Why Men Lie

Why Men Lie by Linden MacIntyre

Book: Why Men Lie by Linden MacIntyre Read Free Book Online
Authors: Linden MacIntyre
Daddy,” she was saying
.
    “You just go.”
    And as she left, he said, “You don’t mention this to anybody. Remember. Not a word.”
    Much later on that Friday evening, after the second nightcap and just before he returned to his sullen silence, he advised her, coldly, as she would remember it, “Just so you know, they’re like animals—they can smell fear. So, like, from now on …”
    “What the hell are you talking about?”
    “I could feel your tension, and he could too. I saw the way you looked at him.”
    “You’re saying that I caused—”
    “Maybe it’s time you thought about doing something to get rid of some of the baggage you’re carrying around. You’ve got more hang-ups than a cloakroom.”
    He was so far over the foul line that she knew he had to be aware of his absurdity. And she knew how dangerous that made him.
    “If you wanted a fight tonight, you should have had it on the street. Don’t pick on me.”
    “Bullshit.”
    She stood and put her glass down. “I’ll call you in the morning,” she said.
    He looked away.
    She didn’t call him in the morning or on the Sunday morning either. And then it was Monday again. There was more snow in the forecast. Another major blizzard moving in from somewhere, deepening the endless winter. The numbness she felt wasn’t even close to the misery she had known from past misunderstandings. She could reflect objectively on other winters in a life that was defined by isolation. A word she feared.
    She wrote it down, drew a box around it. “Isolation.” Under it she wrote: “The difference between solitude and isolation is …”
    She remembered from her childhood the constant wonderingabout her father. When will he leave? When will he return? Two simple questions, always burdened with unbearable anxiety. That was isolation. And it was isolation when she lived with John, imprisoned in his yearning and her own. And, in a way, Toronto had been her greatest isolation, because it was impossible to understand. How could she have been so isolated while living with a million people, the whole world passing through, surrounded by her friends, her life enriched by a baby who was of her substance, dependent on her, and a man who loved and needed her? And yet she was, in those early days, more isolated than she’d ever been at home.
    It came to her as she sat there in her office, in the largest city in the country, the head of a department in the country’s largest university. The difference between solitude and isolation is autonomy. And she wrote that word down and drew two boxes around it so she’d be able to remember its uncompromising challenge.
    She was sitting at her kitchen table with a book. It was a school book, and it was called
Beckoning Trails.
It had a blue cover, and on it there was a man skiing. She stared through the kitchen window, imagining that the road outside was beckoning
.
    Mrs. Gillis was suddenly across from her, in her father’s place. She had her coat on. She placed a hand on Effie’s hand. Effie stared at it, surprised by its warmth and softness
.
    “Where do you keep the tea, dear?” Mrs. Gillis asked
.
    Effie pointed to a cupboard
.
    Mrs. Gillis poked inside the wood stove, moved the kettle to the front. The kettle rumbled
.
    “Please stand up. I want to check your clothes,” she said
.
    Effie stood
.
    Mrs. Gillis knelt before her, passed a hand over the front of Effie’s skirt, lifted the skirt quickly, looked under and let it fall
.
    “Okay,” she said. “You can sit now.”
    “Where’s Daddy?” Effie asked
.
    “They went to town.” Then, when the teacups were filled, Mrs. Gillis said, “Will you read something for me?”
    Effie stared at the page, but the words were gone, replaced by ugly scratches that were meaningless. ‘ “The day is done …” ’ she managed. But she could read no more
.
    Mrs. Gillis took the book. Read slowly. ‘ “The day is done, and the darkness / Falls from the wings of

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