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Read Letter

The Good Liar

Dear Jack,

Here’s a story I came across some weeks ago. Contains serious lessons. Happy reading!

“He sat face to face with the Counsellor. The session took place in the counsellor’s study. He sat in a parson chair, the Counsellor in a velvety blue Poet’s accent chair. The room was rugged, very comfortable. An oak wooden desk occupied some real estate. It sported a table lamp. The furnishing suggested a rigorous attempt at insouciance to the world with all its noise. He was a bit fidgety.
The Counsellor removed his glasses – quite a thick pair, held it up by the limb, crossed his legs and rubbed his eyes. “I hope you will listen to me James. You’re about to lose your wife.” James adjusted uncomfortably in his chair, drew his knees closer – an involuntary jerk. The announcement permeated his marrow, burrowing in through the patella. “Someone needs to tell you hard truth. At some point a man must confront the issues in his life. And you know your issues. You’re living a lie, a false life; and you’re misusing your gift of intelligence.”

He sat looking down, like a chastened dog forced to confront a defecated egregiousness. “This woman is the stabilizing factor in your life. You don’t know it but I’m telling you. Wives usually are. You can’t appreciate her role because you’re too self absorbed. You’re blinded by selfishness. Sometimes people can’t recognize the salvation of God. This woman is your salvation for you. If you lose her…” The words hung in the air, between the ceilinged heaven and the carpeted earth. His throat went dry… His Adam’s apple moved up and down, uncomfortably adjusting itself to swallowing lumps of truth.

Lumps of truth are like lumps of eba, the granulated African cassava staple drowned in very hot water for development. They smear the throat unaccompanied. Eba needs an experienced lubricant like okro soup. The words in his throat can’t form themselves despite his best intentions. He was feeling most comfortable. His hands were balmy. He feigned to look up through his Tom Ford eyeglasses. Not that he needed the glasses; it was all part of the image construct, part of the “packaging”. He fancied himself a preppy man – at home in Oxford or Cambridge, or any ivy league school. Eton. Knotted bow tie, Gant sweater, white collared shirt, stripped, like a model in a Ralph Lauren advert. It’s a big part of the problem actually. He imagines himself a debonair, a man of the world. Suave, smooth, dashing. A James Bond character without the smoke and mirrors. Just smoky whisky. The man who sets women’s hearts racing. It’s a character he created for himself, an avatar he steps into at will as a denizen of the vast virtual reality world.

He can be anything on the internet. He’s out there skyping strange women, talking smooth. He fakes travels – one day he’s just returned from Puerto Rico, the next from Los Angeles. It’s all catfish. It’s a role he enjoys immensely. Allows him to live his dreams, to be all he’s ever wanted without the cost of preparation. He can make promises that can’t be fulfilled, or found out. That is the incongruity of geographical and virtual reality. Geographical separation across oceans of data allows for virtual role-playing, and preying.

And so he’s one person on the internet, and another in church. He’s the piano-playing, decent, well-behaved boy who says hallelujah with gentlemanly affectation in church. The one who can’t hurt a fly; but he’s also the ravishing svelte who toasts continental women on the internet.

The sum of these two realities creates a third character – the one the wife knows too well – the lying, cheating, untrustworthy husband who lies about everything: lies about his qualifications, lies about his job, lies about his pay cheque, lies about travelling… But disingenuously creates confessional smokescreens when the truth threatens to rear its bald head. That picture of overlapping avatars suppressing and oppressing the truth about him is her pain and sorrow. But because he’s a public relations maestro, an inventive inveterate liar, a smooth operator and method acting character, he’s an executive producer – directing roles, imaginations and scenarios… Nobody believes her. He even lied about not being paid for a whole year, all the while living on her salary and his secreted pay.

There’s a problem with lying however: you have to invent new lies to maintain the fraying integrity of a native lie. And that’s the bind he’s found himself in. He’s a spider caught in his own spawned misinformation web. Truth is, he’s ashamed of under-achievement despite the promise in his life. So he makes it up in volumes of lies. His talents, parentage, education and background have created expectations and assumptions. He can’t match them. And he began to solve the problem by creating false qualifications and false achievements. A new life was born. He graduated from social liar to occupational liar to existential liar. But the lies are colliding within the sanctity and covenants of marriage.

“You can’t keep living these multiple personalities, James. You’ll injure your future. And you won’t be able to make the necessary investment to lift your status to the station of your desires.” The Counsellor wasn’t sure he was getting through. With such men you never know. But this is the much he can do. The guy doesn’t even know himself anymore. He’s lived a lie for so long the lines are seriously blurred, his conscience compromised. But he knows he doesn’t want to be three personages. He’s not the Trinity. It’s tearing him apart. Low self esteem, inferiority complex…, the Counsellor wrote in his pad. His unfortunate wife is caught in the web of avatars. She’s a victim. Now she just stares into space.

The only way out is for James to murder his alternate self. He must kill the Internet James! And he has to come to terms with the fact that he needs help. “My dear James, you need help!” “Let me tell you how this ends… You will die under-qualified for your dreams. Your classmates will outdistance you and begin to avoid you. They’ll know you’re always representing. You’ll be a disappointment to your children. They’ll find you out and resent you, if not hate you. At some point you’ll lose your wife. And that will be the greatest blow of all. You have deep issues James. It’s high time you confront them.”

© Leke Alder |

Tags : Wife, False, Lie

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