A Certain Rotten Sweetness
I don’t make a habit of lying to my friends.
Which is why I was surprised at how easily this one rolled off my tongue. It’s funny, too, because I started with the truth. I hesitated, the knife in one hand and the mango in another.
“Yeah it was weird timing, because he texted me last night asking if I wanted to go out to a bar with him and some of his friends. The first time in two months, and yesterday of all days,” I said, beginning to saw into the fruit, my eyes intent on the catch of the knife in skin.
“That’s such weird timing. The exact day you went out on your first date. Did you go?” Sara asked.
“No,” I didn’t falter at all. My response surprised me. I hadn’t really thought about whether I would tell her or not, because I always did. My eyes flicked up into my bedroom, open to the studio apartment. My clothes from the night before still lay discarded on the floorboards.
“That’s good,” She said, nodding her head sympathetically, squashing what should have been my next words. No, but he did come here. I peeled back a bit of the mango skin. Much of the flesh had rotted, even though I’d just bought it a day or two before.
“Yeah,” I stretched out the e and made it hard, making the word sound very insincere indeed. But Sara did not seem to catch on. And then we just. Didn’t talk about it? An entirely novel phenomenon. Normally, we would spend much of an hour discussing my choices, and in the process of saying the words out loud to a friend I would become ever more indecisive, perhaps even full of regret, until I couldn’t remember my half-formed resolutions.
In that moment, I felt the true beauty of keeping things to oneself. Afterall, I already knew what I was doing. And I already knew what she would say. And I had grown so tired of talking about it that I couldn’t even imagine how it must be for my friends. Now, I had broken the cycle. No longer did I find myself trapped in the patterns and circles that had plagued my racing thoughts.
Here, a certain relief accompanied not speaking about this old concept. It made it okay that it had happened. I felt none of the anxiety and pain that I had felt before. A good thing, right? An okay decision? Indeed, the decision was mine alone in the end. And I was at peace with my actions, just worried about how my perceptions could shift with a word from my loved ones. It’s all in the mentality, and I don’t want to ruin my own, I told myself. That’s how I justified it.
Still, as we sat and ate the good parts of the mango, I couldn’t help but wonder.
How secure should I be in a choice I couldn’t share with a friend?