Living the Lie

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Truth.

“I bet she wears the pants in that family!”

Two receptionists  sit in my doctor’s office, unaware that they can  be heard in the next room. Their remarks aren’t catty, however.  It’s just  mild gossip and speculation.

Life Coaching TipsThe woman has just been taken back to the doctor’s exam table. She’s friendly,  open-hearted,  in charge. She has her life together. Now.

The speculation continues. The woman’s former husband  was  just  in the  day  before,  to  pay  a bill  for  his brother, and he’s such a quiet man. Mild-mannered,  sub- missive, subdued. The receptionists  quickly peg who left whom when the marriage ended and why.

Sitting in the reception  area, I poke my head around the corner and try to stop laughing. “You’re wrong,” I tell them. “It was a classic case of abuse.”

They frown, not understanding.  “She abused  him?” one asks.

“She is pretty feisty,” the other agrees.

“No. Words are sometimes slings and arrows,” I try to  explain.  “Sometimes  it’s  the  things  said  under  the breath that are the most devastating.”

The women grow quiet, thoughtful. Finally one nods, then shrugs. “But he’s always so nice in public.”

I smile. “Like they say, you never really know what goes on between two people in private. It’s easy to second-guess based  on the  facades  you see in public.  It’s easy to think  you  know  because  you  see  someone  ten minutes a month.”

The nurse calls me back and I stall in the doorway. I’m sure my friend won’t mind what I’m divulging. “She never wore  the pants  in that  relationship.  It may be a natural thing for her now and in other relationships,  but for some reason, with her ex-husband, she was a different person.”

Looking back, I think she was a different person because  she  was  trying  to  be  someone  else—what  he wanted her to be and not who she was.