21 March 2013

White lies

No one really liked Frank. Not even his wife. Would you like someone who toasted thus: “Happy 25th anniversary, to two people who can barely stand each other”?

To be fair, it was true enough of Raj and Julie, and everyone in the room knew it. But how dare he bring it up at this moment? A pregnant pause. Glares and mutters. Alison stared at her plate rather than look at her husband. They had been married nearly as long as the couple they were all here to celebrate.

“Uhm, excuse me. I seem to be quite drunk!” Frank still couldn’t stop grinning. “To Raj and Julie!”

Everyone raised their glasses of champagne. Raj thumped Frank on the back as people turned their attention back to appraising the cost of the flowers and Julie’s dress.

Alison attacked the salad. They had watched Silver Linings Playbook last week, and Frank had, it would seem, taken Jennifer Lawrence quite seriously. “We’re not liars like they are”, she had said, her eyes sparkling out of the silver screen. And all week long, Frank had sat around telling the truth.

How typical, thought Alison. How typical of Frank to only hear what he wanted to hear. Jennifer Lawrence – or should she say Tiffany – had lied plenty when it suited her. “It’s a white lie,” she had said, shrugging. At least she had looked mighty uncomfortable.

Frank and Alison didn’t say a word to each other while walking home. Each knew what the other was thinking – or thought they did. They walked silently up their drive. Frank unlocked the door and went upstairs. Alison picked up her magazine, and followed.

She waited till his snores were loud enough, put on her coat and slipped out. He would never know.

Later that night, with Raj’s arms around her, she asked, “Where’s Julie?”

“At home, asleep,” he replied, kissing her. She always was.

“It’s a white lie,” thought Alison, as she drifted off.

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