names have been omitted in this post
I coasted along the curving lanes on one of the main thoroughfares in the city… wide grassy medians divided the middle of the road, the sun shone brightly through the sunroof, temps in the seventies beckoned that summer was soon approaching… nearly every place in this town had a memory of someone for me. The radio lyrics spiraled out at us as my hair whipped from the wind blowing through the open windows…
"You know… Daddy still asks about you, Mommy." My daughter spoke from the backseat.
I recoiled inside and after a moment spoke "Oh, really? Why?" I asked her.
She seemed to be thinking… "I don't know. I mean… he can't miss you. Because he acts like poop. But he does ask. He asks how you're doing." She told me.
I cringed. I didn't want him asking about me. It was so funny really. I never asked how he was. Did he truly believe that by him asking her how I was made her believe he was acting with good intentions?
"So what do you tell him?" I asked with curiosity.
I study her expression in the rearview mirror as we wait for the red light to turn green so I can make a left turn into the shopping center and pick up a rotisserie chicken at Tom Thumb. They usually have them for five dollars on Fridays.
Her face breaks into a grin big as a cheshire cat's… "Oh, I tell him you're doing excellent." She replies.
"That's true…" I murmur and make the left turn into the parking lot to locate a space. Charleston's is nearby… a restaurant my ex and I used to frequent when married and where I always ordered the chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and glazed carrots… those carrots were his favorite; he'd always try to snag mine.
It's funny how people try to take what's yours.
It's funny how people try to sell you a dream and deliver a nightmare.
It's funny how people promise it will never end and instead it comes to an end in blazing flames.
It's funny how no matter where you admit you could have done better…
Some may be ready to use those honest acknowledgments against you instead of graciously accepting your inadequacies and flaws.
It's funny how no matter how hard you tried it was just simply never good enough.
Some may accept what you can give with appreciation and yet others… nothing is ever good enough… like a game of limbo where you must go lower instead it's the opposite… you're expected to jump higher and higher until you just can't anymore. You're so exhausted your feet don't even lift off the ground anymore.
And then…. and then…
They have the audacity to ask how you are.
Like they care.
Like they really care.
Like they really still love you.
Like they ever really did.
Or they did.
And yet there is nothing left.
Nothing but a pack of lies upon more lies.
It's mind blowing really.
Because you know them asking how you are is all a front.
A ruse to look like a good caring person.
It's all lies.
A narcissistic sociopath can stand there all day and ask how you are…
but mark my words… despite the smile… despite the words that tumble from their mouth…
They are holding a knife behind their back.
Their actions… their long time pattern of evil actions that were shown to you… those can't be dismissed with the lovely asking of how you're doing. No… nothing can out shine those in your eyes. Because you've seen the real them. Their true self. Not once and then they made amends. But time and time again they made their true intentions, their true heart very transparently apparent to you. And now you know better.
Once inside the grocery store we make our way past the fragrant flower arrangements and bundles of tulips, sunflowers, hydrangeas and roses for sale. Next we choose a warm rotisserie chicken and then go check out the cakes displayed in the case at the bakery. We ohh and ahh over the various pretty confections they have decorated in pink frosting, swirls of piped chocolate and white edible flowers… her begging me to buy something because they all look so girlie, lovely and delicious. I agree to four chocolate cupcakes with chocolate filling and we slowly make our way to the produce section.
"I forgot to tell you… "She suddenly says.
I cringe. This always means something bad. Always.
"What is it?" I ask, trying to keep my tone not sounding terse.
"You remember how last time I went to Daddy's and I forgot my t-shirt for school?" She asked. I nodded and she continued "And you know how you drove it over to Daddy's and I ran out to get it?" She confirmed.
"Yeah…" I replied.
"Well…. you pull up and Daddy goes "Oh, I hope your brother doesn't get home right now with Mommy parked in the driveway. She might run him over."
I pause from searching for a tomato and turn to look at her "What?!" I ask horrified.
She nods "Yeah… he said that. And I was like "Mommy wouldn't do that!" And he goes "Welllllll….. I don't know about that…" It made me so mad! Because he is lying!" She exclaimed.
And then there it is.
Who says that?
He can't cover that up with "How is Mommy doing?"
It doesn't make up for it.
It doesn't erase it.
I look at her "First of all… I would never hurt your brother. But I've had plenty of bruises where he's hurt me. I think your father has a selective memory." I said pointedly. "He should have never said that. It's a lie. And he's trying to plant seeds of doubt in your head… to make you doubt the truth. To make you doubt yourself." I tell her.
She nods and carefully bags the tomato I hand her "Oh, I know. I know him. And his lies."
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