Tell the Truth

By Linda Vasenius

Tell the Truth

We want to believe that people tell the truth. What we find sometimes is that some people embellish or twist the facts in such a way as to make us believe an untruth.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was shocked to discover that my closest girlfriend had a date with my “steady” boyfriend. I was told this, of course, by another “friend.” One of those friends who so wanted to be liked by others that she would spread a rumor and even embellish it to make it seem more shocking.

I was stunned, and my classmates were shocked. She flaunted her news around the school, over to the malt shop, as well as up and down the streets of town. Soon, I felt people whispering behind my back, glancing sideways at me, then turning away.

I was furious. First, I was upset with my boyfriend, the one that gave me his senior class ring which hung around my neck on a cord. Second, I was crushed that my best girlfriend had a date with my “man” and last, but not least, I was furious with the girl spreading the news. Thoughts of revenge swirled around my head. I decided I would stage a meltdown in front of the hot shot boyfriend. I would throw the ring at him, maybe aim for an eye, or, better yet, his lower mid section. As for the pretend best girlfriend, I decided to ignore her and act like I didn’t want to be her friend any more, though I regretted thinking that immediately. She and I had been best friends for a long time, since sixth grade. But, how could she have done this? As for pretty Miss Tattle Tale, I would think up something really awful to tell people about her. I was not sure what that might be, but something would come to me.

I slouched around the hallways with a storm cloud hanging over my head, scowling at people, shoving my way to the lockers. And, there stood my handsome boyfriend smiling at me.

“Hey, beautiful. How you doing?” He shoved one hand into a pocket of his letter jacket.

The audacity of him. I was outraged. Did he think I wouldn’t find out? How could he act so nonchalant?

“Don’t speak to me.” I snarled. I twisted on the cord with the ring, trying to pull it over my head, but it became tangled in my hair. It hurt like crazy!

“What’s the matter with you?” he asked, reaching out to help me unsnarl the cord.

“Leave me alone. I know about you and Betsy, you jerk. Everyone in the school knows you dated her. How could you?” I gave the cord a final jerk and it broke, spilling the ring onto the floor.

He bent over at the same time I did to retrieve it, and we bumped heads. “Ow, what are you talking about? I didn’t date Betsy. Gees, why would I do that?”

Tears were leaking from my eyes as I examined his face. Was he telling the truth? I snatched up the ring and held it close to me.

Betsy rounded the corner and almost fell over us crouched on the floor as we stared into each other’s face.

“Hey what are you guys doing?” I looked up at her with tears in my eyes. “Gosh, what happened?” she asked.

“I was told that you and Jerry had a date,” I hissed, venting my anger. “Mary Jo told me that you two went on a date.”

“You don’t believe her, do you?” asked Betsy. “I wouldn’t do that to my best friend.”

I looked at her wanting to believe her. Yet, a nagging doubt tore at my heart.

“I don’t know what to believe.” The tears were building, and I was thankful for the bell ringing to signal it was time to change classes. I scurried down the hall and into the girls’ bathroom for a quick splash of water to rinse my face.

I heard whispering inside the stalls.

“Did you hear? Jerry is dating Betsy. They were at the Dairy Queen sharing a banana split.”

The voice sounded familiar. It was Mary Jo.

“Mary Jo,” I shouted. “Come out of that stall this minute, you witch. You are spreading a vicious lie. Jerry is still my boyfriend.”

Mary Jo peeked out the door of the stall. “Oh, hi. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Other people saw them too. I can give you names.”

I slammed the door of the stall on her fingers before I stormed out of the bathroom and ran to catch Jerry before he went into his chemistry class.

“Jerry,” I yelled trying to find the ring. Where had I put it? “Did you split a banana, I mean, did you share a banana split with Betsy? Did you lie to me?” I found the ring in my skirt pocket and thrust it at him.

“Gee whiz, what is wrong with you? We were planning your surprise birthday party. Sure, I stole a bite of her banana split, but it didn’t mean anything.” He turned and went into the classroom, shutting the door in my face.

That was the moment I learned a valuable lesson. People do lie. But, sometimes it might be a case of misinformation. Mary Jo saw what she thought were two people on a date. Did she lie? No. Did she misconstrue? Yes. I learned not to jump to conclusions, but to gently sift through the information searching for the truth. It is there, somewhere.

About this writer

  • Linda Vasenius Linda Vasenius and her husband retired to the Myrtle Beach area in 2007. She was a librarian for many years, a job that she found truly rewarding. Her interests now include reading, knitting, seeing friends, volunteering and writing.

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