Ben lied like he was born with a silver tongue. He came up with such daring lies, and he told them with the straightest of faces, and the most brilliant sparkle in his eye.
You could never tell when he was lying. Last week, when he got home late he told Mama, “I came as fast as I could. Those older boys were chasing me cause I beat them in the races at recess! But I had to go the long way to throw ‘em off.”
I could confirm that he did outrace them at recess. We could see he was disheveled and panting. Jade would know if he was running past her house, but she never saw anything amiss.
But Mama was smart, too, and didn’t care. “Well, if you were being chased, you shoulda come home faster then.” That was the end of that conversation.
His lies always had some truth to them, so we almost never found out. Except that one time.
We’d been goofing off in old Mr. Murphy’s backyard, where the weeds grew up to my shoulders. I loved hiding in there, and Ben would try climbing the fence. He called me over to boost him up. I wasn’t strong enough. He fell on me, hard, and I couldn’t move.
Later, the doctor said my elbow was busted. Ben told Mama how we’d been playing, how he’d climbed the fence by himself, and didn’t look where he was, and fell on me. It was true, but not true.
That’s when he said it.
“It will never happen again, I promise.”
And I never found out if it was the falling or the lying that he meant.