I do my best to remain truthful in all aspects of my life, including avoiding “white lies.” My non-essential memory bank tends to resemble room temperature Swiss cheese: little holes where things can just slip through and the rest is kinda gummy that holds on tightly to things that land on it. Phone numbers for elementary-school friends are in the gummy section, lies easily fall through the holes. Aside from the generic “Okay” response to the person in the elevator that asks how I’m doing, I try to remain honest.
But there’s this little lie I’ve been telling people I don’t know well, mostly people in my office building. I’ve been telling this little lie for a few months and I’ve told it twice today.
Twice today two people who don’t know each other told me at different times of the day that my pants are looking like they’re going to fall off. I replied, as I do anytime someone says something like that, with, “Oh, thank you,” kinda blushed a little and tried to avoid their eyes… because I knew what they were going to say next and I knew I was going to tell them a lie.
“How are you losing weight?” or “What’s your secret?”
Because people in my office don’t need to know the intimate details of my mind or emotions, because people in my office don’t know anything about me aside from my typing speed, because I know my voice will catch and my eyes will start to water, because I know the truth hurts me more than the lie hurts them… I lie.
“Oh, just paying closer attention to what I eat.”
Because people in my office don’t need to know that break-up depression is affecting my appetite. Because people in my office don’t need to know that I’ll be hungry, start to cook something, and then remember how he liked it or how he’d put red pepper flakes all over it or that he didn’t like it, and suddenly my heart is in my throat making it hard to swallow, my stomach is churning and threatening nausea, my mind is rapidly running down guilt-trip lane and I can’t think about food anymore.
Because people in my office don’t need to know that break-up depression is the most effective diet I’ve been on in years.
Because people in my office don’t need to know this, I tell a little lie.