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Lying to Make Them Feel Better

By Venus Wright

I never thought the night would turn out like this. Lilith is sitting in a ball on the floor of the club’s bathroom, head in her hands as the bass pumps outside the door beside us. I’m rubbing her shoulder back and forth with my thumb. With my other hand I take a pull off of my vape, blueberry smoothie ice. Not my favorite, but the shop was all out of pineapple mango this week. The device hums as I breathe in. 

“Can I have a hit of that?” Lilith takes a hand off of her head and puts it out to me. 

I hold the vapor in my chest, and it gets stuck for a moment when she speaks. In the four years she and I had been best friends, she had only ever smelt the mouthpiece. Each time saying “smells so gooooood” and smiling cheekily. And whenever I’d tease her with “I dare you to hit it” she’d shake her head while smiling and put it back up to her nose. “I couldn’t”, she’d say. 

I breathed out the cool blueberry vapor and slowly placed the vape in her hand. 

She mumbled a “thanks” and took a small hit. She coughed as soon as the vapor hit her lungs, cleared her throat, and hit it once more. And once more after that. 

“Hey, hey, you might not want to go so hard.” 

She paused with the vape halfway to her mouth. She dropped her hand to her knees and stared at the sinks. 

“I just don’t get it. Two fucking years. Two years, Melanie. And he goes and fucks off with some skank like her after a week? A week?? She flashed the whole dance floor, for Christ sake. And he got mad at me for wearing crop tops. Argued with me until I’d change. The fucking nerve he has.” 

“You know he doesn’t deserve you. If that’s the respect he’s shown you and is showing you now he’s clearly a fucking asshole.” 

I leaned my head on her shoulder and squeezed it with my hand. 

We were both silent for a little while, just the two of us on that dirty bathroom floor that breached on being a health hazard. I held my hand out to her and she placed my vape inside. I took a hit. 

“Do you think, maybe, we’ll get back together?” 

Lilith sounded like a child asking for forgiveness, her tone small and shaky. “I just…I really miss him, Mel…I-” Her voice caught in her throat. 

I lifted my head from her shoulder. She was crying, silent tears streaming down her flushed, intoxicated cheeks. Every feature on my face turned down. I rubbed her shoulder with my entire hand. I knew the answer, and so did she, but she didn’t at the same time. In her mind, he still wanted her. In her mind there was hope for them, because they had history and she had feelings. 

I opened my mouth to speak but closed it. I sighed sharply. Lilith and I never lie to each other, but this time I don’t know what other choice I have. I couldn’t be straight with her when her ex is humping some hoe not even a hundred feet away. I could be straight with her later, when she’s sober and in a safe space. 

“I know you miss him, baby. I can’t say for sure but I think there’s a chance you’ll get back together,” There wasn’t. “You guys were good together,” Questionable. “I know he made you happy,” Especially questionable. “And just because y’all aren’t together now doesn’t mean you won’t be later.” 

I paused, she stayed silent. 

“Maybe we should get out of here. We can go get wine-drunk and watch shitty TV.” 

I gave her shoulder a nudge. She smiled lightly. I grabbed her hand and locked mine with hers, gave it a squeeze. 

“Come on.” I said gently. 

I gradually began to get up, pulling Lilith up with me on her wobbly legs. I pulled her into a tight hug, as if trying to absorb her hurt, her tears, just let her have a good night like we’d planned. She squeezed back after a moment. As I let go I held her biceps with my arms and looked directly into her eyes. 

“We are going to have a good night. We came for a good night, and we may be leaving, but we are still going to have a good ass night, just the two of us. It’s gonna be okay, Lilith.” 

Lilith smiled. She wiped the tears from her eyes, sniffled, and nodded.

“Thank you. I love you.” 

“I love you, Lilith.” 

Her posture got a little taller, and just a little bit more when she straightened herself out in the mirror. I smiled. She would be okay. I may have had to lie, and I may have to do it again, but at least she would be okay. She needed to hear what she wanted rather than the harsh truth: he wasn’t coming back. It was too soon after their breakup to drop her further into the depths of her heartache. I know in a few weeks from now she’ll be coming abruptly into my room with a rant of “what was I thinking?” 

It happened every time she was heartbroken. 

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