Living the Lie
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Truth.
â€œI bet she wears the pants in that family!â€
Two receptionists Â sit in my doctorâ€™s office, unaware that they can Â be heard in the next room. Their remarks arenâ€™t catty, however. Â Itâ€™s just Â mild gossip and speculation.
The speculation continues. The womanâ€™s former husband Â was Â just Â in the Â day Â before, Â to Â pay Â a bill Â for Â his brother, and heâ€™s such a quiet man. Mild-mannered, Â sub- missive, subdued. The receptionists Â quickly peg who left whom when the marriage ended and why.
Sitting in the reception Â area, I poke my head around the corner and try to stop laughing. â€œYouâ€™re wrong,â€ I tell them. â€œIt was a classic case of abuse.â€
They frown, not understanding. Â â€œShe abused Â him?â€ one asks.
â€œShe is pretty feisty,â€ the other agrees.
â€œNo. Words are sometimes slings and arrows,â€ I try to Â explain. Â â€œSometimes Â itâ€™s Â the Â things Â said Â under Â the breath that are the most devastating.â€
The women grow quiet, thoughtful. Finally one nods, then shrugs. â€œBut heâ€™s always so nice in public.â€
I smile. â€œLike they say, you never really know what goes on between two people in private. Itâ€™s easy to second-guess based Â on the Â facades Â you see in public. Â Itâ€™s easy to think Â youÂ know Â because Â youÂ see Â someone Â ten minutes a month.â€
The nurse calls me back and I stall in the doorway. Iâ€™m sure my friend wonâ€™t mind what Iâ€™m divulging. â€œShe never wore Â the pants Â in that Â relationship. Â It may be a natural thing for her now and in other relationships, Â but for some reason, with her ex-husband, she was a different person.â€
Looking back, I think she was a different person because Â she Â was Â trying Â to Â be Â someone Â elseâ€”what Â he wanted her to be and not who she was.