I’m taking a class. Its called “Tales Told in Winter” and it’s unraveling me, in all the right ways. I’m writing, fiercely, and loving it. Each week we are given multiple topics and just a few minutes to compose a short story about each of them. We are doing a group performance on December 10th at The Bucks County Playhouse. Come if you want to hear some ‘tales told in winter”. This one is about the first time i realized that I had hurt someones feelings. I have no art to accompany it, but so it goes…
Go Ask Billy
“Go ask Billy if he likes Elizabeth” they giddily directed me. I was chosen as the messenger. I had a purpose, a job to do. The idea of young love was a new concept for our group of 8 year old friends, but it was exciting and we felt grown up just circling the subject. I was excited by the assignment. I would be the mover and shaker, making things happen. The high powered second grade executive dictating the romantic playing field of our catholic school playground.
Anticipating success, I happily hopped across the playground to find Billy draped over the monkey bars with his pals. They were laughing at something. “Hi Billy, I’m here to tell you that Elizabeth likes you and that you should be her boyfriend” I blurted. Billy’s nose crunched up and he made a terrible ick face. His friends howled and I froze in my delivery. I had not anticipated this kind of response. He was supposed to like her too. That’s the way it would work. I was meant to return with words of love. What was I suppose to do with this? Surely I couldn’t return with this kind of news. Elizabeth would be crushed, and she was my friend.
I told Billy he was a donkey butt and dumb for not liking my friend, and headed back to the merry-go-round. I was not going to hurt my friend. I would make her happy, because donkey buts shouldn’t have the power to make us sad, I thought. “Billy likes you too Elizabeth”, I said. Elizabeth beamed. Yes, I had done the right thing! All better. She’s happy. Let’s go play. “I’m going to talk to him”, she said. Wait…what…noooo….don’t do that. Why do you want to do that? You like him, he likes you. Done.
The reality and gravity of my lie hit me like a brick. Happiness and comfort created by illusion is not a solid plan, even on a playground. “Oh Elizabeth, don’t go talk to him. Be secret friends” I pleaded, digging my hole deeper. Eventually I admitted my deception and Elizabeth fled the playground in tears, my good intentions resulting in chaos.
If you seek the truth, ask your own questions, because the false love of a donkey butt, no matter how sweet, inevitably smells bad.