An Accidental Truth

About a year ago, I accidentally told someone the truth and paid a dear price for it.

I don’t mean to imply that I typically lie.  More’s the pity for it, too; I nearly always speak with the strictest of honesty, at least as far as I understand.  On this occasion, I had kept a difficult nugget from someone regarding a mutual friend who had maligned the person.  I didn’t tell the person because there was no point in doing so.  The only possible outcome would be pain.

I can be forgiven for blurting it out after six months of silence.  I had just knocked myself senseless on a sidewalk and then dragged a heavy suitcase upwards for three flights.  The other had arrived, ignored my disheveled appearance in favor of rummaging in the kitchen, and, apropos of nothing as far as I could see, casually asked about my lack of contact with the person whose malfeasance I had long kept to myself.  I spat out the truth, then watched in horror as a ripple of anguish flamed out to consume us both.

I paid the highest price:  The loss of friendship in the face of my unfortunate disclosure. I had been the hopeless unwitting instrument of malicious damage.  Denials could come later, from the source; I would be considered the evil-doer. I would bear the shame.  I saw it all in that instant; a clever and cruel plot; or just a nasty trick of fate.  I’m not complaining now; I understand.  Perhaps I should not have kept silent so long; perhaps the gravest offense was the sudden telling of an accidental truth.

Yesterday I walked along the row of tiny houses in the middle of which my own home sits.  The heat of our one brutal summer weekend shimmered around me.   My legs wobbled; I grasped my walking stick for support.  I stumbled, nearly pitching to the ground.  For that precarious instant, I traversed again the broken sidewalk of a Kansas City Street, clutching the air, crashing against the cement.  My mind froze.  The world went black.  My stomach heaved. 

I found myself standing motionless on the smooth surface of my California deck.   From the highest branches of the nearby oak, the low mournful cry of a dove echoed the clenching of my heart. I listened to her song, eyes closed, hand on my breast.   Then I went inside and started a kettle for tea.

It’s the twenty-ninth day of the sixty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.



2 thoughts on “An Accidental Truth

  1. Demi

    I have several untold truths that periodically come close to the surface, usually during a moment of pain or anger. To speak them would cause shame and embarrassment, as it should to some, but pain to those who don’t deserve it. I fear I sometimes hold it in a little scabbard, ready to wield it against those who have hurt me or mine. But it would mean sacrificing the innocents so it gets harder to wrap my fingers around as time goes by.

    1. ccorleyjd365 Post author

      Exactly. I don’t excuse my disclosure but I had knocked myself out and was dizzy and flustered. I regret it. We keep so many ugly truths to ourselves and sometimes the pain of them just overflows. I will forgive myself for this eventually but I fear the other will never do so. I have to give that one to the angels. Thank you for sharing, my friend.


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