sdg 5

Hey, I thought, look, it’s her again. I’ve been seeing a lot of her these last few weeks. I wonder if she’s following me. Nevermind, that wouldn’t happen. That’s a laugh. A girl, follow me. You might as well follow some migrating crow. It might not be so bad, if you ignore everything. I’ve always wanted to go south, somewhere these bitter winters don’t cut so bad. Six months out of the year I can’t even go outside. What type of shit is that?
We had a lot in common. At least, we both hated the same people, which is nearly the same thing. Sometimes I agree with people that something is great, or that something is shit, when I don’t actually have an opinion about it. I just like the way they smile at me when they think we have something in common. Sometimes I’ll make up stories to impress them, or make them right; to make them like me basically. The truth is what i am is a liar. I don’t think anybody who’s not a liar can really understand it. For me it’s not a predatory thing, i wouldn’t lie to somebody to trick them into doing something against their interests but in mine. That’s something only an asshole would do. I just lie to them so they’ll be friends with me. But I guess- I guess that’s the same thing, isn’t it?
Maybe I should but I don’t feel bad about lying. Hardly anyone ever catches on; how would they? You can always protect a lie with another lie. But that’s why the more you expect to see someone, the less you should lie to them. You’ve always gotta keep track of what everyone knows so you can stay consistent. You don’t want to get yourself trapped in a pointless lie from early on, still be covering for it years later. That’s the one rule. You never, ever tell someone that you lied. You can’t just recant down the line; people care even more about the deception than they did about the thing itself. It feels very unfair sometimes. People don’t give you a chance unless you lie to them, and that’s not my fault; that’s their own need to judge. If I lied to Cassandra that day so she’d get dinner with me, so what? So fucking what?
But now she thinks I’m a vegetarian, so I guess I’ve got to become one. I’m fine with that, honestly. Half of my interests started that way; I care a lot less what I’m doing than who I’m doing it with. The interests, the clothes and the practices take on the aura of the person I did them for. I keep doing them long after the person is gone. It makes me feel better, like they’re still there.
So what, dammit? Cassandra didn’t fall for me because I was a vegetarian. She got dinner with me because I was a vegetarian. She fell for me because of what happened at dinner. Must this be my fault too? Everything else already is. Can’t this one thing, just one time not be my fault?
Everybody inhabits an imaginary world where their friends never lie to them. It must never cross over with the real world, where everybody lies to everybody every goddamn day. But I still try to be more honest with my friends. It’s easy to lose yourself in the lies if you’re not careful. You end up surrounded by best friends and family who all love someone you’re not and hate who you are. Shit, I don’t know that yet.
Did I lose myself in lies? Am I lying to myself? How would I even know? I don’t remember if I’m lying: that’s my authenticity. I know it was my fault. I shouldn’t have lied to her. In the end you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.
“Did you hear about Lackely?” she said.
“No, what happened with Lackely?”
“He’s just been fired.”
“You gotta be kidding! He was one of my favorite teachers! What the hell is the school thinking?” She looked offended.
“Probably that he was a blatant sexist.”
“What, how?”
“Every other time a girl would speak in class, he’d make these infuriating comments about how it isn’t proper for a lady to talk too much. I mean, I reported him myself for it. The school’s trying really hard to do the right thing. I mean, granted this isn’t exactly something you can test for in a technical interview, but as soon as they found out…”
“Jeeze, I’m glad you reported him them.” She made a sort of pathetic sound.
“Ugh, I’m not sure if I am. It sort of feels like a personal problem. I guess I just- what if he’s been doing this to a lot of people? They did kind of imply that there had been other reports. But I don’t know.”
“You were definitely right.” She didn’t react at first. Then, a spark of something almost threatening flashed in her eyes. She looked at me strangely. The moment lasted a fraction of a second- and then it had passed.
I walked across the floor like a ghost. Cassandra was my prey. She never stood a goddamn chance, it wasn’t fair. The faceless goons at this party couldn’t have meant less to me. I’d have left them passed out in the beds upstairs with the doors unlocked, or handed them their car keys falling off their feet. I knew they didn’t kill me, they were nothing more to me than meat.
“Did you hear about Lackely?”
“Yeah, it’s about time. I’ve heard he’s a sexist.”
“Seriously. Where’d you hear that?”
“My friend Alice was getting it from him all year, he kept going on about what’s proper. She reported it a dozen times. Guess they finally got enough of them they can’t ignore it.”
“Oh, shit. The same thing happened to me.”
“Sounds like he’s been doing it to a lot of people.”
“I can’t believe they’d hire a guy like that,” she said.
“It’s probably not the school’s fault. Not something you can test for in a technical interview. Still fucked up, though,” I said.
“Yeah. Exactly. Nobody gets it.”
“People are stupid.”


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