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Not for Nothing

March 13, 2006

I remember the first lie I told. My friend Garrett and I wanted to walk to the raspberry fields across from our two houses. I told my mother that his mother would come with us, so we could go alone. We walked the thirty feet to the field and then, slowly, up between the rows. Dry straw lay flat on the raised beds. It was late spring. In August, the bushes would grow high enough to block us from the street, and we would skim the first berries, reaching up, before the pickers came.

We walked between the rows in separate channels and stopped halfway to the pond. We looked back along the compressed earth. I picked up a stick and scraped straw away. We had the afternoon to ourselves. I wanted to leave.

Lying has grown more complicated since then. I remember that young lie because I don’t tell that kind now. I write stories, and so I don’t pretend that alternate realities are real. These days, I lie by silence. I lie by not asking and not objecting. It’s easy to say ‘I love you’ and hard to say ‘I’m afraid for you’. It’s easy to hold someone; it’s hard to say how much it means that they will hold me.

Garrett and I are still friends. He lives two thousand miles away, and he’s engaged to a woman I don’t know. We talk about occupation and objectivism. We have cared for each other a long time, and we see each other not often enough. In December, we walked past the raspberry fields in a mist that hid the pond. A lighted window hung in the haze of the woods, and the air was warm if we kept moving.

We were alone for the only time this visit. I asked what he did in his free time. He told me he wanted to start an evening of conversations at his apartment, once a month. That was all we had time for. He called me later on my birthday. He gave me a bottle of raspberry wine.

Written by Katherine Abbott of Spring Farm Almanac.

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  1. March 13, 2006 at 9:11 am

    This little essay is packed with the unsaid. Beautifully written, controlled — and loaded with the feeling of nerve lying along bone. Thank you, Katherine. It’s good to have your words here.

  2. March 13, 2006 at 8:16 pm

    This is gorgeous, Kate, sharp and tight and poignant.

    It’s easy to say ‘I love you’ and hard to say ‘I’m afraid for you’. It’s easy to hold someone; it’s hard to say how much it means that they will hold me.

    Yes.

    and I love these images:

    In December, we walked past the raspberry fields in a mist that hid the pond. A lighted window hung in the haze of the woods, and the air was warm if we kept moving.

    A lighted window hung in the haze of the woods…wow.

  3. March 14, 2006 at 9:29 am

    It seems a little unfair that you can say more in five paragraphs than many people say in a year. Thank you for this beautiful piece.

  4. MB
    March 14, 2006 at 9:48 am

    This is a beautiful little piece. The said and the unsaid, lies and love…

  5. Katherine
    March 24, 2006 at 10:23 am

    Thank you, all of you. It means a lot.

  6. March 31, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    Oh, wonderful! A whole relationship in a few strokes, like the way a master artist can suggest so much with a few lines.

  7. Tony Press
    March 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Discovered Qarrtsiluni’s “random” button today and have had a fine time with five or six things that have popped up. But I’m stopping for now, because this little piece is exquisite and I want to hold on to it for awhile. Simply a joy to read.
    And after reading it twice, I noticed the date: five years ago today.

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