CONFLICT OF INTEREST
He asked, when did you get back into the city? She was quiet for a moment and then, "I never really left," that surprises him; he was waiting for a story--even a brief one told by a disdainful shrug. "I just said that 'cause I wasn't interested in seeing you."
They're walking down a street, its moderately warm but cool in comparison to the last few days. He feels like her voice changed--like its become plain with just the skeleton of words, nothing more. She finally glanced at him, curiously.
"You really are something else," he sighs. "You could've just lied. I mean why put it like that, so dry"
"What are you talking about?"
"Like, the way you said it...its just--"
"Dry? Nothing's 'dry' I don't even know what that means in context to what I told you." He hated how clear she was, how unaffected. Meanwhile his heart jerked, like a nervous mouth chewing thick steak.
"Its cold, like you're closing up all of a sudden--"
"I'm not closing up--"
"I'm just saying to make it a point to be so hard about it--"
"What? You want me to lie? I'm not gonna lie--its too much effort." He didn't know what to say and couldn't form words over the memories that flushed in his mind, like a stampede mixing into an audience of numbed emotions. Is she serious? Where is this coming from? What the fuck is happening? He felt tested, as if this was all a show to get a rouse out of him--She thinks I'm not gonna say anything and just walk her to her train, understanding where she's coming from.
"Its almost insulting that you told me the truth, its like you don't care." She didn't say anything to that until he was just about ready to repeat himself.
"its not that."
"What?" She wasn't speaking loud enough.
"I said its not that. Its just easier, the truth is effortless, with no weight--you don't have to hold anything up, you just let things..." She gestured ambiguously with her hands. "as they are."
"I'd rather be lied to." He snapped.
She laughed almost through a gasp, "why?" It seemed she found the notion comedic. Shaking her head and staring forward at the oncoming city.
"It harder, thats why. Its more of a thing to show you care."
"Show I care, by lying?" Her tone was biting.
"Sure," they stopped by a park bench. "Like, for my feelings--" he was starting to feel really stupid. "You can be subtle, postpone the truth until you can slowly take me there lie by lie."
"Lies aren't all bad--" She shook her head and groaned incredulously.
"I don't know." She wanted to say, but they're lies; what the fuck are you going to get out of something you know isn't true? But he was sensitive, his voice was shaky, he looked like he was shrinking and it seemed the more she responded to him the worse she made it for him. Why doesn't he just get angry and leave. She very much wanted him to.
"Do you care at all about me?" He almost didn't say it. He's had it in mind to say for the last 2 minutes. She doesn't even want to look at him, why is he asking me this, she wonders.
After an expended sigh she says, "we don't even know each other--not well, at least." Her voice was beginning to return; her words were dabbed in adhesive flesh.
"Lie to me, then. Thats exactly why you should lie to me--we don't know one another. Its all the show right now--its the best its gonna be between us, right now! So just lie to me, I want to know what it feels like when you try--when you're scared of what the truth can do, or how I'll react to it."
She broke out, "what are you talking about? You sound ridiculous--Do you know what you sound like? Do you hear yourself? Does it make sense to you? I don't want to deal with this, don't you get it?" She lowered her voice, "lie to you? Really? For what? I have..." I have no interest, is what she almost said. "Nothing."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I have nothing to lie about, I have nothing to be scared about. Truth is the truth. I'm not scared of what it can do. Clearly I'm not interested or moved by you in a way that you could cause that effect in me."
"Because you don't care to impress me."
Did he say that? She was speechless for a second and started to laugh but stopped. As if the shaking of her head tossed the humor out of the moment.
"Do you really want me to? To lie, to force myself for your benefit. Who the fuck are you?! If you care about me, which I believe you don't, how could you, by only knowing me for a couple of nights, not even dates, just nights--but even if by some shitfuck of a chance you genuinely did care for me why would you force me to do something against my own better judgement. Do I not have judgement? Am I an idiot, that you have to advise me on how I should react to you--ignoring my own mind and instinct." He could tell she was finally bothered. His blood, he felt it boil inside him, rushing up to his head as she continued. "And you can't take what I've given you and be content; Lie to you? I lied to you when I said I was going to be away, I lied to you by trying to stay quiet and let you talk your peace and bounce but none of that is generous enough for you--you want me regardless of what I want. How could you even dare to think you care about me?"
because I don't care to impress you? She repeated in her head. He stared at her even when she looked away. So this is who you really are. It was like they both thought the same thing at the same time.