With me in Rockland
He doesn't say anything and I keep talking. It’s almost a look but no, it's just stillness.
He knows I'm lying.
Not that it's lying. It's a - it's a creative telling, exaggerating, spinning. It's a good traditional American pastime and it's more interesting this way and it's Bear up a Tree or On the Road or that politician's honesty or the last seven stories I told.
But he knows he knows. I'm lying.
He doesn't say a thing and almost looks at me sideways but I stop to watch him stop to catch what he said and it's only stillness.
Hell is other people, the man said, but very very few people. Certain people. The ones we call at 4 a.m., the ones we write letters to in our head, the ones where all our conversations are catalogued, the ones we've known so long and so well they're part of the reason we are who we are. This is that sort of friend. All of mine are, but this is the first one and the most significant one and the one who, right now, knows I'm lying. It's not even a lie, really. It's not a Kantian Categorical crime I couldn't live with everyone committing. But he knows.
It's just something he knows, sitting there, my friend, just silently my friend, who knows me well enough to catch the deceptions I believe, who holds me down to give the demons a chance.