep dark brown eyes, looking at this mess of a kid who ran hell-bent out of the barn. I slammed on brakes, put myself in reverse, and disappeared back into the barn. I whispered to the other barn kids, “There’s a boy on a horse out there by the gate.” My words were a joke to them. At first, they didn’t believe me but after all the guffaws and the “oh yeahs”, we proceeded out of the barn in a collective brigade to view this glorious boy on a horse. For the first time, I was aware of both my little toes sticking out of the holes in my Keds and the fact that my ponytail was leaning more to the left than centered on the back of my head.

    He had just received the horse for his fourteenth birthday and was to board him there at the barn. We showed him an available stall and gave him a feed barrel for his oats. We showed him the hayloft, the shavings shed and the manure pile out back.

    We all admired this boy—this unbearably handsome boy who went on trail rides with us and tackled us during tag games in the pasture. But I kept my secret hidden. No one knew I was jumping out of my skin with wild jubilant celebration while simultaneously, freefalling into pining despair. This confused jumble of emotions pushed me deeper into that unfamiliar world where I felt myself drowning. You know what I’m talking about—LOVE.

    Life at the barn continued, but I noticed one, not-so-small, glitch developing in the setup. The boy started hanging out with my sister a little more than usual. And she started acting different. It made my lip curl, you know what I mean? I was hangdog like nobody’s business. How could this happen? Something had to be done.

    This boy and my sister went riding together one day. When I say together, that is exactly what I mean. One horse. Riding double. Through the woods. Together. My heart could not bear it any longer. I confided and confessed my love to one of the barn kids. She smiled a big smile at my feeble attempt at joining the First Crush Club. And that’s when I, along with Linda, my accomplice, devised my best lie to stop this horrific horseback ride taking place at that very moment.

    Linda and I planned it all out. We’d go for a walk, coincidentally down the same trail through the woods where this boy and my sister were riding. We would hang to the side of the trail so they wouldn’t see us. When we saw them approaching, I would commence to moaning and groaning about a “sprained ankle”. No way could I walk all the way back to the barn on one foot. I needed a ride.

    As they rode near, they saw me on the ground, rubbing my ankle with a pained look on my face. I told them what had happened. The lie worked perfectly. My sister climbed down from the back of the saddle. And I climbed up.

    I will not bore you with details about that ride back to the barn—how the back of his neck curved and how his sun-bleached hair curled around his ears. I won’t tell you how he’d turn his head to the side, smiling that smile that showed how his front tooth was just a little bit crooked but hardly noticeable. I won’t tell you about his dark brown eyes and his long eyelashes—and how I could just about imagine how they’d feel, fluttering across my cheek. No need to tell you about his faded out jeans and his white tee shirt and how the reins wrapped loosely around his fingers….

    We returned to the barn and I slid down off the horse. I did not know that I had just made a memory that would carry me through the rest of my life. I did not know he would live in my heart, my secret heart, until I breathe my final breath.

    I hobbled into the barn as best I could with my “sprained ankle” and I thanked him for the ride back. A Chad and Jeremy song was playing on the radio. I will remember it until the day I die…

    “And when the rain beats against my window pane
    I’ll think of summer days again
    And dream of you.
    And dream of you”.

    I was almost fourteen, a general mess of a kid, during the summer of 1964. I spent my days at the barn, cleaning stalls and brushing horses. And sitting on feed barrels listening to WTOB on the radio—singing with the Beatles, Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, and trying to figure out the meaning of “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals. Music mixing with oats and lespedeza hay, saddle soap and soft leather—life couldn’t be any better. Horses were my world, my escape, my sanctuary, my love. But on one of those hot summer days, my world tilted and threw me off balance. In the time it took to run through the barn and out into the sunlight, my life changed.

    He was sitting on his cream colored horse, stock-still as any picture in a frame. Nice looking boy—tanned skin, sandy blonde hair, deep dark brown eyes, looking at this mess of a kid who ran hell-bent out of the barn. I slammed on brakes, put myself in reverse, and disappeared back into the barn. I whispered to the other barn kids, “There’s a boy on a horse out there by the gate.” My words were a joke to them. At first, they didn’t believe me but after all the guffaws and the “oh yeahs”, we proceeded out of the barn in a collective brigade to view this glorious boy on a horse. For the first time, I was aware of both my little toes sticking out of the holes in my Keds and the fact that my ponytail was leaning more to the left than centered on the back of my head.

    He had just received the horse for his fourteenth birthday and was to board him there at the barn. We showed him an available stall and gave him a feed barrel for his oats. We showed him the hayloft, the shavings shed and the manure pile out back.

    We all admired this boy—this unbearably handsome boy who went on trail rides with us and tackled us during tag games in the pasture. But I kept my secret hidden. No one knew I was jumping out of my skin with wild jubilant celebration while simultaneously, freefalling into pining despair. This confused jumble of emotions pushed me deeper into that unfamiliar world where I felt myself drowning. You know what I’m talking about—LOVE.

    Life at the barn continued, but I noticed one, not-so-small, glitch developing in the setup. The boy started hanging out with my sister a little more than usual. And she started acting different. It made my lip curl, you know what I mean? I was hangdog like nobody’s business. How could this happen? Something had to be done.

    This boy and my sister went riding together one day. When I say together, that is exactly what I mean. One horse. Riding double. Through the woods. Together. My heart could not bear it any longer. I confided and confessed my love to one of the barn kids. She smiled a big smile at my feeble attempt at joining the First Crush Club. And that’s when I, along with Linda, my accomplice, devised my best lie to stop this horrific horseback ride taking place at that very moment.

    Linda and I planned it all out. We’d go for a walk, coincidentally down the same trail through the woods where this boy and my sister were riding. We would hang to the side of the trail so they wouldn’t see us. When we saw them approaching, I would commence to moaning and groaning about a “sprained ankle”. No way could I walk all the way back to the barn on one foot. I needed a ride.

    As they rode near, they saw me on the ground, rubbing my ankle with a pained look on my face. I told them what had happened. The lie worked perfectly. My sister climbed down from the back of the saddle. And I climbed up.

    I will not bore you with details about that ride back to the barn—how the back of his neck curved and how his sun-bleached hair curled around his ears. I won’t tell you how he’d turn his head to the side, smiling that smile that showed how his front tooth was just a little bit crooked but hardly noticeable. I won’t tell you about his dark brown eyes and his long eyelashes—and how I could just about imagine how they’d feel, fluttering across my cheek. No need to tell you about his faded out jeans and his white tee shirt and how the reins wrapped loosely around his fingers….

    We returned to the barn and I slid down off the horse. I did not know that I had just made a memory that would carry me through the rest of my life. I did not know he would live in my heart, my secret heart, until I breathe my final breath.

    I hobbled into the barn as best I could with my “sprained ankle” and I thanked him for the ride back. A Chad and Jeremy song was playing on the radio. I will remember it until the day I die…

    “And when the rain beats against my window pane
    I’ll think of summer days again
    And dream of you.
    And dream of you”.

    • Good grief. I do not know why my submission is printed here twice. I can’t seem to get anything right! Sorry, folks. I’m old, give me a break. My education on the computer is like, hmm…I wonder what this button does….

      • I know why it appeared twice. Because it’s twice as good as you think it is!!!

        I love your excellent lie. Not only was your lie brilliant way back then but the way you described the entire scenario after so many years is delightful.

        (Your “I wonder what this button does…” confession tickled me pink. You’re a breath of fresh air).

      • Wow, KathyH. I am so right there with you in the barn, on the horse…. You did an excellent job of capturing the emotion and the details of your lie.

    • I loved your memory and the telling of your first crush. How clever you were. I can picture the dreamy kind of look on your face as you were riding along behind him. And, I remember that song as clear as day. Isn’t it funny how certain memories contain a song from the time, and the words are perfectly clear, even many years later.

    • Very Good Kathy, only ya messed up. You should’ve put on a good show and maybe he’d carried you into the barn. Aw, the memory of that first love…..

  18. Wow, Kathy. Not only for the memory but for the excellent telling of it.

  19. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell y’all that you’re great liars, and that’s no lie. What if you lie about telling a lie, is it still a lie?

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