The Fifth Lie
The first lie came so easily that he felt profusely shocked after the words had left his lips. He'd never felt especially bad before when telling little white lies, or even those of the slightly grey variety. Innocent lies that never hurt anyone.
The first lie wasn't innocent at all. Just easy.
It weighed heavily on his conscience at first and more than once he pondered clarifying things. But then, it didn't really hurt anyone, did it? He didn't betray people and didn't break any laws. It was so easy to convince himself, even when deep down he knew it wasn't right.
And so the first lie became a part of his life. A necessary addition just like his car, his clothes, his friends. Life would've been different if he'd never changed the facts like he did. But life was good the way it was and the lie was slowly fading into the background. There weren't any repercussions, no one detected the little inconsistencies, no one suspected him of being untruthful.
He got away with it. He got used to it. He almost forgot about it.
The second lie was spoken with even more ease than the first. It was neither white nor slightly grey and not little at all. He knew about the possible implications, not only to himself but to those around him. This lie could hurt. It was dangerous. But it wasn't meant to hurt. He didn't intend to hurt anyone with it, it was an operational lie, required to cover the first lie and his integrity. He would hurt people even more if he admitted his prior wrongdoings, wouldn't he?
So he went along with it and carried his story past critical eyes and minds. And felt for the first time that he might not get away with it. He saw the doubts, the suspicions. In a way, that hurt him, but his intelligence told him he deserved it. A lie didn't change in any angle you looked at it. But it hurt him even more to think of confessing. He was afraid of the rejection that surely would follow.
He stuck to it and everything worked out fine. The doubts and suspicions vanished and his life again adopted an appearance of normalcy.
The third lie didn't even need practice or thought anymore. It came naturally and was accepted in confidence by everyone involved. He was relied upon and aimed to please. His sense of remorse wasn't strong enough anymore to unveil the huge blind spot that had grown more and more with each lie.
But inside, something rebelled against it. He suffered bouts of insomnia, his stomach acted up. He brushed it aside, blamed it on daily stress. He wasn't ready yet. He felt bad, but he couldn't bring himself to see the bare facts.
By the time the fourth lie had to be contrived, the act of lying had become a frequent coping mechanism to shroud his own shortcomings. He'd split into two personas along the way, either taking the upper hand when necessary on their own volition. He'd lost control. But even worse, he'd let all his guards down. He wasn't prepared for the lie to backfire the way it did. He wasn't armed for the explosion and the aftershocks and the brutal force that spiraled his life into a distant orbit. And he almost fell apart witnessing his friends suffer and stood by helplessly while his best friend's life was destroyed.
The fifth lie was the most innocent and the most excruciating. It was the classic little white lie, the kind that is uttered so often without much thought. It was the sort of lie that was expected in the given situation, the inane comment that was supposed to comfort, even though all parties knew it wasn't more than wishful thinking.
When Jim's fingers shifted in Blair's hand, he prayed he would be strong enough. But when Jim's eyes finally opened and realization reached them, Blair knew he didn't have the strength. He never would have the strength he needed.
It took four lies to leave Jim crippled for life after a bust gone wrong. He tried to call it fate, a chain of unfortunate circumstances and even occupational hazard. But it wasn't as easy as that. In the brutally honest light he finally could see the situation in, it all lead back to himself and the lies. Cause and effect. He could only find one person to blame.
"It's going to be okay," were the five words that formed his fifth lie while his eyes swam in tears and even as Jim's fingers weakly closed around his, he knew that it was never going to be okay anymore.
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