When she was little, she wrote, there was a dried up creek bed on the walk home from school. The bridge no longer over the water but over the deep space that the creek left. Garbage-strewn mysterious depth. That's where the women fall, the fallen women. And I told how when I was little, the president had opened a gate and flooded Washington, the water coming out in leaks and then finally a torrent, and he had to resign in shame over the the water-soaked capital.
These are things we believed because we did not understand, and I know that sometimes this happens. And I know that sometimes one person says something and another person hears something slightly different, and their affection gets buried in misunderstanding as the argument moves further and further from the original point. So you're not arguing at all about what ought to argue about, if you should argue at all. But I think that such arguments are a reflection of some underlying other problem, the fight that takes on a life of its own already had a heartbeat somehow before your misunderstanding breathed life into it. Such misunderstandings are not the problem.
The taste of vinegar and salt. The snap of the crystal between your teeth before it melts on your tongue. The sour truth that pulls you awake.
Okay, I'm back to it. Things we believe because we misunderstood. Things we believe because we misheard. These can be eliminated with time and attention. Then there are also things we believed because we were told them directly, lies like who brings gifts and what happens to our teeth. I never told my son these things because I never understood why you should establish yourself as an unreliable narrator with your own kin. There are enough lies already in the world, and pretending they have colors is also a lie. So these beliefs can be avoided by not lying. And that applies to most belief, maybe.
I work as hard as I can to be as honest as I can, and when I can't be honest yet or anymore then I stop talking. There are lies that come from a kind of dishonesty that is a lie to the self, perpetuated on others. I have no idea what to say about these people, except that I have at times wished holes burned or bitten through their tongues. Metaphorical ones, to be clear, although this is what I do to myself, have done to myself, the taste of blood in my mouth before saying what I wasn't sure was true. Mean what you say. And if you cannot, don't feign surprise when I don't stick around to listen anymore.