What makes you special?

Photo by  Park Troopers  on  Unsplash

Photo by Park Troopers on Unsplash

I'm a middle child. My two older sisters were straight-A students, my two younger brothers were athletes. I was the monkey in the middle. Not the student my sisters were, not the athlete my brothers were. I wanted to know what made me special. 

I was in 2nd grade when I found out. I heard my teacher, Miss Riley, tell my mother, "Darci has a very good imagination." 

Miss Riley's second grade class. That's me, right in the middle. Where else would I be?

Miss Riley's second grade class. That's me, right in the middle. Where else would I be?

One of my fondest memories of being a mother, was story time. I loved everything about it. I took my daughters to the library and watched them agonize over which books they would check out. I limited them to ten books each, but occasionally gave in and let them get more, when narrowing down the choices became too difficult.

We read and reread the books, over and over again, for the precious few weeks we had them. Occasionally they would get tired of the books and my daughters would ask me to tell them a story instead.  I’d look around the room and pick out a stuffed animal or a picture on the wall then weave a tale. 

One of their favorites was my bastardized version of the three little pigs. It bothered me that the big bad wolf was such a bully. Imagine the big bad wolf’s surprise, when I had the third little pig step out from behind a tree in military fatigues and level an AK57 at his head. “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you punk?”

The girls would dissolve into laughter, the sweetest sound to a mother’s ears. It prompted me to make the stories sillier, the characters more ridiculous. Of course I was good at it, I have a very good imagination, Miss Riley said so.

Of course, now I know the truth. The truth is, that Miss Riley’s proclamation that day was not meant to convey to my mother the potential she saw in me, my hidden talent, my true calling. The truth is that Miss Riley was telling my mother, in the kindest way possible, that her daughter was a big, fat, liar. The lie I had told that day was so heinous that it had required a parent-teacher conference. 

It didn’t matter though. I had held those words in my heart so long that they had become part of me.

I wonder what Miss Riley would think of me now as I seek to surround myself with other liars, the fabricators of untruths. Unlike a child’s lies, told to deceive or deflect blame, I tell lies to distract, to entertain. Sometimes we all need a break from the truth. I count myself lucky to be included in the company of liars; the song writers, the movie makers, the authors of fiction.