Tuesday, November 7, 2017

mentiras centelleante

The first time you are lied to-
the world doesn't buckle underneath you, it doesn't sink beneath the weight, 
it doesn't snap in a catastrophic crack—
it begins to shimmer slightly,
you'll recognize its light the rest of your life.

You can always catch a lie by that 
primordial glimmer glimpsed in your neighbor's eye.

Today, I saw someone lie.
First there was a question.
Then there was a pause, so minuscule you'd never notice, just the slight click of a story realigning, and then the lie.
After the lie, their face flushed slightly (I don't think anyone else noticed) and they leaned back slightly in their chair. I could feel their heartbeat quicken slightly, simply by feeling the change in their breath which moved the air currents around my body.
I reeled slightly, simply because it took me a few moments for my mind to catch up with the events as they unfolded. In an almost out-of-body sort of way, I saw my mind collect the data, and then pause to process it coherently. All the sensory information entered my brain, but then it took me several moments to process. I was a third party, so I simply bit my tongue and watched the conversation unfold, observed my mind synthesize the scene. This was not my truth to correct, so I remained, like the fool who wishes to be wise, silent. As I did so, I felt something buckle around me. It was jarring to feel the fabric of reality pucker for a second, and then continue, like a sewing machine needle catching on the fabric. The tenuous connections we build together, between us, with words, the stated reality we agree upon, seemed to tear.

I thought of a scene from one of my favorite stories as a child, Spindle's End, which is simply a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, when the baby princess arrives in the rural village where two kindly fairies will rear her in secret (pace Disney, for that is no Brothers Grimm invention). In order to obscure her bizarre arrival (which would bound to prompt village gossip. And who has an ear for village gossip? Evil. Fricking. Fairies. Especially ones with major FOMO and can't stand not being invited to christening parties.) the elderly fairy casts a "glamour."

I think this book was written before Harry Potter, so Robin McKinley didn't realize that you're supposed to use fancy faux-Latin (authentic Latin!?) words in spells. She just calls this spell a "glamour."

Essentially, a "glamour" is a lie which descends upon the world. And an observant person (fairies bank on most human's inattentiveness) can see it. The glamour is sort of shimmery and shiny: like reality, but more, well—glamorous. As I watched the lie uncurl into the room, I felt that was what I was seeing: reality, askew. Reality altered just ever so slightly.

As I walked away, I wondered how many people lie each day without detection, and if you can really believe the tenuous concept of reality that you think you have.

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