Friday, May 15, 2009


The first time I ever lied was when I sat on the kitchen counter in our brown California house. The "Thou shalt not lie" lesson was fresh in my mind, so I think it might've been a Sunday and my white stockings were tipped off with black, pattened-leather shoes. I swung them, alternating, up and down over the edge of the counter and watched her. My mom was preparing dinner--probably her onion, celery boiled chicken that she'd put in a rice casserole. She was so beautiful in her outdated, mint green dress, with shoulder pads and a pencil skirt bottom. I looked at her and wondered if she'd recognize a lie from me. I knew she trusted me; I was an "angel," she said. I looked out the window, in an attempt to conjure up an original: something other than the popular "you have a spider in your hair" or "Jared hit me" phrases. Aha! I got it.

"Mom?" I innocently questioned, looking up into her olive face.

"What, my baby?" She whispered with a grunt as she pulled the chicken from the broth, placing it into a bowled strainer.

"I..." I hesitated. Did I want to do this? My first lie ever? Would God forgive me? Of course, I just need to repent right after. Okay, I wanted this. "I see a mouse by the wall outside!" I yelled and pointed. My mother hated mice. I remember one time we saw a swarm of them on Indiana Jones and she climbed up onto the couch, screaming and running in place. This time there was no change in her expression. I let the lie sit, waiting for a reaction.

I shuffled my body on the counter top. I stared out the window to avoid eye contact with her. I glanced at her beautiful dress, then back outside. A pot made a clank from the cabinets below and my eyes shifted to the noise. My mother looked up at me and smiled. I felt a ball of air lodged in my throat.

"Mom?" I innocently inquired again.
"What, sweetheart?" She came over to where I sat, hugged my immature frame, and looked into my eyes.
"I just lied. There's no mouse. I'm sorry."
"I know, baby." She smoothed the grain of my side ponytail and returned to the chicken. She knew.

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