Musical accompaniment: Mr. Brightside, The Killers
Drinks recommendation: A shot of whatever makes you shiver. Leave the bottle.
We venerate the truth. We call honesty a virtue.
But in this story of truths, there is little happiness, and even less virtue.
We think that we need to know the truth but there is no turning back once you know it – the bliss of ignorance cannot be restored.
Santa isn’t real.
You have three years to live.
Your husband is cheating on you.
I don’t love you and I probably never will.
Let’s start there: I don’t love you and I probably never will.
It’s almost fucking poetic, right? Harsh, to the point, economical. But was it the truth?
A week later, Polaris and I are drunk again. He holds my face in his hands and tells me over and over how much he loves me, and how much he wants me to know that. In front of people. Over and over. So was that the truth?
I don’t know and probably never will. That’s the buggering ballache of truth. Even that which you see with your own eyes may not be the truth. Reality is not truth. Even facts are not truth.
Often we have to settle for what we believe to be the truth. We replace knowledge with religion. In relationships, we believe we are loved; we believe our partners will stay; we believe we can trust them with our health, our money, our children. With Polaris, the constant flux and contradictions gave me nowhere to settle. He tried so hard – he genuinely made an effort to give me what I needed. But, at the mercy of his mood swings, the lack of security made me unhappy. I had no truth and no religion.
He told me he wouldn’t hurt me this time. That was not the truth.
We took the kids away for the weekend. He got drunk and took out his bad mood on me. He said he was sorry. That was not the truth.
I told him I couldn’t take it anymore. I pushed him to end it, and when he did, I told him I never wanted him to speak to me again. That was not the truth.
Sick of lies and sick of Polaris, in an attempt to prove to him that it was over, I told his friend ‘Priscilla’ that I knew they had slept together. A petty little parting shot.
And that’s how I found out the shocking truth about what really happened between them…
And the truth is: NOTHING HAPPENED!
That’s the twist! Priscilla said: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Polaris confessed that he had lied when he told me they were fooling around. Of course, I didn’t just believe that either. Even now I’m only 90% sure that nothing happened between them. He had every reason to lie about lying. He was friends with Priscilla’s boyfriend, for example.
I was plunged into a deep perflex. The world around me broke into a infinite decision tree. I was robbed of my reaction as every past moment and every future path had a different interpretation depending on what was true and what was a lie. Truth was the variable – like the old riddle of the two doorkeepers where one always tells the truth and one always lies – but you don’t know which one.
Anxiety feeds on uncertainty. I was trapped between two negative poles and the confusion triggered days of sickening anxiety attacks, until I finally got some explanation from Polaris.
I am not pious. I lie often. I manipulate sometimes. I can understand the lie – it’s a super crazy lie but there is sense to it. Perhaps he wanted to push me away. Perhaps he wanted to make me jealous. I can understand why he didn’t tell me it was a lie.
But I can’t excuse the details he fabricated over the six months of the lie – details with the sole purpose of twisting the knife. He told me they did things which he knew would hurt me. He teased me about it, goaded me to feel jealous and insecure, even sometimes when we were in bed together. He told me how unattractive he found Priscilla and how awful it had been with her, in a pretence of reassuring me, all the time encouraging me to dislike her. Knowing in intimate detail the nature of my anxieties, and having been afforded access to my most vulnerable parts, he chose his weapons with intent. He played on my insecurities deliberately and repeatedly. Whatever the reason he lied at first, there is no doubt that he subsequently used the lie to control me and hurt me.
There are many truths we would rather not know, even if we need to know them.
There is no Santa.
You’ll be dead within a year.
I do not love you and I probably never will.
I told you I slept with someone else to control you.
A year ago I committed myself to the truth. And for the first time, I forced myself to confront the possibility that Polaris might not be a decent person, that maybe there is something not right inside him.
But it is still unreal to me, because I can’t accept that I was that wrong about him. I was amazed by the scale of the lie. I remain bemused by the length and breadth of his dishonesty.
I would forgive him but he wasn’t sorry. Not for me. Not for his friend.
I’m glad I stayed around to see the end. What a twist! Such great inspiration for a writer. The revelation has been liberating. It’s hilarious and tragic in equal measure. I had front seats at the show. The part of me which hurts is comforted by the part of me that laughs out loud at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.
Nothing happened! It’s the punchline of the century.
Perhaps I should have been angry about it. Yet as soon as the uncertainty was resolved I felt at peace.
Well…. maybe I did take a little revenge… A week later I posted him a envelope full of glitter! A very tame response I know – but it gives me a healthy laugh every time I think of it.
I thought the truth and the glitter were the end of it. I was wrong. This is not the worst of it.
Musical accompaniment: Mr. Brightside, The Killers
Musical accompaniment: The Closest Thing To Crazy, Katie Melua