This I Believe

peter - slingerlands, New York
Entered on November 8, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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To Lie or Not To Lie

If you took a look at me when I was 5, you would say I was like most others. But there was one dark side of me. I had a blatant disregard for the law…

The Scatena household was usually peaceful, full of joy, bike rides through the suburban neighborhood, and fun filled times. But occasionally I look back and see a lesson in my past ages. Although some days could be exceptional, others could be filled with lies, and because of this, punishment. I learned on those days that everything has some form of silver lining, but you need to make an effort to find it. No matter how bad the truth may seem, you must face your fears and let it be released.

Throughout this process you will find that the grim day that was in progress will get better, and the sun will eventually shine through.

There was a rule in place in my household. My sister was 7, I was 5, and my brother was 2. Due to this, my mother (reasonably) did not trust us to be shiny clean when we ate. Therefore, she did not allow us to eat anywhere but in the kitchen. My 5 year old brain, filled with thoughts of rebellion, could not quite grasp this concept. Why not? How come? Most of the time I followed the rule, but on this day my 2nd personality (the side that had a disregard for the law), shined bright.

That day my mom had planned for us to go see the new movie, “Rugrats in Paris”. While I was waiting, I played a game on the computer that probably taught me how to count, read the alphabet… something like that. I was munching on crackers, salty and crispy. I don’t remember if I was aware of my rule breaking or not, but I know that when I left the room, those crackers stayed there.

* * *

My mom walked through the hall. Her footsteps rung through the house. She peered in the office. No kids there. As she took a closer look she saw a box of crackers sitting next to the computer, no big deal. She called through the door of the basement to me and my sister, who were playing in a tunnel made out of slinky looking contraptions, blankets, and pillows. Jolly good fun.

As we heard her voice come from the stairs, we hurriedly ran upstairs. I was unaware of the reason. Unaware of my mistake.

“Who was eating crackers in the office?” My mother questioned.

Thoughts went through my head like flies through the air. Should I lie? Should I be truthful? What will the consequences be?

I could not contain my bad side. I lied.

“I didn’t do it.” I stammered. My sister said the same. My mom gave us a weird look. A look of curiosity, yet still filled with understanding. There was a hint of disappointment mixed in.

My mom decided to use us going to see the Rugrats Movie to her advantage. Being a mom, she knew what she was about to say would torture the criminal, until they had to confess. The guilt would squeeze it out of them like a hand squeezes the juice out of a lemon.

“OK,” she said, “unless someone confesses, our plans of seeing the Rugrats Movie won’t occur. That is, IF someone does not confess.” She turned and walked away, leaving us with a lot to think about.

The next hour was filled with questions. Could I strike up enough courage to confess? Would my lies affect my sister? I sat in my house, not knowing what to do, for what seemed like a long time.

I continued to weigh my options. Will my mom’s punishment equal itself out after seeing the movie? Will I get punished at all? I knew that eventually she would find out. That’s when I realized I was only digging myself into a deeper and deeper hole. The longer I lied, the deeper that hole would get, and I would have less of a chance of crawling my way out. I knew what I had to do.

* * *

“I did it.” There it was, the confession. My rebel streak was dead. I had conformed. I was, I was… good.

I could tell my mom was disappointed. Despite this, she called my sister up, and we all loaded into the car.

* * *

The Rugrats Movie was pretty good. Tommy’s performance was average, but Chucky stole the show. That’s not the point, though. The satisfaction of seeing that movie was like unsweetened chocolate. It had all the potential to be sweet and great tasting, but without that good intentioned effort of adding sugar it could never taste like a real chocolate bar. I hope you have learned from my experiences, no matter how minor they may seem. The world is filled with choices. Some may be good, but sometimes these choices can lead you into a bad situation. These are the times that you want to go back in time to reverse your actions, the times when you know there is only one way out, the truth. So listen to that little voice in your head. As I said, you may find that silver lining.