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The Bitter Poison of the Truth

I have never been very good at lying.  I mean, of course I have always been very good at weaving and twisting stories into a soft blanket to cushion the gaping hole away from prying eyes, but directly lying is a different things.  However, despite my inability to lie, I have always had a very proficient ability to cover the truth and to hide reality from not only others, but often from myself.  Ever since I watched Reuben suck in his last, pained breath, I seem to have begun to struggle hiding my own self from reality.  Perhaps it was because I knew in reality his death was in fact my fault or perhaps it was because even as he died I knew I never did (or could) truly love him.   Perhaps it is because I could not defeat the painful guilt wrenching my heart or perhaps it was all these reasons at once.  But regardless, even though I once had successfully made myself believe I was a normal young woman for years, a woman who deserved her husband and dreamt of the child they could share, I knew deep down it was never true.  Deep down I knew that dream, that desire, was never meant to be.  Everyday hurts more than the last as I realise the girl I long to be and the girl I am shall never be the same. 

But despite all this realisation I suffered through in the past year following my husband's death, it still surprised me when the words fell from my mouth like rocks tumbling down a cliff, “"I-I'm gay Rue. I don't want to be. I'm not a witch, I promise that. But I am gay. You were right in the beginning."

His fist came flying to my face.  It is not that I did not expect his fist to come; in fact, quite the opposite.  I knew that his fist would be his immediate reaction.  My favourite thing about him was his consistency.  I knew he reacted with fists, not with thought.  I did not, however, expect his fist to hurt so badly on my cheek.  A cry escaped my lips and I fell to the ground.  My hands spread across the floor as I could hear his cracking voice break through the ringing in my ears, “Yer--” His voice sounds like someone curled their fingers around his neck and tenses their muscles to suffocate him. 

At this moment my panic swelled in my chests and burst out my mouth as I stammer out the words that could not come out as anything louder than a whisper, "I-I have no control over it. I tried... so hard.  I tried so hard to change. I can't. I just can't."

It hurt so much more than anything I have ever felt when his foot slammed itself into my stomach.  "It ain't jus' -normal-!" He cried out now. "Ye' jus' don't be!"

‘He’s right,’ I heard my own voice whisper into my mind.  But at that moment, I could not speak.  My lungs burned and all I knew is that I was gasping for air.  It felt like, although air passed in and out of my mouth, it could not stream past my throat.  I knew it was there, but I could not get it.  My eyes burned as I felt the dripping warmth fall from them down my cheeks.  ‘Why?’ I heard my voice whisper in my head again, ‘Why are you doing this to yourself?’ 

Another part of myself answered, ‘I can’t not do it.’  It said to the first half. 

Finally I looked up to Rue.  I felt the strain in my forehead from my brows rising and the hot glare of his burning into my skin, ‘"I-" I stammered, "it- I'm not... I'm not normal."

A harsh cough escaped my throat. ‘No, you really aren’t normal,’ all of myself could agree on this.

"I want to be normal” I whispered hoarsely.

Normally weaving my lies does not make me feel guilty.  Like when the watch confronted me a day before to question me, I weaved story after story to diffuse their suspicions.  Although their suspicions did scare me of which is what brought me to Rue’s house on this day, the act of spreading my dishonest quilt of truths did not make me feel guilt.  When I am dishonest to my siblings (often referring to how I make money and details of what I do with my spare time) I do not feel guilt.  But now, I looked up to Rue.  He did not react in the rage he normally did.  I have come accustomed to recognising that childish rage that explodes like a toddler’s tantrum.  This was very different.  His foot swung out now, but stopped.  He did not strike me again.  He stopped instead, now spitting out the words, “Why -not-?!  Ye' ever even been screwed by a man? Have ye' -tried-?!"

"I laid with a man for nine years trying to be normal," I sucked a pained breath in and whispered, "I even became pregnant with his babe. But I couldn't be normal."

"Ye' didn't try hard enough," now his foot ploughed into my hands covering my stomach.  It did not hurt as much this time.  It did not knock the wind from my lungs.  “So ye' left him an' yer child ta' seek women?"  He accused.

"N-No. Th-They both..." My voice cracked.  The accusation hurt more than the blows he threw upon me.  The wave of guilt from my crimes flooded through all the veins of my body darkening them into a stiff and sore concentration.  I felt sick as if I could throw up in that moment.  Perhaps… well hopefully… it was not from the blows to my stomach.  Finally, with my mouth dry and sore, I rasped out the words, "They both died."

Those words seemed to silence him for several heartbeats.  Then, his hand shot out to clutch a chunk of my hair and shove me to the side.  I fell to my side with a soft yelp, but by now, he had let go and walked away, "Ge' out."

As I left, all I could hear was the sound of smashing from his home.  I fled though in fear he might change his mind and try to hurt me more.  I cannot tell you what hurt more.  The truth spewing from my mouth like bitter poison that burned my throat, the acute pain from his strikes that now began to ache as I ran, or the betrayal I could see in his eyes as if he had begun to trust me.  I always thought Rue just hated me and kept me around for something to insult.  I never minded too much of his insults because he paid me.  But now, when I told him the secret I swore never to tell him, it looked as if I personally hurt him.  And on top of that, I did not know it would hurt me so much to see the pain of my betrayal.  He is right, I am disgusting.  I am abnormal.  I am unnatural.  I have no clue what to choose though.  Do I live with a man whom I cannot love for the rest of my life in a futile attempt to be normal?  Or do I find myself back into the arms of a woman I truly love, who truly makes me feel safe and happy, but never be the way I should be?  Every day causes a new numbing ache to top the last.  Those were the thoughts racing through my head as I found my way back home.