Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lied

Lied
by Jason Hart

~~~

I’ve always found riding shotgun to be inherently contemplative. When you’re chosen path is at the mercy of another, and you’re just watching the world go by - it’s both unnerving and soothing at the same time. Today, my chosen path was running an errand with my lifelong friend, Eric, and the world going by was a collection of businesses, restaurants, shops, and gas stations. As we traveled down the road, conservatively following the speed limit, my thoughts began to wander back to something my mother used to say.

“A lie is addicting.”

That phrase had somehow clawed it’s way out of the archives of my mind and slapped itself on the front page of my consciousness. It’s amazing how certain things from your childhood just disappear, while others find a way to stay with you for your whole life. Then, completely unprovoked, they just pop into your head.

And they always seem to come at the worst times, don’t they? Today was one of those times.

“We’ll be there in five minutes.” Eric interrupted my shotgun-riding thoughts by stating the obvious.

I cleared my head of any instructive motherly quips and focused on trying to soak in what was going past my window at 32mph. In what seemed like just a few seconds, Eric eased our white van into the parking lot of the Bank of America in Marshall, NC.

I stepped out of the van and glanced around - heavy traffic for a Wednesday at 2pm. A stiff breeze ruffled the edges of my jacket. It was around 45 degrees outside, and despite my layers of clothing, a shiver went up and down my spine. I adjusted my Tarheels hat, pulling it a little lower, and headed into the bank.

“A lie is addicting.”

There it was again. The moment I gripped the cool handle of the disproportionately big door of the bank, my mother’s words once again found a way to move into the foreground of my thoughts. I was vaguely aware of Eric pulling out of the parking lot, no doubt to drive around the block and return; the inhabitants of the bank all turning to stare at my timely entrance; and my swift walk up to the first available teller.

My mind, which should have been occupied with the task at hand, was hijacked by this one simple phrase. I’ll be honest, I’m still not quite sure what it means. I’m not sure if my mother was trying to say that once you tell a lie, it’s hard to stop. Or, maybe she was trying to say that people enjoy lying to you. Or, on a more sinister note, maybe she was saying that sometimes we prefer to believe a lie over the truth. In one way, all three seem true to me. I’ve told plenty of lies, I’ve been lied too, and I can certainly think of times when I’ve believed a lie because the truth seemed less tempting. I’ll bet you’ve told lies too. Or maybe you just believe them.

I suddenly realized the teller behind the counter was waiting for me to say something. As I set my bag on the counter, I noticed that we were making eye contact. She was a few years younger than I was, and now, she was looking intently into my eyes. There was a second or two of awkwardness as we both realized the other had noticed the intensity of our gaze.

“I’d like to make a withdrawal.” I said, breaking the silence.

The young girl, Tara, according to her name tag, seemed suddenly intimidated as she began to process my request. She quickly gathered up the necessary paperwork, this time making a point to avoid eye contact. We probably would never see each other again, barring a random chance encounter, so why prolong any romantic undertones with more meaningful glances. Once she was done, I grabbed my bag and turned to head out of the bank. Through the large glass doors I could see that Eric had now returned and was waiting for me.

“A lie is addicting.”

This time I didn’t fight the thought. I still wasn’t thrilled with it, but I decided to just embrace it. A smirk washed over my face due to the irony of matriarchal wisdom filling my mind at this moment. As I headed for the bank door, I brushed past the security guard and wiped a bead of sweat off my forehead before pushing through the double swinging doors. Eric was still idling in the parking lot and, as a courtesy, shoved open the passenger door once he saw me come strolling casually out of the bank.

Another smirk.

I tossed my bag into the van, hopped into the passenger seat, and settled deep into my chair as Eric slowly pulled our clumsy van into the lazy afternoon traffic.

I let my mind wander.

I thought about riding shotgun, chosen paths, and worlds that pass by windows. I thought about Tara back at the bank, and I thought about the bag in the backseat. I thought about Eric, our van, and our errand.

And then, I thought about my mother, and I thought about her phrase.

But most of all, I thought about lies.

The one’s I’ve told, and the one’s I’ve believed.

-The End

Epilogue
The Marshall Times
Thursday, October 14, 2010
by Will Young (staff writer)

NO LEADS IN BANK ROBBERY
Local police are still looking for two men involved in the robbery of the Bank of America in downtown Marshall yesterday afternoon. Chief of Police Dean Taylor says the robber is a 6’ white male in his early thirties, and was seen wearing blue jeans, a gray sweatshirt, and a light blue Tarheels hat. The suspect, who was armed, entered the bank around 2pm and held one of the tellers at gunpoint while she filled a black duffel bag up with cash. The suspect then fled the scene in a white minivan being driven by a heavyset white male.

Anyone with information is asked to call the local Marshall police department.

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