“Truth is for tailors and shoemakers. … I, on the contrary, have always held that the Lord has a penchant for masquerades.” –Karen Dinesen (who authored books such as Out of Africa & Shadows on the Grass under the name Isak Dinesen)
What is truth anyway? Is it tangible? Solid? Can you wrap your hands around something and say this is Truth? Or only, this is My Truth? Or this is My Truth at This Moment in Time…and Tomorrow It Will Be Totally Different?
We know truth is not the same for everyone…my truth is not your truth is not her truth. If we had a threesome, you and me and her, the truth would begin to end as soon as I opened my mouth for the first time. What did I say, exactly? How did she taste when I kissed her? Did I kiss her or did she kiss me? Was the color on my cheeks arousal or fear? When I looked at you, did I want you to take me, or save me?
Truth. It’s not what I work for in my writing. At least, not the truth of what is or was. But rather the truth of what could be. The truth that is larger, universal.
Lots of us talk about this as writers. Dayle, for instance. The women over at Lust Bites (although I can’t find the exact blog link at the moment). I know others have talked about it too. Me? I’m talking about it all the time lately. Or at least that’s how it seems.
Is this true?
I take the heavy jug from him. The stout fills my mouth with sweet and dark, like warm black honey. I take another swig, feeling the boys’ eyes on me. I am the only woman here, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a hundred, two hundred boys. Most of the scattered around, except for those boys. The ones who flit to my darkness like burnt-winged moths. The odds here make me both predator and prey. You know this is the way I like it.
I might sleep, except for the sounds Lisbet’s making next room over. If I scoot me and my belly closer to the wall, I can put my ear against the thin material and hear her so clearly that it keeps me up. I know those sounds—it’s how most of us got ourselves here in the first place. But Lisbet’s sounds are not the same as most of the ones I’ve heard before—they’re so quiet—it’s like she’s talking to herself. Like every single sigh is her saying “thank you” and “amen” to God ‘cause he’s answered her prayers right off, without having to go to church or wait seven days even for him to get to her.
I put my knees up against the seat in front of me and scootch down a little. My skirt slides up, exposes thigh. Sean’s still talking about something, the moon I think, and I wonder if he even notices my bare thigh, whiter than the moon. Once again, I think, this isn’t. I settle in for letting Sean step off the bus with a little, “It was great to see you again” wave. For going home and masturbating with my skirt still on, my boots. We’ll be friends, I think. It’s okay. I could use more funny, interesting male friends. I could. I look out at the moon, waning. Its crevices and hidden hollows.
Sean puts his hand on my knee. His palm creates an upside-down basket for my skin. All my cells rush to that point of contact, spinning and dizzy. The space between my thighs rushes and wavers. When I turn back, Sean is closer than he was, without having moved. I can’t look at his hand on my knee, so I look at his eyes. Blue-blue. They don’t change color this time.
No, these stories are not true, but they are the truth of what I’m working on now. The truth of what I want to capture and hold in my hands just long enough to bring it to life and then let it go. Truth? Lies? Or a little of both, woven together to become even more true. Perhaps that’s my true job as a writer… not to tell truth, but to create it.
p.s. In a mostly related topic, just saw Tess Gerritsen’s post titled, “Can People Ever Truly be Honest?”. Well worth a read.