Let’s pretend you told a lie. Not an insignificant kind of lie that requires minimal effort, the ones that slide easily off the tongue, insouciant and unimpressive as water. Imagine instead a dark lie that unfurls like wings. One constructed to maintain order when life begins to spin out of control.
Let’s pretend you told this lie to a lover. It could’ve been for a number of different reasons all of which serve to erase a costly mistake. You’re going to tell your lover a lie that suspends in the space between the two of you like crisscrossed glass. Obscuring, separating, cutting.
In the event that you enter into this pretend realm of deception, it’s important to do so flawlessly. Here’s how:
1. Do not fail.
A seemingly simple instruction that is incumbent upon fine execution. You are now the Michelangelo of prevarication and this lie is your David. You must sculpt relentlessly until it captures the exact likeness of truth.
Know that there is no turning back from this point. Do you really think you can smash David to pieces without rendering devastating consequences? Even if once the words have been spoken you begin to feel the pull of regret yanking the anchors of your stomach, you must remain harbored.
2. Tell no one.
Not your pal. Not your parent. Not your priest. Not your puppy dog. This thing that you have done is shameful and one must keep shameful things to oneself. Empathy in any form from someone who cares about you will only serve to weaken your resolve and convince you to do the “right thing.” You are a fabrication and at all costs must avoid creating any constant and organic reminders of that.
3. Do not succumb to guilt.
Guilt will manifest in every open space so you must fill yourself accordingly. Whether with songs, food, work, or sex, it doesn’t really matter. Be extremely vigilant for this can often backfire; certain song lyrics may seep through your synapses and settle, thick like sludge, making you heavy with the weight of your own decisions. When this occurs, continue filling and don’t stop to process those emotions. Move forward.
4. Monitor your subconscious.
It is normal to question yourself in the wake of any serious decision, but know that “it’s never too late,” is a phrase that no longer applies to you. People who say this are probably always on time; they have never had to lie about a family of geese crossing the street and making them late for work. Which is to say that they certainly don’t understand the care with which you’ve orchestrated this beautiful lie. You’ve been so careful not to share your secret with others and it’s equally important not to dwell on it yourself. Don’t even think about any creative means of expression because what you don’t want is to drink spiced alcohol one evening until your heart is on fire and weepily recite your contrite poetry in front of the person to whom you are lying. They will be enraged and forget to compliment your gorgeous use of sensory language.
And just like that you’ve committed the perfect crime. Told the perfect lie. But we must prepare for all eventualities. Let’s enter into a universe where despite all of your caution and precautions, you are discovered. Your damnable conscious got the better of you and you rejected the low road. You wrote the poem. You went to confession. You could no longer take the cold splash of guilt mingling with your blood. The emotional dam burst with you right behind the wall, swimming against the outpour of shit that you’ve just allowed to rain upon your life. Stay calm. Though Michelangelo is infinitely disgusted by your weakness, I am still here for you. Read on.
5. Contingency plan.
You’re now in damage control territory and it’s time to get frantic. Begging and pleading may work, but it is imperative that your groveling match the intensity of both your lie and your reveal. The more severe, the more you must offer. If this doesn’t work, it is totally acceptable to flip that shit around. They’re mad at you? Well you be mad right back at them! Why not? You are an adult and may do as you please and trust me it will please you to deflect their anger with your own. It’s not like you’re not allowed to be hurt. The massive amount of effort that you put forth in this endeavor just to have it all crumble before you is painful. Facing reality is painful. The messy eventuality of hurting someone you love is painful. There is no pleasure in self evaluation when you already know what the process will yield. No relief in untangling your mess. It is scary and uncomfortable business. Best think of a reason it was their fault to begin with and and cast it towards them like an evil spell.
If you manage to turn the tides back in your favor, congratulations. You win. You may stop reading. If, however, your results were suboptimal, please continue.
In the wake of totally devastating failure, lie down. Preferably as far from your phone as possible because, let’s face it, your texts and calls have become incessant. Take a deep breath and as you exhale face the crushing reality that you have indeed fucked up. Cry if you must. Love and, perhaps more acutely, the fear of losing love has lead you to this messy place. And you may be thinking that you’ll die here tangled in the wreckage of your errors with no one to come save you. Though the former thought is false it is entirely possible that you will be left to deal with this alone.
Give your lover space and time. Know that while love is not so easily broken, trust is not so easily mended. You cannot force their forgiveness anymore than you can force time to unwind back to the moment you first decided to deceive them. The both of you are so incredibly human, which makes the possible outcomes of this lie-come-undone endless. Do your best to face the unknown with a brave heart and an honest mouth.
Additionally, in extreme cases, it’s been alleged that a sincere apology may not be an altogether unhelpful resource. Use it at your own discretion.