He knew he was weak, tired, and lonely before he got out of bed that morning. He knew he was weak because his back ached. The cords of muscles were strung into a net drawn tight and pulling around his neck. He knew he was tired because he’d lain awake in bed since 2:30 in the morning. And he knew he was lonely because nothing stirred with life in the entire house except for him. All of the air was his to breathe and this made the air stale and it stank. He wished for someone else to come along and push down the toaster handle or run the taps in the morning. It was lonesome to always be the one to draw out the groans from the pipes each morning. He wondered was the house mad at him, and he thought they’d get along much finer if he could bring someone home who would leave a metal tube of lipstick rolling over the porcelain counter beside the bathroom sink.
Jim brewed tea. Steam from the teapot clouded the small kitchen. A mist of rain fell outside and the air was gray and clear. It was early summer, and Jim watched the dahlia petals wilt and brighten under the rain. He hadn’t seen dahlias before and it embarrassed him, the way they brought a joy to him. He thought they were fake at the nursery and fingered their petals, turning the pots to look at the backs of the blooms. He expected to see plastic parts, but the flowers were real. He bought a whole flat of them, eight containers. They lady at the nursery asked him if his wife sent him over for flowers, and he smiled and said yes, she did. She had sent him all over town today, picking up flowers and prescriptions and the shampoo she liked.
This was a lie and this was something unique about Jim. He lied. Frequently. He lied to strangers and to family or friends or coworkers. If he had a conversation with you, well sure, he’d tell some lies, but to be fair, the lies were harmless. Like, he might tell you that he had been to a restaurant on the other side of town even if he hadn’t. Or he might see bunnies sprinting over the lawn while he was working, and he’d tell the homeowner that he’d had a pet bunny when he was a boy. He might say the bunny’s name was Jax, and he was a black and white rabbit that liked to bite at Popsicles. None of this would be true, but Jim enjoyed telling these stories and making life a bit more exciting. Bunnies that eat Popsicles? These are the kinds of things that make people laugh, and people remember you when you make them laugh.
(all about the lies)