The first time I told a lie that was not so innocent was around the time I was eight years old. My older sister had caught me using a string of profanity as I exited the school bus. I had mumbled the string of hair raising sailor swears under my breath unaware that my sister was standing at the foot of the bus door. As soon as I saw her widened eyes and her hand grasped tightly over her mouth I knew that I was in trouble. “Please, don’t tell dad” I pleaded with tears spilling over the corner of my eyes. She grasped her book bag to her shoulder and sprinted up the big hill to where our large blue house sat ominously, surrounded by wire fence and discarded car parts. I saw her sprint up the front steps to the house, and then she turned to me and the words that I had dreaded for the first eight years of my life was carried from her lips to my ears by the wind. “Wait to dad hears” she shouted, as she disappeared into the large tan front doors of my house.
I entered the house moments later with downcast eyes, a runny nose and a unimaginable sinking feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I had cursed and the shame of it burned deep in my throat. My father sat there on the couch, with my sister pointing in my direction telling him the details of my double life on the bus as a foul mouth. I lowered my eyes in shame as he approached me. His voice boomed like thunder as he asked me the question that he already knew the answer to. I shifted nervously on my feet, and before I knew it, the lie had poured from my lips and into his ears before my brain had the chance to interfere.
The story my eight year old brain had created was elaborate, brimming with details that would show that it was not I who had cursed, but my sister. It was my sister who (according to my story) had gotten so mad at me that she pushed me to the ground, pushed my face into the ground and had called me a string of colorful words. After I told the story my father faced my sister. To my horror and disbelief she accepted the story, knowing that this lie had she revealed it as one, would have gotten me five swats with the belt, and a week with out television. Her eyes filled with sorrow as she was sent to her room after receiving a swat with the belt. It was at that moment I learned the meaning of remorse.
My sister was gentle and kind, and truthful. There was no way she could have did such hurtful things to me. It was against her nature, in every way. Even at her own discomforted she had taken the blame for me. Later that night I sat on her bed, as she looked at me without saying a word. Just large brown eyes that were filled with disappointment. I hugged her, and vowed never to lie again. Well it is now15 years later, and I now lie with such a passion that I some times scare myself. Through all my many lies one thing has been certain, I can never bring myself to lie to my sister. No matter what trouble the truth will cause. She is married now, and has moved on with her life, and no doubt will not even recall the story if you were to tell her. I remember though and it actually comes to my mind whenever I tell a lie. My sister has been with me through ever bad time, through every smile, through every love found and lost. I believe that without her, I would not be half of who I am today. It breaks my heart when I see sisters who quarrel with each other. The bond I have with my sister has withstood the tests of time, through lies and truth and will for years to come. I just wish that every little girl who has a sister will take the time to realize that a sister is not only your flesh and blood, she is your saving grace and the only one who knows your flaws but will love you anyway.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.