The Truth by John Wentworth Chapin

“You’d want me to tell you, right?” 

I pause. “Of course.” This is a polite lie; I haven’t made up my mind.

“Good friends have to be brutally honest, because no one else will. Tell me.”

I ponder the differences between our families; we were kids together and know each other well. I grew up with perhaps a little too much honesty. We are loud: we yell, we cry, we slam our flatware and storm out of the room. It is tiresome. I dream of a Thanksgiving without tears.  His people eat soggy casseroles and smile with tight lips. It would be unthinkable to say something honest and personal between them.

So of course he needs me to be honest. But he doesn’t know how fucking mean I am; I am wise enough to keep it under wraps. He doesn’t know how deeply I judge, that I roll my eyes, that I pretend his new bathroom paint looks good, how I hated the sundried tomatoes in that omelet.

He forces a jovial grunt and pushes my shoulder. “Come on, for fuck’s sake! Tell me what you really think. That’s what friends are for.”

I consider this, fully. “I think you two are bad for each other,” I say.

He stares back at me, catching a short breath.

“You asked,” I remind him.

I watch a film descend over his eyes. He retreats, he gets polite.

“I guess you’re still on edge about your last break-up,” he says.

I fucking knew this would happen.


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Filed under John Wentworth Chapin

6 responses to “The Truth by John Wentworth Chapin

  1. Oh, you KNOW it’s going to happen and you can see it coming but still you don’t want it to happen and even when it does it is still a surprise … all these reactions while reading your story, John. Excellent, this was great. Fun and tense a wise read.

  2. Captured that border, that edge that forces a friendship beautifully well.

  3. Really well done, well crafted. And as Matt pointed you, you just know it won’t go down well, claims to the contrary notwithstanding. Tight-lipped soggy casserole eaters should definately NOT ask for honest opinions.

  4. You capture a universal situation perfectly — why do we insist on being honest? When is the white lie better for the relationship. Taut and honest, this is great stuff. peace…

  5. Ganymeder

    This was great, and while I normally find profanity distracting I think it works really well in here.

  6. Pingback: Week #22 – The brutality of friends « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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