The lies they told

The lies they told weren’t outlandish. They weren’t meant to be harmful. How could they possibly know the depths to which the little white lies would cut?

My parents, or the people I grew to know as parents, weren’t bad people. They were, like all others, simply people. They loved, they laughed, they learned as they grew. They were like me. But different, too.

These two, Betra and Peter, they raised me, molded me, guided me in all things. I believe they loved me, as much as anyone could. I know I loved them. As much as my little heart could.

They saved me, after all. It wasn’t until they were gone that I realized how often they lied to me. It took a little longer for me to realize why. They wanted to spare me. Together, they bore the brunt of the shame of my existence. They sheltered me from the worst ravages of society.

The whole of my life was a lie, in one way or another.

They told me I was a normal child. They told me I was theirs, alone. They told me that I could grow to be anything I wanted. They told me that if I was good, life would be good to me.

Betra and Peter didn’t tell me that they weren’t really my mother and father. They didn’t tell me that they were proud parents to four natural-born children. They didn’t tell me that I had another set of parents. They didn’t tell me that life wasn’t as grand as they painted. They didn’t tell me what to do once they were gone.

They left suddenly, the two of them. I didn’t even know they’d left the small house we all shared. I awoke to find myself alone. For three days, I waited, although at the time I didn’t realize it had been three days. The programs they left running for me didn’t have a night and day sequence. I didn’t even know there was a real door, leading to the outside world.

Not until the others came. The black uniforms with red arm patches frightened me. Not as much as the solid ebony faces, though. I’d only seen faces with describable, memorable features before. Faces like Peter’s, with brown eyes, wide noses, and white teeth behind thin lips.

The others hadn’t expected me, either. I could tell by the excited babble that passed among them. They didn’t have words, not like Betra and Peter’s words. But I felt the anger, the hatred in the air when the others crashed into the program room. I tried to run, but my legs were thin and brittle, not solid and agile like the black-clad ones that ran me down. I tried to fight, using the techniques that Peter’s favorite program had drilled into me. The program he used to teach me things Betra didn’t want me to learn. That was another lie, but it was a lie we told, me and Peter.

But the fighting I’d learned was no match for the strength and size of the uniformed intruders. In the end, I’d succumbed. And learned how Betra and Peter had lied to me.


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