The strange thing was she never did make an issue of my failure to produce the pills. The details of where I hid the pills or why I took them in the first place suddenly did not matter. I spent the next two weeks grounded in my room, and that was the end of the cycle. However, the situation continued to reel in my mind. Did I take the pills? I was no longer sure. Truth was losing its meaning. Perhaps I never understood it to begin with.
The cycle repeated many times over the course of the year, always centering on theft or missing items. I was beaten with the belt, I confessed and the matter was settled with a simple grounding to my room. My mother accused me of being a “pathological liar” and a kleptomaniac.
I’m sorry these things were stolen, but I cannot recall taking them.
I seemed to spend increasing amounts of time in my room, more than anywhere else in the world. I began to fear returning home from school each afternoon. On at least four occasions, I was accused of theft and eventually confessed my responsibility.
My mother and Alice’s bedroom was right beside mine; the doors stood side-by-side opening into the living room. This meant that most of the “stolen” objects were from her room; apparently I crept in and conducted the thefts after everyone else was sleeping. I was rarely left home alone though. The only privacy I got was when I was out in the forest exploring. How or when these thefts were conducted was a mystery, but I was the only possibility my mother was willing to consider, so she must be right.
Confession led to relief from the screaming and occasional beatings. I preferred spending the week in my room rather than enduring the seemingly endless cycle. So I found a shortcut, a new approach to truth. I began to confess to the accusations immediately, avoiding the cycle. Everything would then return to normal; I’d get a big warm hug and kiss before going to bed and within two days the incident was all but forgotten.
However, when truth is constantly reinventing itself, how do you cling to what is real?
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