But, that’s not the kind of lie I’m talking about. The lie I’m talking about, is not an easy truth to hear, and is certainly not an easy truth to tell, but tell it I will.
I was 7 years old. Like most 7 year olds of that time, I loved to play outside, and at the end of a long day in the Florida heat, I was in desperate need of a bath. I was in the bath when I heard a knock at the front door. Soon after, the bathroom door flung open, and my mother was yelling at me to get up out of the tub. She quickly wrapped me in my bathrobe, and sent me into the living room.
Waiting for me were two police officers. I remember the fear I felt seeing them towering over me in their uniforms with their guns on their sides. What were they going to do to me? I knew what I had done. I knew why they were here. How would I get out of this one? How much did they already know?
They addressed me with sternness as they told me that the woman across the street had called them. They told me they already been to my friends’ house. My friends had told their own lies, and now, all the blame rested completely on me. To their advantage was that it happened at my house. They could easily play off that they didn’t know what they were doing because of this, but could I? Could I also get out of this situation, or would I soon be in cuffs being dragged away to prison? Would they at least let me put my clothes on?!
My fear rose inside me as the lie poured out of my mouth. I told of how I didn’t know what it was when I offered it to the little boy. I had never seen it before. We were all gonna eat it, we just gave it to him first. We loved that little boy.
Tears of fear and regret welled up in my eyes as I told the story.
They told me to be careful what I play with in the future, and told me how this could have gone so differently, if the boy hadn’t told his mother…if he had actually swallowed it, if he had been hospitalized…if he had died. They gave my mom a lecture on keeping things out of the reach of children, and then, they were gone.
It worked! They believed me! I wasn’t going to prison. I was safe! The boy was safe, and nobody knew the truth.
Nobody knew that my friends and I had given the 5 year old boy across the street bug poison, not because we thought it was candy, and we were all going to have some. Not because I couldn’t read the box that said “POISON DO NOT EAT.” Not because we didn’t know what poison was. No, we did it because he was annoying us. We wanted him to go away, to let us play without him riding his big wheel in our way. We thought it would be funny. And, at first, it was.
I lied to the boy to get him to take it. I lied to the cop to stay out of jail. I lied to my Mom so she would still love me. I lied to my friends’ mom to let me play with them again. I lied, I lied, I lied.
I was 7 years old when I told a lie.
As I write this 30 years later the truth still eats at me. It urges me to turn this tale into more lies, to soften it, to make it more palatable, so that you, the reader, won’t feel disgust towards me, the author. It is a bad decision a long time in my past, and one that I'm very grateful turned out the way it did without any real harm done. Certainly, I could just let this lie rest, hidden in the darkness of my mind. But, I feel it must be told and I hope that what you will take away is not a disgust for the author, but is instead, an awareness for your children.
One, is to be aware of who your child is playing with and what they may be doing. Although, we were always telling the little boy to leave us alone, to go away, not once did we ever see his mother. I tell you this part not to put blame on the mother, and certainly not the little boy, but I have to wonder if things would have gone differently, if the mother had been aware that we didn’t want him around. What if she had checked on him regularly? What if she had wandered over to our yard to see what was going on? What if she had simply asked him to stay on his side of the road and let us be?
The other is to be aware that your child may not be as innocent as they claim. This is not to say that every kid is a liar and you should believe nothing that they say. That would not be fair to the child, but at least allow for the possibility that your child may not be telling the full truth. We all want our children to be perfect little angels, but we must face the fact that sometimes, they just aren’t.
♪People writing songs that voices never share, and no one dared, disturb the sound of silence♪ (Simon & Garfunkel)