Truth about liespublished: 2009-08-27
There’s a fine line between exaggeration and lying. A high school friend of mine was always good at exaggerating. Her fantasy would take her for a run.
Sometimes, her accounts of things we had experienced together made me wonder whether I’d been sleeping. I missed out on most of the starry details she added. Back then it was charming, when we were young. But in time, her exaggerations came to stand between us. How do you trust someone who lies? Trust is the basis of a good friendshhip, or so it seems. Actually, it’s not.
I realized this last night, when that high school friend came over for dinner. We hadn’t seen each other in years. Listening to her initially confused me as it did back then, and then irritated me. But why, I wondered?
So after chilling out a little, I decided I’d just take her and her stories as they were. And in doing so I entered on a miraculous adventure with her. Animatedly, she told me about her personal assistant, and how she had joined a conglomorate of industrial designers. They in turn have hired 20 or so odd graphic designers to work for them. I clapped my hands in excitement at the dream of her actually living the success story. But life has its setbacks too. She’s fought her way through boughts of cancer, chemotherapy, miscarriages and depressions. Those stories had me feeling sad. Recently she’s been fainting a lot. It turns out her heart rate is almost always below 40, even when climbing the Grand Canyon. They tested her for a full day in hospital. As of monday a “unit” will be attached to her in order to monitor what’s going on. She joked around saying, “I’m going to look like a scuba diver.” By then she had me laughing and crying.
During dessert, she went to the toilet. It took a while so I knocked on the door asking whether she was okay. Had she fainted? “Oh no,” she said, “just studying your calender.”
On leaving, I held on to her as long as I could. Stay exactly as you are, I thought. You are entitled to your stories. Friendship is not about trust. It is about dignity.