He wasn’t beyond self preserving lies. It’s nothing new to need to compensate for a bad decision with some face saving dishonesty. He knew countless others that did it, so he wouldn’t look down on himself for it. Actually, he would rationalize his actions by telling himself that his untruths eased the minds of those who cared about him and worried about his well-being. He didn’t want those to think he was suffering from his poor decisions. The sad reality is that those who considered his feelings and knew him well enough to be current in his lies, just considered him slightly delusional.
This disease found its way into every small crevice of his life. He’d paint a room a certain colour which wouldn’t match any of his furniture. When someone less tactful would call him out on it, he would say it was the dissidence of jazz that he was trying to relate through the medium of interior design. He would argue, knowing full well the headache the combination made, that the colours did fit perfectly, it was just a rare matching which made it unique and, therefore, more valuable than other choices. He would live his life desperately hating the colour, but knowing he couldn’t change it without admitting defeat.
It could be found in the way he bumbled around in the kitchen, when he couldn’t find someone else to cook for him. He would overcook the noodles, burn the fish and end up scraping the sauce from the bottom of a pan. When he would serve his attempt at food to her, he would shift into lie mode. He would choke down each charred bite with a smile and a convincing “this is delicious”. She was always gracious to eat his poison even though she knew how poor it would be.
It spread through all aspects of his being. He couldn’t let others see his failures or, much worse, his petty over-sights. It was the trivial things that he made conversation about, spoke louder about, made noise about, to prove that he was comfortable. He strained his face with a forced smile, eyes never catching onto the lie. He’d strain his brain trying to invent some marvelous reason why he paid three times more than he should have on a certain type of flooring. All this stress, work, effort wasn’t enough, because at the end of a day of lying, when everyone he knew was gone, he would still be left staring at that wall and eating burnt salmon.
He needed to turn his lies on himself. He loaded the gun and put it to his forehead and shot any self depreciation out of his mind. He told himself that all his lies were actually the way things were. He loved the taste of blackened salmon. He really did enjoy a much thicker sauce. If others didn’t understand the choice of his living room walls, then they really had no concept of colour and decoration. He was pulled from the potential solid ground of humility and honest concessions to the make-believe cloud of pretentiousness by his silly lies.
So, when confronted with the possibility that he had made an error in the loss of someone who he, inside himself, possibly couldn’t live without, what would he do? He could paint a picture of her as a goblin. He could call on all his powers of imagination to invent an image of her in a way that others could find unpleasing. Her sweetness could become her worst flaw. It could be sickening. Her beauty could be the source of some secret vanity. She could have been someone who needed constant pampering. Who would know? He could claim that she didn’t even realize what she had with him and he had no choice but to escape, what was essentially, her world.
But he couldn’t. The lies that were a soft warm blanket on the rest of his cold and miserable person, couldn’t cover the icy feet of this reality. He couldn’t force a smile when recounting his loss. He couldn’t convince anyone around him that it might have been a good idea for him to be without her. Even if he could, even if he could shout it from the top of a mountain so loud that the world heard and believed that he was not doing badly, he would still curl himself up in a ball, feet still outside of the comforter, and cry mourning the one thing that was worth being honest about, but would feel so much better if he could believe the lie.