The Boyfriend of Truth
It was all due to a simple misunderstanding. If my ears hadn’t been full of water from swimming, I’d have heard her name correctly, and I’d never have gone near her.
But my ears were blocked, and when Hilary introduced us I thought the girl’s name was Ruth. That’s what I called her the whole time we were going out, and she never corrected me. Which, when I think about it, is kind of weird, because she wasn’t Ruth, which means sorrow or pity. She was Truth, which can be rather pitiless.
I don’t mean that was just her name, which would have been an affliction to any girl but not the end of the world for her boyfriend. She WAS Truth, and once we got that straightened out, it explained a lot.
Unfortunately, by that time it was too late. I was fathoms deep, because she was beautiful. Come to think of it, that’s odd, too, because the truth may set you free, as they say, but it isn’t always pretty. It wasn’t in my case.
I fell in love hard and fast. When I told “Ruth” that I loved her and asked if she loved me, she said “no,” but I understood. I was moving too fast. I didn’t ask again. I realize now that things went on so long because I didn’t ask much of anything of her. I was too absorbed in my own feelings and desires, and that was what I talked about. If I’d asked her more about herself things mightn’t have gone on so long.
It was later, when I settled down a little and began to think, that I realized her reactions to me weren’t always what I’d hoped. I began to ask questions.
“Am I coming on too strong?”
“Do you want me to leave you alone?”
“Can I kiss you?”
“Yes.” But she didn’t kiss me back.
I didn’t get that one until Hilary pointed out, later, the difference between “can” and “may.”
I’d been kissing her for a week when I asked the worst question. “Why won’t you let me do more than kiss you once in a while?”
“Because you do it so poorly, and you smell bad.”
“How can you say that?” That really hurt, because I’d spent a lot on a new cologne when I started seeing her. I wanted to impress her with my sophisticated taste, and she thought I stank?
“What do you mean, how can I say it? You asked a question. You get the true answer, because I am Truth.”
“Wait—what? I thought your name was Ruth. I’ve been calling you Ruth.”
“You can call me anything. I’ve told you what I am. I am Truth. If you want to hear only things you like, you should join all the other men hanging around Flattery.”
“Flattery?” I couldn’t remember any girl by that name. I looked where Truth was pointing, and saw a group of men clustered around a gorgeous blonde, whom I vaguely recognized from the same party where I met Truth. “I thought her name was Hattie.”
“You should get your hearing checked.”
It was the truth. Of course.
©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2018
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