Monday 14 November 2022

Lies by Mari Phillips, lukewarm tea

 I didn’t mean to lie. It just happened. You kept asking.

‘How’s your love life? Got a boyfriend yet?’ It seemed like it was all that mattered. Everyone else had one. Whispers. Shared confidences in corners. Comparisons. So, Luke appeared.

‘We met at the drama group.’

‘I’ll come to the performance,’ you said.

‘You’ll make him nervous. And he’s too busy backstage.’

‘Bring him home for tea, love.’

As if! ‘He’s busy, mum, preparing for his auditions.’

‘That’s a shame.’

Later, ‘how’s Luke getting on? You still haven’t introduced us.’

‘Gone to college, mum.’

‘Did he pass those auditions?’

‘Mm…’

‘That’s nice, love. Bring him for tea in the holidays. I’d like to meet him and hear all about his course.’

Did she suspect? I don’t know. My friends? They’d stopped asking. Too busy with their own manifestations of testosterone, sweat, and acne.

 

***

‘How’s Luke? Is everything alright, love?’ she asked.

‘Oh… he died, mum. An accident.’ The words popped out of my mouth before I could stop them.

‘Oh, love, you should have said.’ She put her arms around me and pulled me close. The only physical contact I ever remember. Sometimes lies are better than the truth.

About the author

 Mari lives in Leeds, writes mostly flash fiction, with several published in Café Lit, and is working on a couple of ‘longer’ short stories. She also occasionally dabbles in poetry. She is a keen singer and traveller, both activities slowly re-emerging after lockdown. 
 
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