Today I lied.
I’m not in the business of lying. Life is easier when you don’t. I don’t like to do it, and I try really hard not to—maybe too hard. But today I lied.
I told everyone the same lie.
It’s the same lie I told when this happened before.
You see, at work, I have a reputation. I have a reputation for working out a lot. Most everyone knows that I just ran the local marathon. I did pretty well, and I told them.
But that’s not what I lied about. Why lie about that? That’s something to be proud of, right?
Today I lied about the spots around my eyes.
When the first one asked me what was up with my eyes, I said “lifting weights.” And I said it as I was turning away from him, so he wouldn’t hear, and I wouldn’t have to repeat myself. But when I turned round, he made me repeat myself. “It happens sometimes, when I lift weights.”
Then I elaborated the lie a little bit. “I guess I just have really thin blood vessels around my eyes. I don’t know. It’s always been like that. The slightest exertion, and all the blood vessels round my eyes burst.” It goes away in a couple of days. Which is good because it means that in a couple of days, I can stop lying to people.
And that was that. No more questions. Until the other one asked me. I told him the same bullshit. The only difference was that this time, the elaboration was real. I told him it used to happen a lot when I would play-fight with my dad. He’d pin me down and I’d get so worked up that the blood vessels around my eyes would burst.
That’s not what happened this time. I haven’t had a play-fight with my dad for at least ten years.And I wouldn’t let myself lift weights so hard that I strained burst blood vessel round my eyes.
So what really happened?
Yesterday, when I got home from work, I cried. Hard. For a long time.
About an hour before I left work yesterday, I got the feeling. That feeling you get when you know you’re going to cry.
The feeling you get when you know you’re going to cry for no reason.
Like the feeling you get right before you start to cry at a funeral. Or the feeling you get when you’re a kid and you’re getting picked on and you walk away, and you feel that feeling that feels like if someone says “Are you OK?” your whole world will collapse and you’ll cry on their shoulder forever.
I kept it down while I was at work.
The moment the door closed behind me on the way out of the restaurant, the feeling intensified.
My walk home is only about five minutes. But I leave work at the time the high school kids get out. I couldn’t let them see. My eyes were probably already glassy, though, by the time I walked past the high school. I had my hood up though, so no one could see me.
I got my keys out of my pocket at the halfway point, like I always do. The three steps to the door were a physical effort. I put the key in the door, unlocked it, pushed the door closed behind me, and collapsed on the floor.
I cried for, actually I have no idea how long I cried for. Time was irrelevant. I was just crying. On the floor. In my living room. Crying.
I don’t really know why. There are a bunch of things I can point to. But none of them is really a reason.
I’m living in a country full of wonderful people, that labours under so many self delusions it makes my head spin. A country that, unlike so many of the unfortunate souls here, I chose to live in.
Winter is coming. That means snow. That means cold. That means that thing called Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I stopped exercising last week. I just finished my most significant season of racing ever. I figured I needed a break.
The Ph.D I’m no longer entirely convinced I wanted to start, finish, or even have, is looming over me.
The end of the Ph.D means I’m under a lot of outside pressure to find ‘a real job’, which specifically means, because of the draconian nature of the country I chose to live in, one with good ‘benefits’ (one of the many self-delusions).
That’s pushed me over the edge. When I had my key in the door, I was pretty sure I was going to be able to keep it together.
But when I opened the door, I saw the package. Innocuous enough, but its contents related to the Ph.D, and I wasn’t ready to deal with that. I don’t want to do with it.
How many people have been driven to the foetal position on their living room floor by the sight of a package they ordered from Amazon a few days ago? Now, at least one.
I knew I wasn’t going to be able to hide it from my wife. As soon as she got home, she saw it. Well, not as soon as she got home. I was halfway through telling her something and she started tilting her head to get a better look at the eye. Before she could say anything, I said “Yeah, I spent the first twenty minutes after I got home crying on the living room floor. I’m going swimming later.”
“Okay, good.” And the conversation continued.
I went swimming, thinking it would help. It has in the past. I’ll be in a funk, go swimming, or riding, or running, and about halfway through, I’ll feel an almost-mechanical thunk. My brain is reset. (Swimming is my osteopath?)
That didn’t work last night.
And anyway, it would have done nothing for the panda eyes. So when I got to work today, I lied.
Today I lied, because it’s easier to say “I did it lifting weights!” than it is to say “It happened when I was laying on the floor crying and wondering why.”
I lied today.