To continue this week’s theme (if a single post in a five day span can be considered a theme) of truth vs. fiction, I submit to you The Boss’s First Lie.
It all played out on the beach, atop a blanket spread out over squishy grit. The Boss was on the blanket; her friends were in the water. What prevented The Boss from joining her two young compadres was the fact that she appears to have inherited some recessive clean-freak gene that makes it impossible for her to stand messiness of any kind. The Boss has no tolerance for things in life that are, as she likes to say, “dir-TY.”
With a soft bed of pink-and-white cotton between all exposed body parts and the sand, The Boss observed the world from her princess patch. Particles of silica would not make “icky feet” on her watch; she would not allow the stinging wetness of cold salt against her skin. She just sat. And babbled. And told her first story.
Of course the story was about a seagull. Could there be a dirtier bird? They were everywhere. One took to the land on calloused webbing and pecked its way into a large, unopened bag of Smartfood popcorn I’d carelessly left exposed. Kernels fell out. The seagull inhaled. I grabbed the wasted bag and threw it in the trash.
But that is not The Boss’s story or, as some might say, The Boss’s lie. This was The Boss’s lie:
“Seagull touched my head!” She patted herself ferociously, the flat palm slamming onto her pate. “Bird on my heeeaaaaddddd!”
I stared at her. Then I looked around for a low flying bird. Turns out there were many. But I had been sitting right there, and not one of them had skimmed her blond locks.
“Seagull touched my nose!” She poked her nose, the pointer finger a strange combination of disgust and glee. “Bird on my nooooose!”
At that point I knew she was making the whole thing up, and I was pretty sure she was having a grand old time doing it.
In one moment, in one small body, two lifetimes passed before my eyes. The first: my daughter as a pathological liar. The second: my daughter as a storyteller—a woman confident in all that surrounds her, with an unfailing eye and an ability to mold, with words, something real into something permanent.
And then I wondered if there was a huge difference between the two. Both imagined lifetimes began to merge and recess back into the thirty pound girl sitting before me.
“I can’t believe a seagull touched your nose,” I enthused as I pressed the pad of my own pointer finger, behind a nail bitten to the quick, into her supposedly compromised schnozz. “I just can’t believe it.”