Chapter 10...a lie is just a lieA Chapter by Allen Smuckler
A half truth is a whole lie...
A half truth is a whole lie.
- Yiddish proverb
We sat in relative quiet that evening at supper. Dad started with us, but about half way through dinner, he simply rose from the table, slowly walked to his bedroom, and laid down. No one spoke and nothing was explained to us. We didn’t have to know the details...at least I didn’t. Mom eventually spoke while standing at the sink, cleaning the ort off our plates and scouring them with a Brillo pad. She spoke to no one in particular, and simply said,
“Daddy isn’t feeling well and will be going into the hospital tomorrow for some tests.” But no one, asked for what.
Sandy was 16 years old and was as smart as a whip. She was so smart, the school system “allowed” her to skip seventh grade and go directly into eighth several years prior. She would be graduating High School this year...at the age of 16. She was very mature and had been babysitting for years. On this particular night, she also had a babysitting job and was preparing her books (she actually DID homework) and herself to be picked up around 6:30 p.m. The house was a buzz with quiet, subdued activity, for we also had things to do. The Ed Sullivan Show, our family’s favorite, would be on in another hour or so, and we enjoyed watching the entire show from the beginning.
My sister Arlene was busy scrawling her homework and taking a shower. She may have been doing this simultaneously to make sure everything got done. She wasn’t as smart as Sandy. Who was? Or very organized...actually she was sort of disorganized and messy, but she did ok in school. Better than me, that’s for sure. But, who didn’t.
I simply played around with my toy soldiers and Indians. I had this great fort that the Indians would attack every day and without fail, all the Indians would perish...until the next day, when another tribe would attack the fort and they would also all die. Every Indian that ever attacked my fort would die, no exception. A few of the soldiers would bite the dust or get wounded, but not many. It was after-all my game, my fantasy, and my war. I chose who would live and who would die. If only real life was that way. That moribund thought was soon interrupted by the nightly question;
“Allen, have you finished your homework and taken your bath,” my mother yelled from the kitchen as she was finishing the dishes.
“Yeah, mom. Almost.” I sheepishly replied.
I never considered it lying, because I had thought about doing my homework and did in fact wash my face and hands. My mother was just too busy to notice. Too preoccupied to really hear my answer. She was however, concerned enough to ask me the same question every night. She honestly cared. She just was always too busy to check to see if her only son was being truthful or not. She trusted that I was, and of course, I wasn’t.
Mom worked full time, came home to cook dinner, usually did the dishes, which meant drying and putting them away, helped get clothes ready for the next day, talked on the phone to friends or my Aunt Ceil (who was also a friend), or out of town relatives. She looked at homework we may have completed but never really knew what homework wasn’t being completed or shown to her...How could she? And of course, tonight she had more serious thoughts and concerns, than any of us cared to understand. The weight of the world was truly on her shoulders, and she endured this burden by herself.
Sandy got picked up around 7:00. Meanwhile, the rest of us began settling in my room, which doubled as the den. The T.V. was in my room, but my room was only “my room” when it came to sleeping. I don’t know how my bedroom became the bedroom/den, but it did. The TV started out in the living room but somehow ended up in my room. I was still playing with my fort, and getting my Indians ready to attack anew. My plastic trees and boulders offered protection, but for how long. Now, my soldiers had to be positioned, some on the upper platform, stretching around the inner portion of the fort. Some in the four towers, one in each corner. Others were at the gate (inside of course)…and the rest strewn about the various buildings within the fort. We were well fortified and heavily armed. Did I mention the canons? The Indians didn’t have a chance.
Arlene was now in my room, messing with some of the Indians’ positions.
“Leave them alone, Arlene. That’s the way I want them. Quit moving them!”
She didn’t stop, of course, because she preferred to annoy me. That is until my father sidled in.
“You kids finished your homework?” he asked.
“Yes, daddy,” Arlene boasted.
“Yes, daddy,” I muttered without looking up.
I could see his slippers and the bottom of his bathrobe clinging to his blue striped pajamas, as he slowly headed to my bed that doubled as the couch.
“Good,” My father said.
“Good” He echoed to no one or nothing, in particular.
He turned on the TV and positioned himself on my bed lying down with a pillow under his head so he could view the television. His feet were toward the set. I was sitting on the hard floor, half way up the bed, facing in the same direction, with my stage in front of me, for I was not as enamored with old Ed Sullivan as everyone else. I would quietly have my own show taking place during the program, just in case I didn’t like who Ed had on this night. Arlene was sitting slightly in front of me diagonally to my left.
We were prepared to spend the next hour together, when the phone rang.
© 2012 Allen Smuckler
Added on March 17, 2012
Last Updated on March 17, 2012
My Life (A Child's View)
AboutI'm a poet, a singer, a peaceful gunslinger.. looking to share my poetry..and a little bit of me...if I dare I 've been writing since I was 18.... am slightly older now, and still trying to fin.. more..
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