“We are not merely always telling the truth; we are making it.” --Ira Allen
I told the truth that night, what seemed to be the truth as I was making it the truth at the time. I said I was staying.
Plus facile à dire qu'a faire. [i]
I said things like, “We’ve had worse before!” and I thought we had. This was part of my carefully constructed truth.
J’ai le cafard. [ii]
But in the making of the truth that followed, I saw that things could be worse than before because I had been incapable of conceiving “worse” at the time I was constructing that piece of truth, my own square acre of truth.
Ma faute. [iii]
Collectively, the worse was being made among our own truths, made obdurate. Their truth. Our truth. My truth.
La moutarde me monte au nez. [iv]
I said I would stay, which was my truth. It happened twice before. The second time, we were in Paris. We ate crepes on the street, assuaged that we had voted early. The truth: believing my vote mattered.
Laissez tomber. [v]
Why did I promise to stay? Why was it the first thing I said aloud, at the television, sitting alone? Who was I promising? Would I have made this commitment to myself, to the television, to the air, had my truth been more malleable? If I had some sort of imaginings of what was worse or the worst?
Je sais très bien mais tout de même... [vi]
I fell into fitful sleep where I dreamed of moving to Paris. I put down an $800 deposit to buy some kind of apartment near Montmartre. I had my choice of master-chef kitchens with cupboard doors with glass inserts of different designs: clear, or pinstriped, or free-formed hand-blown. After putting down the deposit, I walked out into the fall afternoon, smelling wood smoke, the leaves blood red drifting down onto the cobblestone streets.
What of this dreamscape-constructed truth?
J'ai aimé ce rêve. J'ai vraiment aimé ce rêve. [vii]
When I woke, I looked around the room, thinking that I could leave all this behind. The sofa, the bed, the side table. The lamps, the dishes, the desk. The blender, the radio, the television. Start again.
Je dis ça. [viii]
Instead, I went to a lecture about the truthfulness of fantasy and the fantasy of truth. I learned that I had a truth and was making the truth. And now I had a decision to make. A decision. Because in my life of reading, I believe I am part of a long line of thinkers. That I have inhaled the air of ideas from people who defined truth, and wrote about truth, and defined and wrote about truth. Now there is something else that I must do.
Je sais très bien mais tout de même… [ix]
[i] Easier said than done
[ii] I’m feeling down
[iii] My bad
[iv] I’m getting angry (literally, the mustard is getting to my nose!)
[v] Let it go/drop it
[vi] I know very well, but all the same…
[vii] I loved that dream. I truly loved that dream
[viii] Just sayin’
[ix] I know very well, but all the same…
(Please excuse the poorly constructed French slang; all errors are mine [and the internet's].)