I’m sorry that I couldn’t understand. That each lie, though bizarre, or wondrous or horrible, was in its essence, a truth. That each stuttering murmur of a useless false statement was a battle cry, a call to arms to fight for a place where your lies could be true. But we didn’t listen, because we couldn’t. We called you “pathological,” and “compulsive,” but really we only meant it in the dictionary sense. Because the dictionary could never encapsulate the pictures you painted for us with your words. Each nervous grin and each stuttered syllable was a brush stroke. Your falsehoods were like a child’s first watercolor painting: a murky mass of hazy details, proudly presented, only asking to be seen. You boasted far too many extravagant feats for us to believe you. Before we got taller, our parents always told us, “you can be anything when you grow up.” We would bask in those words, reveling in the possibility. Until we couldn’t anymore. Until that phrase about growing up morphed into clear sight of the world, and we grew out of our fantasies. But you held on with a white knuckled grip, telling us things like, “I’m training to be an astronaut. I’m scheduled to go to the moon in a few months.” I would roll my eyes because we all knew that we would just end up settling for a future we didn’t hate, not something we loved. But we somehow loved you.
When we heard you and your lies, we went on journeys together. Though I could never seem to understand them. The path through your lies was a tricky one that I think only you could be brave enough to attempt to master. And sure enough, you stumbled. I noticed. We all noticed. We always laughed at you once you left the room. You said all these silly things we would never dare say. Lines that only seemed to appear in films where the hero never dies. What a joke, we thought of you. Those lying heroes may never die, but we saw you die a little each day. I’m ashamed to say it, but we were relieved. You came to stagger in your stories, and we because experts in ruthlessly ripping them apart. Ripping you apart. Why couldn’t you have been just like us? Why couldn’t you just fall into mundanity and inject small talk into your speech like saccharine drugs? Why couldn’t you just bottle all that away? We were frustrated at you for saying the things we didn’t want anyone to hear, your lies revealing our truths and hopes. Each falsehood you revealed was also a dream in our hearts, a desire to be more. The trouble was, you were wearing yours upon your sleeve, and that truth was embarrassing. You never seemed to notice the animosity we held towards your vulnerability.
You must understand. We wanted to believe every lie. But you see, reality is the grin of a shark. It’s broad, and it’s white, and once it has you in its jaws, it doesn’t let you go.
So our mouths became loaded guns, and the safety was off. For every bullet you dodged, there was another you didn’t, and we would cheer for every hit, as though there was a prize to be gained for being the one to bring you down to earth. And bring you down to earth we did. It didn’t take long for your stories to melt in the heat of our gaze, dear Icarus. You should have been more cautious and listened to good sense, reason, and reality. However, you had the dreamlike hope not to, and that fact was a piece of what I didn’t grasp.
There are days when I blame you for the hideous ending of it all, and days I blame all of us, and days when I try to bury your memory down so deep I will lose track of it. I never do. You don’t live too far away now, but you might as well be on the moon. Words, lies, truth, all of them spoken or unspoken keep everyone at bay. After our relentless game of truth and dare had taken a steep crescendo and ended with a thunderous finally, you had to go. And just like that, we were stranded with reality again. We like to think that it wasn’t because of us, and maybe it wasn’t. I don’t think we’ll ever really know. All we are sure of is that we are still here, and you are not. Your stories though, remain to haunt us, ghosting about our lives with heavy steps for something so non-existent. Your words still tug on our hearts, now, telling us things like, “I was training to be an astronaut, I was going to fly to the moon, but you had me by the ankles.”
I think I understand now. I can only hope that you do as well. The worst part about apologies is that you realize that there is nothing more that they can do for you. Regardless. Here I am, beginning, I hope, to understand. I’m sorry for being one of the ugly truth-mongers.