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Truth. Something everyone wants to receive, but doesn’t like to give. Something that will set you free, but lock you up in the process. Something that can break or mend a heart, perhaps do both at once. Something that shouldn’t have to be fought for, yet it is anyway. Something people have lost their lives for, because they were suffocated by the web of lies that blocked it.
This is why we do this. This is why we are here, sitting, back to back, taking turns telling the truth. We feel that not being able to see each other makes it easier, so that we may pretend we are only talking to ourselves. I think the only thing that keeps us going is the promise nothing said ever leaves the room.
“I can’t stand my grandmother’s cooking,” I begin. It’s an easy thing to admit. We start off slow, and then move onto the heavier stuff. Like wading into a pool filled with freezing cold water.
“I can’t stand my grandmother.” You say matter-of-factly. I will always be in awe of how you do that. Like you are simply stating a well-known fact, not a secret that you can’t and won’t tell anyone else.
“I feel nothing but hatred towards my father.” It’s kind of obvious I feel that way, what with my burning every last picture of him, every last letter he wrote to me. But, I had never just said that I hated him. It was still difficult to say it so directly. But it’s the truth, and this is the time for the truth. No sweetening it up. Just go for the blow when it comes.
“I hate just about everyone,” you reply, but I know there’s more. You cut yourself off, I can tell. That’s against the rules. You have to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Instead of calling you out right away, I let you have a few seconds to fix your mistake.
“…You’re the only exception.”
I knew that already. Unspoken words pass between us, telling each other how we are the only ones we can trust, that everyone else would betray us sometime or other. But this is all part of our exercise. It all has to be spoken. Out loud. It’s the hardest way, but it makes both of us so much stronger.
“I stopped keeping a diary because I didn’t trust it. You’re the only one that will keep my secrets forever.” I am so glad that I am not looking into your eyes, for I would have crumbled long ago if I were. Now I can just stare at the wall, the light blue wall that makes up one fourth of your room. I stare into the color, looking past it, behind it, into another world. Another, more truthful world. One where everyone is opened, exposed to the vulnerability, the ridicule of others. And yet, they don’t feel that way, as everyone has that same weakness.
“I’m in love with my best friend.”
I feel your back tense up beside mine. Again, the unspoken words pass between us, flowing so quickly that they would not be understood had they been spoken aloud. Words, emotions, unexplainable feelings, pass from one body to the other, like an electric current.
And suddenly, I know. I know everything about you, everything you’ve seen, everything you remember, everything you want to forget. Everything you ever wanted in life, and everything you ever wanted to give up. Every feeling you’ve ever had, and why you felt that way. I know the feeling that there was always something missing in your life, one that you didn’t know how to fix.
And you know too. You know everything about me, even the things I thought I had forgotten and changed from. You know that I had the same feeling of emptiness, the same feeling that something was missing. And you know the next words I am going to speak, the words that I need to get out, as if they didn’t they would burn up inside me, scorching me from the inside out, turning me to ash.
“You’re my best friend.”
And no more words need to be spoken aloud.