Everyone has someone they can't be entirely honest with. You may think that you can tell each other anything, or that you know all their secrets, but oftentimes this isn't the case.
There is just one thing that you have to lie about. Most of the time, that one thing concerns your relationship.
The ones who lie to save their companion from enduring a sizable amount of pain may be forgiven with enough time and repentance.
But those who lie to save themselves from pain may not be forgiven under any circumstances.
Her faith in me was not a lie. I didn't need her encouragement or anything. I had always been self-assured, and it was plain for everyone to see.
Whether it be athletics or academics, I excelled in it all. The means to succeed just came easily to me. I knew others tried twice as hard and only became half as good. I knew that.
I tried to be as humble as possible, but nothing could've changed my competitors glares from coming my way.
I suppose I could get away with blaming my high school for my less-than-desirable reputation among the students.
Showing off their "prized possession" (me) must have been like rubbing salt in the wound, but refusing to be their trophy might have led to more jeers. I only wanted to be her trophy.
Because she was my supporter, the only reason I ever took pride in winning.
She made flimsy posters bearing my name for my sports meets, dotted with little stars but never hearts.
On the one and only occasion I asked why she neglected to put the one symbol I wanted most on her posters, she turned to me with a smile frozen on her face.
She then playfully pushed me with an "I don't know!" ringing out from her lips.
I could hear her answer loud and clear, but I failed to hear the smile she resolved to keep on her face in her words.
She never failed to call on the eve of every one of my tests, asking if I was getting in any last-minute studying. We didn't share many classes, so she must have memorized my schedule.
I always imagined her bribing my teachers with the gum she always gave me in return for test dates. She always claimed that chewing gum while studying helped memory tasks.
She was probably right, but I always hoped that it was an excuse to talk to me.
When I dismissed her requests of cramming, claiming that I didn't need to, she would always threaten to hold her breath until I swore I would crack open my books and study a little bit more.
I liked to wait ten seconds or so after I heard her enormous inhale before I would "break" and give in to her demands.
I would normally agree to study as soon as she asked, but I refused at first for an excuse to hear her draw heavy breaths.
As soon as a banquet recognizing my excellence was over, she would burst out of her seat (we were never sitting too far away), sprint toward me, and throw her hands around my neck,
burying her face in my shoulder. I couldn't afford to be embarrassed, as this was the only time she would ever hug me.
I savored the contact as long as I could, but she would always break away first. But when she'd pull away, my shoulder would be sodden from her tears.
Other than that tiny hint, she never let me see her cry. That is until I told her about my departure.
I was walking her home from a party we went to because that day was the very last day of high school we would ever have. We were passing her mailbox when I told her.
I had hoped she would be at least a little sad that I was leaving her for a top-rated university, like any other normal friend would be. But she seemed almost entirely happy.
Her eyes lit up brighter than the stars overhead.
"That's great news!" she exclaimed. "A college like that would be difficult to succeed at, even for someone like you! I'm glad you're finally going somewhere that will challenge you."
With that, she turned on her heels and starting skipping towards her door.
"Hey, wait," I said.
She stopped like a girl playing hopscotch would. Her two legs spread out, making her look like an upside-down Y. She kept staring face forward, at the door.
Then I asked the question I was too scared to ask for the past four years. I already knew what her answer would be, but I still hoped to God that it wasn't.
"Why did you cheer me on for all these years?"
She didn't turn around. She acted like she didn't hear me. But she did. Her silence was her answer, the answer I expected. Her silence was also a lie.
I opened my mouth to speak, even though I didn't know what to say, but then she raised her head to look at the stars and asked a question of her own.
"You're leaving for the right reasons, aren't you?"
I couldn't see her reaction to my silence, just like she couldn't see mine. All I knew was that if she was going to lie to me, I was going to lie to her.
I had hoped her reasons for encouraging me all this time was because of love. I wanted her to love me as much as I loved her. I wanted her to love me for winning, winning only for her sake.
Because she was there for me, while everyone was against me. But now I know why she did it. Maybe I've always known.
She must have done something in her youth, something that she couldn't fix. Something that burdened her with an unimaginable amount of guilt.
She wanted desperately to atone, but the person she let down wouldn't grant her any forgiveness.
So in order to claw her way out of the guilt she was buried under, she decided to help someone in order to repent. That person was me. She had done everything she could to help me succeed.
And I had. And because I was now going to a separate college, one far better than hers, her job here was over. Mission accomplished.
She had been so happy to think that she had helped some kid achieve his dreams, so happy that she was finally free from the shackles of guilt.
She had used me to free herself, but she hadn't accounted for my feelings.
I was leaving because I couldn't bear to look at her face knowing that she didn't and would never love me. I know I'm not owed her love, but I could never hear her say she didn't love me.
That's why I'm leaving. I don't care if I drop out or not. All I care about is leaving this torment behind.
After a minute of my silence she turned towards me. She was crying. She knew why I was leaving. Her tears looked like the stars falling out of the sky.
I almost said that if she would've loved me, we could have been happy at her college. I didn't care about the success. I don't care about any challenge, except the challenge of our love.
I almost said that, but I didn't. I just walked away.
We both lied to each other to selfishly save our pain. But we were still hurt. I only hope that the pain I'm feeling now is easier than the pain of being honest. But I don't think so.
I think I'm already broken beyond repair, because the stars seemed to follow me home that night.