A True Story

Your mother lied to you. That’s the truth.

Watermelon seeds won’t grow into watermelons in your belly. You may have seen some women before who were exceptionally round, but I promise you that they were not filled with growing watermelons.

I remember the look you gave me when you were four and we were on the bus. A pregnant woman sat across from you and your eyes grew so big. You didn’t say anything, but your pale little face radiated concern. That night you wouldn’t eat any fruit I offered you, and it took me forever to figure out why.

You should know, too, that squishing a spider won’t make it rain. Your mother lied about that, too, but I have to say, I loved your crusade against spider-squishers when you were seven.

I know you still won’t put your shoes on a table, and you’ll only ever open an umbrella when you’re outside, but I hope you know that they’re not really bad luck at all. You may even save yourself from getting a little wet, because it always takes you so long to fiddle with your umbrella in the rain—if you would let me, I’d buy you a new one, one that opens with the push of a button. But I know that yours is your favourite, because it’s your lucky colour, and it withstood that wicked storm that left us without power for two days last year.

Your mother lied about a lot of things. And maybe that’s where the trouble was. I’ve always been a terrible liar. I’ve never been good at pretending. You two always seemed to speak in some other language. The watermelon didn’t drop far from the vine.

But I always reminded you to take your coat with you when you went out. I bought you toothpaste and cold medicine, and I read through your report cards. That was saying something, in a way.

She wove you the most incredible stories, though. She really had a gift for it, and I was jealous of how you believed them and listened to her with such admiration.

She loved those lies. Probably more than she loved me.

But I want you to remember that she lied. And I want you to believe me when I say that I love you, and I miss you, kid. Maybe it’s not magic or remarkable. It’s not a fabulous lie, but I’ve always loved you. I’ve never been able to say anything more.

Once upon a time, I loved her, and she loved me too.

Chelsea Humphries is a fledgling writer based in Toronto, Canada. She holds an MA in English Literature and has previously worked as an assistant editor for ECW Press. When not amusing herself with her writing, she currently works as a yoga instructor and library assistant while studying Library Science at the University of Toronto.