One of the things that make getting older so incredibly painful, so absurd, is having to sift through the lies that people tell you, the lies we tell each other to get by. We don’t mean to hurt anyone, but we do. We use and misuse our words and words are horrible sometimes, like a knife made out of a mouth, letters chiseled into our heads and hearts with bits of broken glass. Lies by omission are far smarter, darker still – they allow us to lie effortlessly, without saying anything at all. We believe what we want to. Everyone does it.
After the show, the platonic friend I’d taken works up the nerve to ask me to dinner, even though he’s moving away. It sounds like a joke, like a comic strip cut short, and I think about how I often feel like leftovers, like the afterthought, like the last prize in a grab bag. I wonder what actual love is like, a love that swims through bullshit to get to the other side - if sadness is just the price you pay for being happy. And I told him thank you, thank you, I’m sorry, no. I didn’t wait days, months, years - I did it. It was the right thing to do.
Someone had to.
I never thought it was possible to haunt someone without dying, but that’s me – the ghost that didn’t get the memo, didn’t leave the party early enough. The music stopped and all the chairs were filled, the seats taken, the hands held. I feel terrible for things – one thing, I guess – that aren’t my fault. I feel terrible because in the grand scheme of things, this could happen to anyone. I could be anyone. It’s never been about who I am, just what I represent, the strange danger I pose simply by existing. That’s the truth. And that’s what I have always wanted. Isn’t it? But truth feels a lot like being punched in the stomach after a hotdog-eating contest.
At the museum yesterday, we spent time on this photo that was taken in 1995, the year I was Simba for Halloween. And I never have to apologize for that again.